Supplier Stories: Arches Technology

Arches Technology speaks with tealbook

Arches Technology bridges the gap between providers and patients with their healthcare-specific software solutions. Their powerful platforms combined with strategic insights facilitate the delivery of cross-channel content, relationship management and elevated patient experience. On January 15th they launch Springboard, a new interactive tool that helps healthcare marketers plan and visualize their multi-channel marketing campaigns. tealbook spoke with Founder and CEO Daniella Koren, who has led the company for two decades, to hear her take on industry trends, innovation and evolving client needs.

On what makes Arches Technology unique
One aspect of Arches Technology that makes them stand out is their love of software innovation for the healthcare industry, database marketing and analytics. Their extensive benchmark data allows them to share valuable metrics with clients in order to illustrate how well campaigns are doing. Their software is also HIPAA-compliant, an integration that allows users to avoid paying extra to make their cloud marketing software compliant. Arches Technology baked this feature into their platform to best serve customers.

On innovation and industry trends
Daniella has been in the healthcare marketing space her entire career, and believes the industry today as a whole is more open to experimentation and innovation. While she has noticed some pioneers experimenting more with digital marketing, she notes that due to the regulatory nature of the healthcare world, she predicts measured innovation moving forward.

Daniella has a keen interest in reading about and observing companies that are using technology to push the envelope. One area of particular interest for her is in telehealth. After noticing that her own employees were not using the telehealth offerings as part of their benefits package, she began exploring this area. “In reading a little more, I saw it is a very underutilized benefit, and I think people are waiting to hear a bit more about it and see how it can be used.” While telehealth is being leveraged most in behavioral health and emergency medicine, Daniella has her eye on how this innovative medium will progress, and especially how it can incorporate patient education and preparedness. “I’d love to see wider adoption and where it can go.”

Another medium Daniella sees as a growing trend with great potential is virtual reality and video. She believes there are big possibilities with these kinds of platforms, especially because video can be adapted easily to different demographics and languages for varied audiences, and the potential for interactive experiences is very compelling.

On evolving client needs
One of the most common questions Daniella hears from her clients is, “How should we be pushing the envelope?” In the same way the team at Arches Technology is pursuing the most interesting and effective ways to innovate, so are their clients. She is also seeing clients focused even more on efficiency and speed, with the goals of launching products more quickly. In the healthcare world, there are certain time limits, but clients are increasingly interested in maximizing this efficiency.

In the future, Daniella would like to see the industry continue to grow in a way where progress and return on investment can be measured in very clear ways, allowing for the very best initiatives to be chosen.

Supplier Stories: 5 Questions With MECART Inc.

tealbook speaks with MECART Inc.
MECART is a Canadian company, with a new office in New Jersey, that engineers and manufactures custom-designed modular cleanrooms as well as acoustic modular buildings, control rooms, operator cabins, acoustic enclosures, noise barriers, acoustic panels, studios and more. Patrice Genois, Vice President and General Manager of MECART, spoke to tealbook about solving major challenges for clients, their unique approach, and industry trends.

1. What makes MECART unique? We have quite a unique approach in the market. Like others, we are a turnkey solutions provider. However, we fully guarantee our work, taking all the risk on ourselves. It is part of our mission. If there are quality issues, which very rarely happens, we  cover our rooms with very long term, full warranties. If there is something that doesn’t comply with regulations or requirements, we will pay all the costs to fix it.

2. How do you develop trust with clients? It’s quite simple. We try to operate at the highest level possible when it comes to honesty and integrity, and this leads to trust and long term relationships. We always convey the truth to a customer. Sometimes it’s tough at the beginning, because we never oversell, we never try to sell something we will not deliver. But we really have no choice since we have a full warranty of our product line, we can only promise what we are able to deliver right at the beginning.

3. What are some notable trends you are seeing in the industry? In cleanrooms, we see a big trend on adding more cleanrooms than ever, with higher specifications, because safety is becoming more and more important. Another trend, as noted above, is to remove as much work on site as possible. Customers want to be fast-tracked to the market, and the installation and the on-site work is really a big hurdle. It’s why we saw a big trend in front loading as much work as possible before the cleanroom arrives on-site. This is a big trend in the pharmaceutical and high tech industries. Our turnkey solution really fits in well with this approach.

