Wockhardt’s Key Initiatives Around Mobility and IoT

I recently caught up with Venkat Iyer, CIO of Indian pharma major, Wockhardt. While he spoke at length about the company’s several recent and upcoming digital initiatives, two particularly stood out for their ingenious application of technology to solve on-ground business challenges. Below I’ll talk about these two initiatives around mobility and IoT in greater detail.




For Wockhardt its 3,000 strong sales force is its lifeline. They go out into the field everyday, meet doctors and try to convince them of their products. According to Venkat, it’s a tough life as they rush to meet one doctor after the other, on an average meeting 10-12 doctors in a day and spending hours at each doctor’s office to get few minutes’ meeting. And then at the end of the day once they reach home upload the reports for all the meetings. This not only meant delay in sending the reports as they would all go at the end of the day but also little or no family time for the sales people.


While technology cannot replace the need for the sales staff to physically go and meet the doctors, it can definitely make their life a lot easier while improving productivity. One such case in point is Wockhardt’s use of mobile technology to optimize the whole sales process.


The company has equipped its sales people with a mobile app that assists them through the entire day’s sales cycle, right from scheduling the doctors’ meetings to sending updates on their meetings.


On an average, each sales person has to meet around 200-250 doctors in a month. Of these there are certain doctors that the sales person is required to meet once in a month and some twice in a month. Based on certain calculations and the intelligence built into the system, every day the app sends out a list of 15 doctors that the salesperson needs to meet based on the doctor’s availability. It also gives a proper routing pattern according to each doctor’s location to optimize and save travel time. After meeting every meeting, the sales person uploads the updates from the meeting on the mobile – whether the doctor wants more information or wants a sample, etc.


The time that the sales person spends in waiting for the next doctor can be well utilized in updating the previous meeting. So, by the time he/he is done with all the meetings, the updates are already uploaded. This not only helps in saving lot of time but also helps improve the salesforce productivity. Venkat states that with this simple mobile app, the satisfaction level among the sales people has increased manifold.


Also for the sales person while waiting for the meeting in the doctor’s office, there is another learning management mobile app that pushes quizzes and nuggets that helps keep their knowledge updated and appropriately utilizes their free time.


According to Venkat, the key driver behind this is making the life of the sales people much easier and simpler. Further making life easier for them, the company has come up with another mobile app for placing the sales order. As Venkat informs, typically 60-70% of the sales orders from the stockiest come in the last 10 days of the month, which the sales person send to the Carrying and Forwarding Agent (CFA), who then punches each order into the system. With majority of the orders coming in the last few days and over 40,000 orders to be punched in a month is quite chaotic. Amidst this, the sales person has to ensure that his/her order gets punched delivered and their sales target also gets achieved. This meant the sales people constantly following up with CFAs for their orders.


To deal with this, the company has introduced a mobile app that allows the sales people to directly place the orders. One of the first in the pharma industry. All the CFA has to do is invoicing and printing of the documents. This has helped save time and improved efficiency of the whole process of placing sales orders and the sales people also no longer need to chase the CFAs to complete the order entry.




On the IoT front, the company is in various phases of experimentations and testing. Among the various use cases being targeted is warehouse management. In the warehouse there are quite a few material handling equipment which are scattered at different places in the facility. Considering the size of the facility, it is difficult to know the exact location of each handling equipment. As a result, sometimes all of them end up in one place while they are needed somewhere else. To ensure that these handling equipment are there when needed, one needs to be able to track them. The company is looking at an IoT based solution that can help keeping track of where each of the equipment are at what point in time so that one can keep keep moving them out from one common place to where they are required.


Another use case that Wockhardt is eyeing is for tracking of all the capital assets and equipments in its manufacturing plants for inventory management. The company is exploring how it can use IoT technology to quickly get information in a single shot without going through each equipment as to how many equipments are there in the plant at any given time for doing inventory tracking.


Other use cases being tested are collecting PLC data to enable monitoring, scheduling predictive maintenance and bringing down the failure rates. A use case specific to pharma industry is tracking and ensuring the right mix of chemicals for blending and preparation of a formula. This, again, can be done through some use of IoT sensors.


According to Venkat, the driver behind testing IoT is to bring in greater efficiency, improve information availability and make the processes more mistake proof. Ultimately, it all ties in with the whole concept of data integrity which is key to a highly regulated industry such as pharma.

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