How Johnson & Johnson's Innovative Supply Chain Technology is Helping Transform How We Work—and Live
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Every day, more and more new technologies that seem straight out of a sci-fi movie—from intelligent robots to self-driving cars—are making headlines.
These advances signal the beginning of what’s known as a Fourth Industrial Revolution that will change the way we live and work. While the Third Industrial Revolution brought digital capabilities to billions of people, the Fourth is characterized by a range of cutting-edge technologies that impact all economies and industries and open up new career paths for science, technology, engineering, mathematics, manufacturing and design professionals.
For companies around the world, identifying and implementing these new technologies—innovations that have the power to affect every aspect of business, from manufacturing, distribution and operations to customer experience—has become a priority. But some have been quicker to adapt than others.
Johnson & Johnson was awarded two new Lighthouse designations, bringing the company total to seven Lighthouse designations across all sectors: Pharmaceutical, Medical Devices and Consumer Health—more than any other company has.ShareDid you like reading this story? Click the heart to show your love.
The World Economic Forum established the Global Lighthouse Network in collaboration with McKinsey & Co. in 2018 to accelerate a more comprehensive and inclusive adoption of these technologies in manufacturing. To date, 90 manufacturers from a variety of industry sectors have received Lighthouse designations for their use of Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies to increase efficiency and productivity, in tandem with environmental stewardship.
Just as lighthouses have been used to aid navigation for thousands of years, the Lighthouse recipients are world leaders who’ve adopted and integrated technologies that the World Economic Forum has tapped to show others the way forward.
Johnson & Johnson was recently awarded two new Lighthouse designations: one for its approach to end-to-end customer connectivity in its orthopedics business and one for its Vision Care order-fulfillment operations in London. That brings the company total to seven Lighthouse designations across all sectors: Pharmaceutical, Medical Devices and Consumer Health—more than any other company has.
“The main factor of success is to improve the end-to-end customer experience,” says Kathy Wengel, Executive Vice President & Chief Global Supply Chain Officer for Johnson & Johnson. “Advanced manufacturing technologies contribute to greater efficiencies and connectivity across Johnson & Johnson, while sustaining our commitment to quality, enhancing sustainability benefits for the planet and improving cycle time and visibility for the patients, consumers and customers we are privileged to serve.”
Keep reading to see how the company’s two newly designated Lighthouse facilities, along with the Johnson & Johnson DePuy Synthes site in Suzhou, China, a 2020 award recipient, are not only leading in creating innovative technologies but also sharing what they’ve learned with others.
Johnson & Johnson DePuy Synthes Advance Case Management in Bridgewater, New Jersey
Received Lighthouse designation for: implementing a fully digital platform that ensures that orthopedic surgeons receive the right mix of applicable devices and tools for each patient, minimizing waste and expediting set-up time in the operating room
Preparation for surgical cases is complex, and inefficient processes drive higher healthcare costs. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, things got even more challenging: Staffing shortages, supply chain disruption and restricted access all impacted efficient case coordination. In the company's joint-reconstruction business, this created a perfect storm of events, making it harder to have the right product show up at the right time for the right patient.
But Johnson & Johnson's Supply Chain Customer Solutions team is working to solve these case-coordination challenges. Its Advance Case Management (ACM) platform utilizes a mix of image-based and artificial intelligence algorithms to predict the most likely product range required for surgeons to do primary joint-replacement surgeries.
“Because ACM digitizes the process, there are fewer touchpoints focused on logistics and there's more time spent supporting customer needs and patient care,” says Jean Nycz, Head of Supply Chain Customer Solutions. “We can predict the sizes of implants required with an accuracy level in the 90%-plus range, plus or minus one size for knee surgeries. Knowing the most likely sizes has fueled a more efficient operating room for surgeons and alleviated some pain points during such an unprecedented time,” says Nycz, who adds that the ACM has also led to up to a 60% reduction in both instrument trays required for cases and instrument-sterilization costs.
Given the trend toward many medical procedures shifting from inpatient to outpatient, these efficiencies have come at just the right time.
