Seqens: Towards More Visible & More Predictable R&D Cycles

Company Overview

Seqens is an integrated global leader in pharmaceutical solutions and specialty ingredients. With a wide range of products, services and technologies, the group provides toll manufacturing services to pharmaceutical and specialty industries, as well as a broad portfolio of active ingredients, pharmaceutical intermediates, and specialty products.

Industry: Chemicals

Founded: 2003

Headquarters: Ecully, France

Revenue: €1 billion

Employees: 3,200

Website: www.seqens.com/en


“Accordingly, Seqens’ R&D department needed an intelligent data management system to forecast turnover over six months and to better understand business requirements and project life cycles in order to make invoicing more reliable.”

Amélie Nialy Gagnan
Project Planning Manager – R&D Services


Initiative Overview

In 2017, the Seqens group overhauled its French research and development (R&D) activities and consolidated them into the Porcheville facility, in the Paris area. 

Hired as the Project Planning Manager of this new R&D hub, Amélie Nialy Gagnan was put in charge of resource management and planning. As both the headcount and business volume were growing rapidly, she set about streamlining the process for planning and monitoring the work related to R&D projects and for invoicing it to external customers. Selected for its breadth of functionality, its ease of use, its scalability, and its flexibility, Sciforma’s software was deployed site-wide in 2019 to support the new organizational framework.

Business Drivers and Requirements

Standardizing practices to improve visibility

The resources, work plans and budgets for R&D projects used to be managed using multiple different tools, ranging from task management software to homegrown Excel files. Because of that fragmentation, work habits and practices varied significantly from one team member to the next, as each had their own process for creating resource plans and tracking financial indicators.

The lack of standardization across systems and data handling practices was hindering and complicating the searchcompilation and consolidation of information — and even more so when this involved reconciling datasets from different departments and managing interdependencies.

That visibility issue grew more and more apparent as activity increased at Porcheville. The new Project Planning Manager therefore suggested harmonizing management practices by using a single tool to plan and track all purchase orders and associated invoices at the site level.

Simplifying resource allocation

Chief among the pain points was the software that was supposed to be used resource allocation and management. It had only been patchily adopted by Project Managers, and those who had were bumping into the functional limitations of the tool — for example, it didn’t offer the option to adjust and simulate work plans. As a result, Amélie Nialy Gagnan had to manually collect data and consolidate it into a sprawling Excel file, which had become very difficult for her to maintain. She needed a robust platform to assess capacity, make resource trade-offs, level resources, and make hiring decisions.

Better forecasting for better anticipation

Because the R&D teams were struggling to get an overview of the pipeline, they had an even harder time forecasting inbound requests in order to anticipate staffing needs (and therefore to arrange staff transfer or hiring ahead of time) and to estimate future cash inflows and outflows.

Accordingly, Seqens’ R&D department needed an intelligent data management system to forecast turnover over six months and to better understand business requirements and project life cycles in order to make invoicing more reliable.

Sciforma Solution


Software Critical Capabilities



Services

  • Implementation/integration support
  • Securing stored data


“All invoices are consolidated into Sciforma, which also displays billing milestones per project. This is enabling her to monitor revenue and to share the associated data in order to keep the order backlog up to date.”

Amélie Nialy Gagnan
Project Planning Manager – R&D Services


Key Realized Benefits

Real visibility into work plans and improved invoicing management

Sciforma provides a consolidated, dynamic overview of resource availability and workload while making it possible to differentiate between various types of work demands, between projects and business cases… In short, to extract insights from the data.

The ability to simulate multiple what-if scenarios, as well as automatic adjustment capabilities to reflect changes in one of the parameters, are enabling a more granular understanding of work demands and deliverables, which is helping to identify bottlenecks in departments ahead of time.

Amélie Nialy Gagnan can now leverage an interface dedicated to invoicing at the portfolio level to get an immediate overview of revenue and track in real time. All invoices are consolidated into Sciforma, which also displays billing milestones per project. This is enabling her to monitor revenue and to share the associated data in order to keep the order backlog up to date.

More insightful project prioritization decisions 

The consolidated resource plan is shared with all department heads and offers them perfect visibility on all activities, enabling them to monitor and manage work demands and to prioritize the allocation of key resources across multiple projects. A better grasp of the resource, schedule and revenue impact of various potential trade-offs is helping the decision-makers who sit in on the monthly portfolio management meetings to prioritize across activities more intelligently and more efficiently.

One tool for all

Generally speaking, the level of consistency and visibility achieved thanks to Sciforma has helped to better standardize and structure data and workflows across teams — including by making the Sales teams aware of the need to ensure that there is capacity to absorb new projects.

The ease of use of the tool has facilitated rapid user adoption at the Porcheville site. What’s more, Amélie Nialy Gagnan’s initiative has inspired other site managers within the Seqens group: several of them have deployed Sciforma at their level, although they’re using different functionality.

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