pci | bridge – Game Changing Digital Platform

pci | bridge, a milestone in the company’s digital transformation journey, was designed around the entire customer experience to bring digital, smart solutions to every stage of your clinical supply chain

Published in International Clinical Trials, November 2020

The pharmaceutical industry has historically been risk-averse and slow to adopt technology. PCI Pharma Services is blazing a trail in digitalisation, with everything from real-time supply-chain information, supplier communities, and smart packaging, to virtual audits of their facilities.

PCI Pharma Services is recognised in the industry as a leader when it comes to providing world-class customer service,” said Wayne Hull, Global Chief Digital and Technology Officer at PCI. “In order to retain that leadership position going forward, digital experiences and
capabilities are essential.

PCI is now a year into its three-year corporate digital transformation strategy that is already differentiating the company, and providing real and measurable returns. Case in point, they recently launched a milestone achievement: an innovative, first of its kind, digital customer platform that will completely transform the customer experience – pci | bridge.

A Transformational Project

pci | bridge gives customers realtime visibility into their clinical and commercial supply chain to enable closer collaboration with PCI’s teams, and provide instantaneous data and insights to inform decision-making. The platform technology closely and securely integrates PCI’s systems for customers so that the supply chain can be managed from both sides, while eliminating time-intensive manual processes. Not simply a customer portal through which PCI provides technical information, pci | bridge is a new strategic platform placed in the market specifically for its customers.

We wanted to build a very customercentric user experience platform with information that is relevant to customers’ projects and their relationship with PCI,” said Morgan Brandt, Director of Digital Products at PCI. “We also want to provide as much transparency as possible, saving time and resources to ultimately help bring life-changing therapies to patients faster.

PCI was mindful of the need to include only the most relevant data for its customers’ projects that positively impacts their bottom lines. To achieve this, pci | bridge connects many different technologies at multiple sites and presents the various types of data through an industry-leading interface that is easy to access and understand. Additionally, the system seamlessly integrates customisation for real-time tracking of different data for each customer and their corresponding projects.

Addressing Clinical Trial Management Needs

Clinical trial services is the fastest-growing and most logistics-heavy division at PCI, as more companies look to bring innovative treatments to market. Clinical trial activity intensified further during the first months of the coronavirus pandemic, with a greater demand for new COVID-19 tests and therapies. While pci | bridge was not developed specifically in response to COVID-19, PCI had to scale up to meet the moment. “COVID-19 highlighted a need we were already focused on as the world moves to be 100% digital and remote work is increasing,” said Tim Roberts, Vice President for Global Sales for Clinical Services at PCI. “The level of detail in the platform is a big differentiator. Users can easily navigate among clinical trials and drill down into deep layers of data, such as inventory, kit, and batch levels to maximise transparency.

The platform helps customers better manage the clinical trials process from start to finish, from shipments to temperature control, with seamless functionality. While some systems cache data just once daily, a key feature of pci | bridge is its ability to pull in real-time data in three areas: inventory, production, and distribution. Production data visibility is important, as many systems only provide inventory management capabilities. Users can download data and create customised reports around these three buckets, based on their data analysis needs for various projects.

Additional features include:

  • Management of blinded clinical trial data at the user level so that trials are not put at risk
  • A document repository to store and manage electronic paperwork
  • Digital signatures for document approval
  • Instant notifications including low inventory, new documents available, or completed shipments
  • High level project management tracking
  • Chat functionality to communicate with the project team
  • Uploadable temperature tracking
  • Cloud-based functionality for scalability

Built from the Outside in

PCI wanted to go beyond data to create a consistent yet technologically leading platform built around the entire customer experience. To achieve this, PCI leveraged feedback from four key customers throughout the development process. The agile working environment included full day workshops with each customer that illuminated their desires for a better way to work with PCI, such as more supply chain visibility and less time spent on manual activity to manage
the PCI relationship.

PCI partnered with digital product engineering services company Global Logic to create design concepts based on customer insights, and once the concept was complete, video, demos, and wireframes were created for more customer input. The entire project, from ideation, research, and design, through implementation and testing, took 10 months.

The benefits of using pci | bridge are that it eliminates the need for clients to constantly reach out to the project teams for updates,” said Kevin Gregorczyk, Director of Development Operations at eFFECTOR Therapeutics, which participated in the development process. “Now, we will have that information at our fingertips and can instead focus on the bigger picture with PCI, such as what’s coming next.”

Because the platform is highly intuitive and user-friendly, PCI has provided self-onboarding materials to its 600+ clients, in lieu of hands-on training. Project managers, PCI’s internal tech support team, and a helpline are available to assist if needed.

The Digital Journey Continues

While clinical trials are often the entry point for PCI
customers, pci | bridge can be used throughout
product lifecycle. The company is continuing to invest to
enhance the platform in an agile way, with more integration and other expanded functionality. For example, PCI plans to integrate pci | bridge into systems customers already use, such as interactive response technology systems – an essential component of clinical trial management that assists with patient randomisation, real-time drug allocation, and drug supply forecasting.

We are always looking to the future and can see the potential that digitisation holds for the pharma and biopharma supply chain,” said Wayne. “pci | bridge is a leading-edge client experience that will continue to evolve as the business requires. Ultimately, if you work in ten systems, we want to eliminate nine so you only have
to use one resource for a seamless experience.