“Many procedures that were happening in the hospital are now shifting to ambulatory surgery centers," says Nycz. “These centers are space-constrained. They don’t have any place for excess implants and instruments, and they rely on accurate and efficient processes to ensure a successful outcome.”
The Bridgewater Lighthouse designation will allow other companies to learn how to digitize processes that were labor-intensive and bring products to customers in a more efficient way.
Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Order-Fulfillment Operations in London
Received Lighthouse designation for: transforming the customer experience by creating a one-stop shop for order management
The pandemic has changed the way we shop for everything from clothing to contact lenses. Today, people expect a personalized experience and a quicker response time from companies than in the past, whether they're calling in with questions or shopping online.
Case in point: “A big part of what we ship—up to 25%—is directly to consumers,” says Gaspar Zuniga, Vice President, Supply Chain for Johnson & Johnson Vision. “And the trend accelerated when people couldn’t get their contact lenses in person.”
These changes drove the need for a dynamic virtual call center that relies on advanced technology such as intelligence-based call routing and auto answer. As a result of the improved customer experience, the score of Johnson & Johnson’s Customer Satisfaction Survey jumped 6.4%, going from 85.5% in 2017 to 91.9% in 2020, second only to Amazon.
As a result of the improved customer experience, the score of Johnson & Johnson’s Customer Satisfaction Survey jumped 6.4%, going from 85.5% in 2017 to 91.9% in 2020, second only to Amazon.ShareDid you like reading this story? Click the heart to show your love.
Another new system ensures that repeat customers never see a “sold out” message when they log on to order their contact lenses, thanks to a technology that anticipates when they’ll reorder and reserves lenses just for them.
These are just some of the improvements that helped earn the London facility a Lighthouse designation—an honor that provides Johnson & Johnson Vision Care’s supply chain with “a significant sense of pride,” says Zuniga. “We’re invested to deliver on our purpose: to see better, connect better and live better.”
Another source of pride: When Johnson & Johnson Vision Care showcased an end-to-end operating model that encompasses customer service, manufacturing and distribution during a World Economic Forum livestream earlier this year, there was just one question from others in the Lighthouse Network: How could they put this technology to use in their own operations?
“It takes a lot of work to connect it,” Zuniga says. “As a company, we started talking about this seven years ago, and it’s great to see it all come together.”
Johnson & Johnson DePuy Synthes in Suzhou, China
Received Lighthouse designation for: creating an integrated digital platform that improves interconnectivity and efficiency and benefits the company’s large-scale operations
A decade or so after the 2006 opening of the Johnson & Johnson Medical campus in Suzhou, the DePuy Synthes factory there, which manufactures orthopedic surgical products, including joint-reconstruction implants, identified the need to produce and distribute its products more efficiently to better service surgeons and patients around the world.
As a result, in 2020, Johnson & Johnson received its first Lighthouse designation in China for its efforts to successfully incorporate advanced technologies at DePuy Synthes Suzhou while protecting the environment.
To enable real-time, interactive and accurate manufacturing processes, Johnson & Johnson employees transformed and improved siloed technologies by leveraging digital analytics to optimize productivity, improve prediction of customer demand and make the supply chain more agile. As a result, productivity increased by 15% at DePuy Synthes Suzhou.
“Creating such a platform has helped us to upgrade manufacturing and end-to-end supply chain capabilities, maximize efficiency and competitiveness at scale and drive business performance improvements,” says Roy Tong, Director of Engineering, DePuy Synthes Suzhou.
A new distribution center warehouse opened at the DePuy Synthes Suzhou campus in 2021 that accelerates the site’s pace at supplying cutting-edge 3D printed surgical products to the Chinese market. Shaving time off order delivery goes a long way in meeting customer expectations, especially in Asia, when orders can actually be delivered the day an order is placed. Eliminating the time required to transport products from the manufacturing plant to a separate distribution facility means that DePuy Synthes Suzhou can serve both surgeons and, in turn, their patients, more expeditiously.
Says Julia Chen, General Manager of DePuy Synthes China: “The growing end-to-end capabilities at the campus are enabling a better experience for our customers and patients."