The art of working after Covid-19: a positive side effect from Covid-19

by Danilo Maruccia
and Pierre Crivelli

Last decade brought market evolution with itself, and a race for research and development to increase opportunities, optimize costs and improve efficiency in the way leaders do business and manage their companies. This heritage comes from 2008 economy crisis, that hit almost everyone globally. C-level community realized how precarious were the foundations on which companies were based, both economically and from the partners’ relationships point of view.

The lessons learnt by business community led international business’ leaders undertaking a systematic approach in finding trustful business partners globally, exploring the possibility of increasing the automation of business processes and make the company more computerized. In other words, an evolution process we all know as “Digital Transformation”.

The common thought was to increase the flexibility of business operations, streamlining internal processes and increasing effectiveness to be more responsive and able to instantly adapt to market demand. This need for flexibility and reactivity pushed the study and development of new technologies: from automation to the Internet of things, artificial intelligence and much more; this technological ferment fostered studies and projects, researches and evaluations on how to apply these innovations on the various industries and sectors and among company functions and departments. Life sciences industry has been no less, feeling the need to move in this direction as well.

2020 and the Covid spreading

In 2020 something new comes along, unexpected by everyone. Only a few philanthropists had speculated that it might happen one day: something that was not created by the economy, nor the result of some opportunistic misappropriation of someone who wants more.
As we all know a new, a lethal virus appeared on the scene, spreading the Covid-19 disease which infected people almost everywhere, without frontiers, without any discrimination for age or environment conditions. It was hiding in that corner no one ever really looked and paid attention to, but still able to show how weak were the human being and the global ecosystem where we live in.
It also exposed the strong interconnection existing between international and regional economies of every country, because without the ramification of small and medium companies within the country, it’s not possible to maintain international business and relations between Corporates.

What are the weakness this virus exposed, in the practice of implementing such evolution? Different could be the answers depending on the “conceptual lens” you want to look at the problem with.
One weakness in particular is that companies and firms were not ready to carry on their production activities, as their employees were forced to stay at home.

There were no procedures in place, no services ready to ensure remote working, as companies progressively established a principle of computer isolation over the years to ensure their efficiency and maximize data protection. Therefore they found themselves stranded in hard troubles, by not being prepared to face this crisis situation. Sometimes, even the whole activities of an organization have been blocked or limited by the inability to remotely access their data.

We should also consider the cluster of small and medium companies, that found themselves not in the condition to enable technical solutions due to the lack of infrastructure and capability.
What a rush, then, for everyone to make it happen, enabling a newer “remote working” capability for everyone by providing laptop to the employees, setting vpn connections, opening data communication, etc.

It becomes clear that the risk of having productivity reduced to a minimum, or even staying closed with huge impact on the business, is still too high after these months: leaders need to ensure production continuity if they don’t want their companies to face failure.

Realizing the Change

At this stage it should be clear: this virus is lasting too long for organizations not to adapt themselves and drastically change their ability to work. This is called the ‘new way of working’: set by circumstances and conducted by the Nature, which we all know never fails to amaze us: a new experience for all of us, a new lesson bringing everyone together, regardless of where we are and what we do. A unique moment in modern and human history.

The clear consequence is that what is happening in 2020 has made possible what even the most skeptical of new technology wouldn’t have considered before: the possibility of learning the benefits and utility of adopting the new technologies available.

However, lessons are still to be learnt. Companies’ leaders have to rethink how this new way of working has to be, balancing employees’ needs vs shareholders’ expectations and ensuring company productivity.
That’s not an easy task, especially until the the covid-19 situation won’t be over; not mentioning that we’re just starting to see the dawn of the second wave coming up in many countries as of today, with an high incertitude among operators related to the possibility of another lockdown which may slow down the restart: everybody knows that as far as a proved vaccine is not available, every possible scenario has the same probability to happen.

Most of the pharmaceutical industry, that is not involved in the vaccine race, must continue its trade and product development; as a result, the same requirements as before must be met: Quality assurance, Data Integrity, respect on Regulated Affairs policy have to be ensured, with the aggravating circumstance of Covid-19.

Working from home means we need to ensure that the person who connects is authorized to work from home and that he/she gets his/her job done safely. Changes in procedures and systems imply that processes and infrastructure within the organization need to be upgraded to meet the quality standards requested by regulators.

The question is: how could these needs be guaranteed if you can’t travel, nor move? And moreover, not only thinking to the current situation where mobility is limited, but also looking at the future: how could we make the best of working time and improve work effectiveness for employees and with business partners?

A new way of working

Service provision is rapidly evolving to deal with the challenges coming from the new situation and from new local resources onboarding. This context consequence is therefore the need for remote execution services itself, alongside the ability to support less-experienced onshore resources and the executing remote testing services as well.

That’s where new technologies can come in help for the business, and where PQE Group is ready to support pharmaceutical companies maintaining the Quality standards required by regulators with the advantage of their use, embracing the ‘new way of working’ and a new reality for the pharmaceutical industry.

Technologies such as Augmented Reality, or the security access Remoter, would provide the capacity to meet the needs, covering the service delivery gap we already talked about before, with the advantage of extending the concept of Quality everywhere and anytime, to the benefit of the pharmaceutical industry on a long term vision.

Time is now to approach this new way of working, embracing Change: mankind wants go further and positively discover the benefits of digital service. To give you an example: Twint faced a global increase in account and usage during this period, as people of all ages moved from cash or credit card transactions to direct mobile phone transactions.

Like many others, Pharmaceutical Industry has already reached the same level of service quality needs, being necessary to continue producing meeting the highest quality standards. On the other hand, still there is a limit that business partners may be not able to cross, which is determined by the limits of standard technologies. Therefore, a big contribution could come by letting new technology, such as Augmented Reality, and their help ensuring Process Compliance and Quality on Information Systems Validation.

Want to know more?

Contact us, or visit our Digital Governance page: we are more than welcome evaluate the best solutions to help you achieving and maintaining your production process Quality with this new way of working.

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