How did one major pharmaceutical supplier use automation to support business growth?

The Challenge

Tamro Baltics is a growing wholesale and retail pharmaceutical supplier operating across the Baltics. As business rapidly increases, the company aspires to provide the same high-quality service to more customers but without disrupting its successful operating model by taking on too many new employees.

Complex supply chain and billing processes create challenges for businesses like Tamro. Especially when they are seeking to establish best practice process designs and improve them over time for rapid customer growth.

At Tamro, employees were spending a considerable amount of time on standard activities. Workflows needed optimization. There were also clear opportunities for better system integration.

The result was a lot of repetitive, manual work that didn’t make effective use of people’s time. Much of the knowledge required to serve customers resided in employees’ heads rather than in structured processes. And all of this was challenging the organization to grow business without increasing workforce.

The business knew that automation could make a difference. The only question was how.

Approach

Emergn was initially brought in to assess automation possibilities within the Finance Department and how to prioritize use cases.

We started by identifying use cases that involved high-volume, repetitive manual work and categorized these according to impact. This resulted in a prioritized list of 93 different use cases – a structured approach that was welcomed by Tamro as the first time anyone had visualized the categorization of automation use cases. And because it added value by giving them a framework to map other business processes in the future.

Table showing the categorization of automation use cases for Tamro

We looked at three other problem areas, including disrupted workflows, missing system integration, and the prevalence of random tasks. We also went one stage further before making our automation proposals. By reviewing the existing enterprise architecture, we were able to identify the reasons why there were so many manual workarounds, where core improvements could be made, and whether task automation was possible using the technology in place.

Emergn’s approach to automation differs from standard approaches. We know that automation assessments are not just tools for deciding how to automate manual work with a single solution. They are also an opportunity to gain a wider perspective on how automation can become a practice that creates competitive advantage. This requires a diverse team of specialists.

After just a single month of our automation assessment, enterprise architecture and business experts working together with the Tamro team, we left them with a logical framework for ongoing process improvement that could support business growth.

Emergn didn’t take the typical consultant route. They worked with us like they were part of our team right from day one. We were surprised at how quickly they were able to identify the root causes of our workflow issues and to show us the priority areas for automation.

We were particularly impressed that they went the ‘extra mile’ to help us understand how we could make fundamental business process improvements.

Tamro

Our impact

Our VFQ principles of delivering value early and often led to use cases with ‘quick win’ potential. These were estimated to save 60% of the hours spent on manual work prior to automation.

This provided a compelling business case for how automation could help the company scale-up operations using a similar size team in the coming years. It also gave Tamro confidence that they could tackle complexity elsewhere within the organization. In particular, shifting from relying on the tacit knowledge in the heads of employees to structured knowledge in the form of clearly defined workflows.

Yet it was the way that we identified the wider potential impact of automation that Tamro recognized as being a huge source of added value. By gaining a deeper understanding of the business compared to standard automation assessments, we were able to provide recommendations for optimizing the business processes that would continue to be the beating heart of the company in years to come.

60%

projected manual work reduction

93

different use-cases

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