In pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk, there can be as many as 50 R&D projects running at any one time– and they are all tracked by executive management. But for management to make good decisions, they need access to all the relevant project data, including information on project progress, key milestones, budgets and patient recruitment.Every R&D project manager in Novo Nordisk prepares a monthly report, but Novo Nordisk realised that the reportingprocess was extremely time-consuming. Also, different project managers used different reporting styles, so it was hardfor management to maintain a clear overview. After conducting a LEAN study, Novo Nordisk developed an alternative,and asked NNIT to make it a reality.The resulting system cuts the reporting process down from a couple of weeks to just a few days – and is the first comprehensive reporting system of its kind.
Novo Nordisk’s worldwide R&D organisation includes 2,900 employees – and keeping track of all the ongoing researchprojects is essential. But the company found that compiling monthly reports for executive management could be timeconsuming for project managers. Henrik Troelsen, Finance Director at Novo Nordisk, explains, “We found thaton average over 15 management reports were made each month, and some of them could take up to two weeks tocomplete. The reports were often ‘handed over’ to a number of people before they were completed, and some project managers felt they were constantly involved in the reporting cycle. Also, we found that project managers were using at least 10 different reporting styles, meaning data was not presented to management in a consistent way. This added to management’s work when preparing for monthly status meetings.”So Novo Nordisk’s cLEAN® department and Project Finance department (both part of Novo Nordisk’s Strategic R&Darea) teamed up to find a solution. The resulting LEAN study came to a simple conclusion: Novo Nordisk needed onereporting tool that automatically pulled all the relevant information for each project into a single-page report. The project manager would then simply add comments before pressing ‘Send’. But the big question facing Novo Nordisk was:could it be done?
“Once we’d established what we needed, we called in NNIT,” says Henrik. “They have knowledge of the different systemswe use and understand the issues facing pharmaceutical companies like us.” The resulting solution automatically pullsthe right information for each project from three different systems: Microsoft Projects for basic project data and milestones; SAP for financial information; and IMPACT for patient recruitment information if the project is in the clinical trial phase. It then presents this information for the project manager in a one-page Excel spreadsheet.“All the project manager has to do is write the executive summary, add comments on key project milestones and write explanations if the project costs deviate from budget,” Henrik explains. “For example, if a milestone may not be met, they add an explanation. All the information is then sent to the executive management team in a report generated from Excel.” For the development team, the biggest challenge was understanding Novo Nordisk’s complex work processes. “Our reporting system actually has four different levels and can be quite compli-cated,” says Henrik. “But NNIT was excellent: they worked closely with our team and with end users to understand our requirements – and the entire thing was driven by our internal project manager who kept everything moving forward.” As part of the change management process, the NNIT team helped Novo Nordisk develop training materials forusers, and they created a user-support system including a Q&A site on the intranet and a Helpdesk.
For project managers, the new reporting system is proving a success. “We did a user satisfaction survey not long afterlaunch and it scored four out of five – pretty good for an IT system,” says Henrik. “It’s cut the amount of timeproject managers spend on reports from weeks down to days – and its given them more time to dedicate to their projects.” And some of the additional features are proving popular. For example, because the system is global, project managers can complete a report from anywhere in the world. There is also a simple traffic-light system enabling project managers to flag their project if it needs particular attention from the executive management team.So has the system helped executive management? “The reports they receive are now much simpler to read,” Henriksays. “This saves them time when preparing for monthly status meetings. It may be too early to say if it’s improved theirdecision-making capabilities, but it has certainly made sure that they have all the information they need.”
Novo Nordisk manufactures and markets pharmaceutical products and services that make a significant difference to patients, the medical profession and society. It is a world leader in diabetes care, and also works in areas such as haemostasis management and growth hormone therapy.