Our journey began in October 2020 with a vision to help pharmaceutical businesses use technology in supply chains to extend product shelf-life by reducing batch process time ultimately reducing operational costs. We began brainstorming with our business partners in creating a platform that would benefit this industry. At this point, our primary focus was to strategise and organise user research endeavours, conduct interviews, observations, document analysis and map processes.
We scrutinised business practices as well as the tools and technology our business partners used to grasp the space deeply. To understand users, we shadowed meetings with internal teams, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and supply chain partners.
Our research concluded that more than one single product would be needed. We could solve the problem by implementing multiple products. However, this would not be cost-effective due to high integration costs.
Inspired by said research, a product was designed to address critical challenges such as auditability, transparency, single source of truth, collaboration and communication. Our design team built clickable prototypes that were shown to users, where feedback was gathered on additional requirements and specific pain points.
From January 2021 onwards, we focused on the development process with regular demos of new features every two weeks to get feedback from stakeholders, both inside and outside the company. This agile approach allowed us to iteratively research, develop and prototype solutions quickly with customers with a fast feedback loop.
With our early MVP in place, we realised that our platform had to be integrated into sister systems to derive connected data insights and reduce manual workload. The first was SAP (for purchase order information), and the second was Sharepoint (for document storage). This was a problematic integration into complex systems that had to undergo meticulous, systematic validation.
Additional developers and visual designers were hired to evolve OneSC with a visual dashboard, and this paved the way for our first version with live data. We iterated this version until all user feedback was addressed – this took a few months to refine the product to a stage where users were pleased.
Having completed the SAP and Sharepoint integration, our designers embarked on solving the big-hairy-goal, the BHG! – document organisation. We witnessed the chaos firsthand, documents received in email, SharePoint, and faxes – without any classification or category as to which batch. Users needed help understanding which version was current and who had it.
We carefully designed and implemented a documentation management panel where documents could be classified and uploaded per batch category; this ensured seamless document uploads and retrievals for all users on the platform.
Alongside product development, our engineering team started implementing infrastructure that met GAMP (Good Automated Manufacturing Practices) validation, which required us to complete thorough platform testing. With the OneSC team dedicated to finalising necessary fixes for a smooth transition, extensive preparation had taken place alongside rigorous user acceptance testing with the users. Despite encountering several system issues, we persisted to resolve them before the deadline.
September came, and it dawned that there was a critical gap in bulk batch management, leading to the need for an immediate and collaborative redesign to accommodate multi-faceted batch tracking requirements. This change necessitated substantial rework and system-wide coordination to ensure a comprehensive solution was in place. The outcome was an extremely flexible system which enabled users to track different batch types on the platform.
The platform was fully operational, encompassing SAP purchase orders synchronisation and connecting to Sharepoint for document backups. Pharma manufacturers were actively generating bulk batches and packaged batch details on the OneSC Platform, followed by the creation of shipments. It was now time to extensively support users as they migrated their operational data into OneSC, a crucial step in preparation for the complete switchover to the platform.
Through ethnographic research, we designed and built a revolutionary SAAS platform that provides tracking and traceability, collaboration and communication, batch documentation and optimisation in one place – a single source of truth, if you will. Our journey was by no means complete, but we had made significant progress as the year ended.
2022 had much in store for us: designing a user permissions engine, secondary packager integration and more in-depth validation. Stay tuned for part 2!