#BuildingTomorrow: HR for the Future of Pharma sector

By Aditya Mishra | May 30, 2020

Indian Pharma is the largest provider of generic drugs to the world. Half of the vaccines used in the world come from India; 25% of all medicines used in UK come from India. Indian Pharma sector is slated to grow into 100B USD by 2025.

COVID-19 has caused some pain to the manufacturing units due to disruptions in supply chain, government restrictions in operations and health concerns of employees. At the same time, there are a multitude of opportunities such as outsourcing of contract research and manufacturing services, localisation of imports and drug development.

Seizing opportunities

Apart from these, we see several forces impacting the sector. Consumers are changing their approach to healthcare and wellness leading to prevention and early detection of diseases, willingness to afford a larger part of their income towards treatment and cure. Advancement in computer sciences such as big data analytics, artificial intelligence are helping doctors, researchers, manufacturers and all others in the healthcare ecosystem to diagnose, treat and cure patients more efficiently than ever in the past. Rapid developments in therapies and health systems are opening new vistas for the pharma sector towards specialty therapies, personalised dosing, enhanced presence in rural markets and striking new partnerships to improve market opportunities.

HR is not a mere support for the business

Given this backdrop, a company has to review the kind of talent it has been drawing so far and make changes needed in that formula. Similarly, leadership style and beliefs need to be re-examined if the people are led effectively and the culture is appropriate for the talent needed to win the game.

HR has an important role in partnering with the business leaders in drawing up the strategies for talent attraction, engagement and development. This is easier said than done because HR has to deal with many moving parts, most of them being intangibles and in the realm of emotions. Leaders in the top rung in the organisation need to see HR as an important component in their action to generate the desired business results. The Board has to drive the message clearly in the organisation and HR has to earn the position as much as Sales and Marketing, Manufacturing, R&D or Quality do.

Automation and more automation

Organisations have discovered many new dimensions during the COVID-19 crisis. They witnessed inadequacies of business continuity plans; their belief about remote working changed; they realised that the basic human qualities such as concern for well-being, perception about the world around us, belongingness to a larger system, mutual trust and care govern motivation levels of human beings. Mature organisations and seasoned leaders have been able to stick to these basics, adapt quickly and make continual improvements in execution.

The crisis has reminded all of us that companies who deliver real value are recognised by the consumers and have a secure future. We live in a free world and competition is intense, particularly in generics. This is not going to change anytime soon; consumers would always be looking to unlock the highest value of their spend. So companies have to innovatively optimise their costs and minimise the cost of poor quality. World over, we have seen that automation brings in reliability and efficiency in the processes. Deployment of technology will enhance focus on tasks at hand, improve transparency, and reduce delays and failures.  Companies will need to find the investments to deploy more and more automation while building for tomorrow.