4. What is a challenge you helped one of your clients solve? We did a worldwide project for a customer who asked us to build a new type of controlled environment. It was a custom design with very high requirements for air control, which were plus-minus 0.15 degrees Celsius of precision. They wanted this room in their plants in Canada, France, China, and Japan. They also wanted to have just one supplier in order to minimize the risk in the work on their side. We accepted the challenge, and it was indeed a challenge for us. For one, the requirements were just crazy. Once we found the solutions, we had to adapt the solutions to many different countries due to the different electrical regulations, and we needed to change all the components depending on the country in question. We also faced a major challenge which was to send our components to China. Chinese Customs blocked all our product lineups. We had big challenges, but finally succeeded for the customer.  

5. Where do you see the business going for you and your clients in 2018? We predict we will see many more small and mid-size companies building new cleanrooms to be able to deliver high quality products to their customers. In the past, cleanrooms were more for big businesses, but now we see many more smaller companies willing to invest in this kind of equipment. It’s why it is now critical for us to be very flexible and agile with the smaller players, because their expectations are quite different than the big guys on the market.

This interview has been edited and condensed. 

Using Machine Learning to Bridge the Buyer-Supplier Divide

Technology that bridges the supplier-buyer divide.

“Technology has always played an important role in enabling world-class performance, but procurement is now at an inflection point.”— The Hackett Group, Raising the World-Class Bar in Procurement Through Digital Transformation (2017)

One of the most compelling cases for centralized procurement technology is its ability to connect buyer and supplier data in real time. As procurement becomes an increasingly digital function, technology will also bridge the disconnect between supplier business development and the enterprise buyer decision making.

The problematic ROI of Business Development

Suppliers spend enormous amounts of money to increase their visibility into existing and potential buyers. A 2014 report from The Center for Exhibition Industry Research titled Exhibitor Direct Spend Estimate found that exhibitors spend almost $25 billion annually at business-to-business tradeshows in the U.S. Suppliers also allocate significant budget to advertising in directories. Businesses spend close to $7 billion per year on advertisements in the Yellow Pages, in addition to an average of $18,000 for a national display advertisement. Many suppliers purchase these ads in the hopes that enterprise procurement teams will see them in these static directories and connect.

While suppliers invest extensive resources in traditional advertising methods, procurement has moved on, mitigating the ROI of tradeshow and directory costs. According to a 2015 ProcureCon Pharma Survey, 73 percent of procurement and sourcing professionals cite internal partners as their most trusted source of supplier information. Other frequently used sources of supplier knowledge were peers, both within and outside of the enterprise.

This clear disconnect—between where suppliers are expending efforts and where buyers are searching for qualified suppliers—is frustrating for both sides. Suppliers want to be recognized for their unique capabilities and appear in front of their target audience at the right point on the decision-making timeline. Buyers seek trusted supplier recommendations and intelligence from their internal and industry peers. When suppliers feel the investments they make to be noticed are unfruitful, and procurement lacks an aggregated source of reliable supplier intelligence, the mutually beneficial process of connecting remains costly and inefficient.

Technology that leverages and enhances rich buy-side knowledge while empowering suppliers to efficiently increase visibility can bridge this disconnect for suppliers and buyers.

tealbook solves this common challenge by providing centralized supplier intelligence. By using machine learning, we optimize the rich supplier knowledge that exists across enterprises and industries. tealbook also enhances visibility for suppliers while eliminating the need to update multiple, static directories or spend valuable resources on efforts that fail to yield productive exposure. tealbook’s solution to this disconnect delivers empowerment, efficiency, and improved business outcomes for both buyers and suppliers.

Supplier Stories: TTE Laboratories

TTE Laboratories speaks with tealbook.

TTE Laboratories is the world’s first affordable, metrology-driven, ISO/IEC 17025:2005 and 8655 compliant pipette service provider. President and CEO Benjamin Leverone spoke to tealbook from their headquarters near Cambridge, Massachusetts. 

Myself and the two other people who founded the company were working for a biotech company in the 1980s. They were sending equipment out to be calibrated—what’s called pipettes. They measure liquids, and large pharma and biotech companies have thousands of them. They measure liquids accurately down to and below one micro-litre, which is a millionth of a litre. The company was sending them to OEM’s, and they were slow and expensive. Myself and the other two gentlemen started doing the work for the company we were working for, and then branched out over time to rent our own space and then begin work for other biotech and pharma companies in the area.

It’s definitely a niche market. There’s maybe fifty across the country. Maybe ten or so large players. There’s a lot of people who actually go onto the customer’s site to do the work, which we don’t. We have more of a regulated process and do work for companies that are FDA regulated, so they have to be a little bit more stringent in how they take care of their own equipment.

