Catalent CIO Sees Rapid Customer Use of TraceLink Platform

TraceLink’s collaboration solution will provide outsourcing 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 Pharma Solutions, Inc. (Somerset, NJ).

“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.
The online collaboration solution from the Woburn, MA-based company integrates transactions between trading partners sharing standardized data sets and applications. Users at various department levels can register at the site for executing business processes in a shared workspace or cloud computing environment, benefiting from real time visibility to customers’ data.
Catalent has previously exposed its business data to customers linking to Catalent systems through a web-portal. The data is 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 is 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. They are the interface from a systems perspective with our customers. 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 rolls out 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 US, Puerto Rico as well as Germany and the UK 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 this point, we have a data set that we believe is fairly comprehensive (based on the data that customers have required in the web portal transactions). We will be pulling data in from some of our disparate data systems and sources, such as, and normalizing it for the TraceLink platform.”
Catalent will progressively development the program, refining the data set and developing business process solutions with TraceLink. Quality Review and Forecasting processes for example will be developed –added to modules including Production Tracking and Inventory Monitoring--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. 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.
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