Catalent Adopts TraceLink Solution
A promise of seamless data sharing as solution evolves.
Catalent Pharma Solutions Inc. (Somerset, NJ) has partnered with TraceLink Inc. (Woburn, MA) to develop TraceLink’s supply chain collaboration solution with outsourcing manufacturers.
The TraceLink platform and software applications will provide customers with seamless data sharing and an environment for optimizing business processes, says Roy Satchell, senior vice president of information technology and chief information officer, Catalent.
“We are seeing increased outsourcing from the large pharma firms and some biotech companies as well. As companies lose some control through the outsourcing process, they have to have confidence they will not lose transparency in the supply chain,” Satchell says.
“TraceLink’s solution enables us to be a lot more responsive to the requests of our customers, as we try to exceed—rather than just meet—their expectations,” Satchell says.
TraceLink’s on line collaboration platform integrates transactions between trading partners sharing standardized data sets and applications. Users at various department levels can register at the site to perform business processes in a shared workspace or cloud computing environment, benefiting from real-time data visibility.
“TraceLink creates a common connection point where parties have a shared set of business processes and application schema that they can execute with each other. This facilitates a much more rapid level of integration,” says Shabbir Dahod, TraceLink’s president and CEO.
Catalent has previously exposed its business data to customers linking to Catalent systems through a Web portal. The data are typically refreshed every 24 hours, says Satchell.
“We have to go into development mode—create a data set, configure it, and then provide the customer with access to the portal—each time we get a customer request. Customers have significant variability in their ERP environments, so data sets have to be configured in each case. It is not as agile a response as we would like, and the data are relatively static,” Satchell says.
TraceLink provides a common interface for linking with companies’ ERP and data warehousing systems. “TraceLink allows us to replace a somewhat volatile demand-driven process around Catalent’s technical resources. We need only develop one normalized data set that is put into the TraceLink environment, leveraging the cloud,” Satchell says.
“There is a lot less variability in this for us, and customers will receive real-time access to dynamically updated data. They would potentially be getting the same data response time as our customer service and operational people,” he adds.
TraceLink will be made available across the organization, as Catalent completes a rollout of a single-instance J.D. Edwards ERP solution, now 60% in place.
“Clinical packaging leverages this environment, as does oral technology, our sterile community, and our commercial packaging organization. The United States and Puerto Rico as well as Germany and the United Kingdom are on this system, with the exception of one plant going live in 2011. We are going live with our clinical business as of July 5,” Satchell says (at press time).
“At this point, we have a data set that we believe is fairly comprehensive. We will be pulling data in from some of our disparate data systems and sources, such as salesforce.com, and normalizing it for the TraceLink platform.”
Catalent will progressively develop the program based on customers’ needs, refining the data set and developing business process solutions with TraceLink. Quality Review and Forecasting processes, for example, will be developed, based on customers’ needs and the sophistication of their systems.
“One thing we were adamant about is ensuring that the privacy and security of data is controlled in a manner that is satisfactory to ourselves and our customers. We want to make sure that each customer can only see their subset of data, and that the transfer and retention of that data is secure,” Satchell says.
“We are still on an evolutionary path [with this solution]. TraceLink has collaboration and analytical tools that I think would be attractive to our customers, who we think will rapidly embrace this outsourcing model.
“We would then be looking to pull customers’ data into our system, as the solution evolves toward supply chain optimization,” Satchell says.