We have a lot of experience in the field. It’s really a field you could term liquid handling. What these instruments do is people use them to aspirate liquids in specific quantities and then dispense them into test tubes to mix their reagents for the experiment. In one case a client was having some issues with their methodology, their testing. They called us in to see if some of the issues could have been from pipetting. We also do training in this regard, in showing people how to do this correctly. We were able to help the customer overcome this obstacle by providing training and then by providing a different methodology and equipment use so they could overcome some of the hurdles they were having.

I would say what makes us unique is our longevity and our experience, and also our adherence to high quality, and specific guidelines to do this work accurately and reproducibility for customers who are in the regulated market. In all markets there’s people who try to deliver higher quality and then people who may just try to make a buck and cut corners—we’re not like that. I think it’s always about that high quality work. High quality in terms of customer service and direction and then delivering on those. Some of our larger clients have been with us 25 years—companies like Pfizer, Biogen, Sanofi Genzyme. We have a high level of retention because of our ability to do the work for them and have them not have to worry about any compliance issues with the FDA.

We innovate in terms of the ability to do this work on a quick turnaround time, and in that the kind of documentation we provide on the work is on a higher level than other companies. The total value of the transaction is higher for the customer. I wouldn’t be in this if I was just making money but people didn’t think highly of what we do. To me first, it’s about doing good and providing more value than the customer pays for what they get. I think that breeds success. For me, personally, what’s engaging is to succeed as a company. To be thought of as high quality, a company that provides value to our customers.

We’re located outside of Boston, Cambridge, which has been termed the epicentre in the world for pharmaceutical and biotech in terms of its density. The future here and worldwide in terms of research and pharmaceuticals, I think it’s only growing. It’s going to be a long, long time before we figure out everything in the body, and man has a desire to solve all his health problems and extend his life. So I think the field will continue to grow, and we’ll continue to grow along with it.

This interview has been edited and condensed. 

5 Questions With Peloton Advantage

Peloton Advantage

Peloton Advantage is a medical communications firm specializing in strategic publication planning and associated content development for medical education programs. They support US and global accounts for large and small pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device companies.

Carolyn Clark, President, and Mike McLaughlin, MD, Chief Scientific Officer, met while working together at Cardinal Health (formerly Boron, LePore & Associates, Inc.) before starting their own company. Four of the original nine employees are still with the organization close to 13 years later. tealbook caught up with Carolyn and Mike to hear about their values, what sets them apart and where they hope to see Peloton Advantage head in the future.

1. What is unique about Peloton Advantage as a communications company?

True to our mission, we are committed to providing superior-quality strategic publication planning, content development, highly creative solutions, and project management support, allowing our pharmaceutical and biotechnology clients to positively impact the healthcare market and patient treatment. When we set out to create a communications company, we wanted to attract and retain the best in the business. We know how important our role is in supporting our clients; therefore, we wanted to ensure the highest level of service and quality in everything we do.

2. What are some of the core values that guide the work done at Peloton Advantage?

Teamwork. Peloton is a cycling term referring to a group of riders who work together as a unit, moving more efficiently by capitalizing on speed and strength exceeding those of its individual riders. These benefits come through the strategic interaction and teamwork of the group as it strives toward a common goal. Each individual effort, once integrated into the streamlined motion of the peloton, produces a distinct winning advantage. We work as a team on everything we do. It is never just a writer, an editor, a medical director, or an account director that delivers a project to our clients—it is the collaboration of the whole team that allows us to succeed.

3. What kinds of strategies or practices do you use to stay current in your therapeutic areas of expertise?

Our teams are at the forefront of their respective therapeutic areas. They regularly interface with leading experts and are continuously assessing emerging scientific literature and news alerts in order to stay current. Through such information, they keep our clients apprised of changes that could impact treatment practices and improve patient outcomes. They attend industry meetings and medical congresses and share information on new products, disease states, and implications for health economics and outcomes research that will help shape their product’s communication goals.

4. How do you promote creativity within the business?

Communicating scientific and medical information not only involves the rigor of developing accurate scientific content, but also the form and finesse of delivering a visually engaging final product. From creative conceptualization for advisory board meetings, aesthetically pleasing medical figures and illustrations, stylized PowerPoint presentations, to engaging scientific poster layouts, our creative team continues to provide a fresh “look and feel” to various projects.

We are constantly evaluating new ways to incorporate cutting-edge creative design and emerging technologies into the realm of medical communications. Over the last few years, we have invested in the expansion of our Creative Services department to meet the needs of our clients and the industry as a whole. Last year we organized an internal task force to research the growing digital offerings at publishers and congresses to determine additional products and services to offer our clients. We have applied this additional knowledge through innovative projects such as augmented-reality applications while beta testing virtual-reality and other interactive platforms at industry meetings and with our clients.

