Addressing the Silo Mentality

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The industry is made up of hundreds of companies, public and private, large and small, some with highly developed R&D and commercial capabilities, and some with little more than two brilliant scientists and a molecule.

cross-functional communications

Anyone who works in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry knows that it is complex. What is often overlooked, especially by those new to the industry, is that within most companies of any size there are various functional areas that must work together effectively if the company is to succeed in developing and commercializing products. Discovery, clinical development, and other R&D-related functions all have their roles to play in getting products to market. Marketing, sales, managed markets, trade and distribution, and other functions must coordinate their efforts to effectively commercialize their products. In addition, manufacturing, medical affairs, and other functional areas must be “plugged in” to help make the whole enterprise work.

Overcoming the Silo Mentality

A lack of understanding of the interconnectedness of these functions within pharmaceutical and biotech firms, however, has led to a way of thinking that can limit the potential effectiveness of pharma and biotech firms — the so-called silo mentality. Because most functional areas must coordinate their efforts to help the entire enterprise succeed, the professionals working within those individual functions could certainly benefit from learning how the other functional areas in the company work. This understanding could improve cross-functional communication and collaboration, help bridge the age-old divide between the R&D and commercial functions, and even help improve coordination between commercial functions. For example, developing and executing effective managed markets pull-through strategies requires tight coordination between marketing, managed markets, sales, and sales training. It would be very helpful, therefore, if the people developing and executing those strategies had an in-depth understanding of the functional areas involved. Most could also benefit from a deeper understanding of how those other functions relate to — or depend on — their own efforts within the company. Source: Dan Blue, Executive Director, Pharmaceutical Institute, Raleigh, N.C. Pharmaceutical Institute provides specialized knowledge for pharma and biotech professionals. For more information, visit pharmainstitute.com. PharmaVOICE welcomes comments about this article. E-mail us at feedback@pharmavoice.com. A lack of understanding of the interconnectedness of functions within pharmaceutical and biotech firms has led to a way of thinking that can limit the potential effectiveness of pharma and biotech firms — the so-called silo mentality. Dan Blue Pharmaceutical Institute

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