What does the launch department do? Regina Thordardottir will tell you.
Regina Thordardottir is Associate Director Product Launch at Medis, responsible for making sure customer launches get off the ground on time and seamlessly! It takes a lot of problem solving, some good communication skills, and a strong drive to accomplish so many successful launches. A little bit of hiking the Icelandic mountains certainly helps, too.
The people in reception know everything! Before I got my degree and before I started working in the launch department, I worked in the reception (when Medis was still part of Actavis). I was there for 6 years and really got to know how the company operated. The people in reception know all the people and all the ins and outs of the company. It helped me get integrated with everything.
After my studies, I went straight back to Medis, to the launch department. My degree in industrial engineering taught me how to problem solve, which I think is a really important quality in the launch department. You’re always experiencing something new, the job keeps you on your toes!
In essence, I’m a project manager helping customers launch products to markets. We start working on a new launch 18 months before the launch. This is when we receive forecasts from customers about the new drug and how much to produce.
We start communicating with the manufacturing sites and following up with different supporting units such as the regulatory department. There can be a lot of unknown factors with the regulatory local authorities in different markets, so we have to navigate them and make sure everything is in place for the launch.
I like being a little bit of everything. The launch team dabbles in customer experience (CX), and a little bit of supply chain. It makes it interesting! You can imagine how much diversity there is in terms of our customer base, the different markets we’re launching in to, and the locations of the different manufacturing sites. It gives my day flavor.
Once the product is launched, CX then take over on the customer communication side of things, and supply chain takes care of order replenishment.
I like encountering different situations. Whether I’m dealing with supply issues, launch constraints, or regulatory hurdles, I’m always doing something new. I get a sense of accomplishment when something has been solved. It requires a lot of communication, good communication, with the customers and the sites. You also have to be very good at planning to make sure things get done on time, so that the product launches on time.
We need to set and align expectations with customers. Launches are always high risk. When you’re launching a new product, you’re always setting up new processes. So it’s crucial that expectations are set and aligned so that we’re always on the same page. This is the most challenging aspect of the job.
I love hiking. I like leaving the city, getting some fresh air and clearing my mind from all the noise and traffic. It reduces your stress levels and keeps you focused on your priorities.