5. Where do you hope to see the company going in the next five years?

There is so much opportunity in our industry, and we seek to build our business to fully support the needs of our Medical Affairs partners. We have added staff in HEOR and are looking to build on our digital capabilities. We are also expanding our office space in Parsippany to support our ongoing growth and have plans to extend our presence in the Boston/Cambridge area in 2018.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Business Talk: Nicolle Peto of Scientific Communications Group

Scientific Communications Group is a full spectrum, scientific communications firm focusing on educating healthcare professionals who come in contact with rare disease patients. tealbook caught up with Managing Partner Nicolle Peto to learn about their niche area of expertise, programs that have the potential to facilitate life-changing outcomes and more.

On the origins of the business
Scientific Communications Group started six years ago. The partners come from various backgrounds—sales, clinical, one is a medical doctor and one is a publisher. We’ve been working in the industry for over 25 years but the company started six years ago. What we have morphed into is really a highly-scientific clinical content company that works mainly with rare disease clients, clients who have products to treat rare diseases. The kind of work we do is largely live meetings and publishing. What we’re trying to do is communicate to the healthcare community on behalf of our clients, the pharmaceutical companies, about these rare diseases, and trying to get physicians who may not know they’re seeing a rare disease. Most of the time rare diseases don’t follow a steady, easy path. Patients take about eight to ten years to get diagnosed, on average. What we try to do is use our platform, which is live meetings, to educate physicians and shorten the span to diagnosis.

On occupying a niche area
I think what makes our business unique is we have found ourselves in a niche area doing this type of work. I couldn’t even tell you how many medical education and medical communication firms there are out there, and we all kind of do the same type of work. We created a program that speaks to figuring out the mystery of a rare disease which we call the medical mystery. This program we do is a program that helps identify patients with rare diseases. This has created this unique little niche area for us. We’re a minority company, we’re a woman-owned small business which is also unique and special and something that we’re proud of. It’s something I personally never thought I’d do, own my own business. I set out to do it after not liking the feel of a big agency and everything that goes along with that. Somehow six years later, in a crazy, up and down economy, I’m still here.

On building sustainable client relationships
I think a lot of the time in this particular industry, the way you get clients is through clients. That seems to be how I grow the business, from my vantage point. I worked with this one company, and they took a chance on me, and we started working together and became successful. Over time, a lot of those people move on and go to different companies. I keep in touch with them and I network with them, and follow up with them endlessly, and they become a client. They branch into other places and I try to grow with them. I’ve found growing from my base is where I’ve had the most success.

On the overlap between innovation and persistence
I think being innovative is just sticking with it. I’m Managing Partner, so I’m in charge of new business and getting in front of clients. Being innovative is always like you’re finding new ways to get people’s attention, you’re finding new ways to sell your product, but a lot of that is just persistence to get in the door. Because if you can’t get in the door, you can be the most innovative company in the world, but if no one’s listening it doesn’t matter. I always go back to persistence.

On rewarding work in rare disease education
Doing this medical mystery has been the most rewarding of all. The way the program works is basically simulating how doctors are trained to become doctors in the first place. We go to medical conferences that take place all across the country, all year long, in different specialities. Either primary care, gynecology, Gastroenterology, pediatrics—all of the different ones. If I’m hired to do a program like this, what we’re trying to do is show the doctors, or the nurse practitioners or the physician’s assistants that are in the audience, a way a patient who has a rare disease may present. How they probably look like patients who you treat all the time, but if you really listen to what they’re saying, you might catch that this could be something not typical or atypical. You might actually be able to identify that this patient who has been coming for years or who has gone from doctor to doctor to doctor with all these various symptoms, might actually have a specific rare disease.

The most rewarding is when you have a physician tell you at the end of the program they think they might have misdiagnosed one of their patients that actually might be a rare disease, and then you find out that they followed up and talked to that patient. You might actually have something to do with changing someone’s life, in a very small way. Physicians get 95 percent of the credit, but if what my program does helps facilitate that, it’s the most rewarding kind of work I could imagine.

On the future
Right now we’re in the process of trying to close on some business. We have a new client who has a rare disease for spinal muscular atrophy that affects newborns, babies, toddlers, kids, teens, and adults. We’re hoping to really work with this client. We’re doing about eight or nine meetings with them in 2018 and I want to see where that goes. We’re looking to continually grow the business through really trying to help these companies identify patients and come up with some shorter time to diagnosis to treat these rare diseases. I just know we’re on our way.

This interview has been edited and condensed. This feature is part of a new series highlighting suppliers using tealbook. 

tealbook Webinar on Machine Learning in Supplier Intelligence

On December 13th, tealbook CEO Stephany Lapierre and Machine Learning Engineer Mete Kemertas hosted a live webinar on machine learning, and the important and exciting role it plays in supplier intelligence.

Machine learning is far more than a buzzword. It differs from conventional programming, where the computer is instructed to perform specified tasks and the program doesn’t have the ability to do anything other than what it has been asked to. Machine learning instead presents the computer with large amounts of data, and uses algorithms and statistical models to recognize patterns in that data. This leads to better recognition and prediction.

Machine learning is not new, but there have been huge advancements in the last five years. When applied to the procurement process, the enhancement in supplier intelligence and the enormous benefits in efficiency are significant. Please reach out to Sophie Belec-Cross (sophie@tealbook.com), if you are interested in getting a copy of the webinar. In it you will learn about machine learning and how it is aiding procurement teams in reducing cycle time by up to 90 percent, minimizing risk and increasing the efficiency and speed of supplier-related decisions.

Including Diverse Suppliers

Is increasing diversity in your supply base a priority for your company? While this is an important goal, traditional methods and portals for identifying diverse suppliers can actually be counterintuitive to your inclusivity efforts. When diverse suppliers register and provide information that lives in a separate space, the extra steps required to identify and learn about those suppliers can lead to them being excluded when important decisions are made. In the time it takes procurement to look in an entirely different directory or portal, the PO may already be issued and the opportunity to consider a diverse supplier gone. Further compounding this challenge is the fact these directories tend to be static, failing to provide up-to-date information and valuable news and updates.

tealbook helps address this problem by using machine learning to increase knowledge and visibility of diverse suppliers so they can be leveraged more effectively across your organization. tealbook features diversity certifications directly in a supplier profile, along with other information that enhances supplier knowledge. This allows you clear, centralized information about a supplier’s diverse status when making decisions. Registering suppliers is as easy as mailing a business card, and supplier data is self-maintained.

We’d love to chat with you about how tealbook can benefit your supplier diversity program. Email support@tealbook.com to get the conversation started.

All the best,

The tealbook team.

tealbook Welcomes Marcy Bucci to tealbook as Executive Advisor, Sales

 

We are very excited to welcome Marcy Bucci to the tealbook team as Executive Advisor, Sales.  

Marcy brings extensive experience, most recently in creating a global business segment at an established global services firm focused on procurement transformation. Prior to that, Marcy worked at a global procurement intelligence and technology company (Beroe), focusing on key diverse industries. She developed their go-to-market strategy for industry specific intelligence services and established their global development organization. Marcy also held an executive business development and operations position with Gartner, and worked as an econometric modeler and software pricer at IBM.

Marcy holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Information Systems and an MBA from Pennsylvania State University. 

Learn more about Marcy here.

tealbook CEO Stephany Lapierre on negotations.ninja Podcast

tealbook founder and CEO Stephany Lapierre appeared on Mark Raffan’s negotiations.ninja podcast, where she spoke about her innovative approach to supplier intelligence and its significant value in negotiations. Some highlights from the stimulating discussion are below, and the full episode can be listened to here.

On what Stephany hears from leading procurement professionals

Stephany touched on some of the common themes and interests from CPOs and procurement executives. During tealbook roundtables, there is much discussion about the upside of supplier intelligence, and how this will change the structure, hiring processes, and best practices in procurement—and how procurement executives can stay ahead. In an industry Phil Ideson has called “ripe for disruption”, procurement professionals want to know how they are doing on their digital journey, what specific challenges they need to overcome, and how to position the procurement function and value they contribute to their organization.

On supplier intelligence as leverage in negotiations

“Data is leverage,” explains Stephany. If you have access to data—the right type of data—the insight you need to create value and drive more educated conversations is at your fingertips. This intelligence provides an extra element of leverage in procurement, and can add significant value pre-negotiation, meaning more knowledge of options once negotiations commence. Stephany explains that this knowledge is power, whereas traditional supplier intelligence that exists in a disaggregated state means more time spent to achieve leverage and potential opportunities are missed.

On how tealbook leverages the intelligence organizations already have

“We call it personalized supplier identification and qualification because a lot of the data, it’s already within the organization,” says Stephany. Procurement professionals bring their knowledge from years of experience, their network, and other companies. The hurdle is that this knowledge often isn’t shared or used to its full potential. “What we leverage is the intelligence you have in your organization. You can get deeper insights into the suppliers you’re currently doing business with so you can leverage them more effectively across growing areas of demand within your organization.” By using tealbook, the insight, relationships, connectivity, and supplier knowledge of a team can be continuously shared between people and the enterprise to make strategic decisions.