Meet The Expert - Adrian Abad
Based in sunny Spain, Adrian Abad is the Senior Director of Supply Chain at Medis. Supply chain is definitely a challenge in the (almost) post-COVID era of 2022, but Adrian’s positive mindset and passion for his work makes any challenge surmountable.
I really like working for Medis because I’ve been able to grow my career. I first started working for Medis’ parent company, Teva, 11 years ago. I was in the Zaragoza manufacturing site in Spain, taking care of their third party business. Two years later when Teva decided to centralize their industrial business, it consisted of creating a standalone commercial business unit. This involved moving hundreds of customers and 16 manufacturing sites into one centralized European business unit. I moved to Madrid to work in this division and then after a year began to lead the customer service and supply chain departments. In 2016, when Teva acquired Medis, we joined both third-party businesses together and I became the director of supply chain for Medis. Since 2020, I’ve been leading the whole department.
One of the projects I’m most proud of is the implementation of the EU FMD legislation into the Medis portfolio… that’s 4,000 SKUs. At that time, my main responsibility was to manage strategic projects. One of these was the serialization of SKUs. We created a dedicated project team and a plan with clear goals, roles and responsibilities for every stakeholder in the chain. Those were interesting times! The whole company was involved and I think it was a complete success.
We supply customers worldwide. This is the beauty of Medis. We support customers from very early in the journey – from registration and regulatory support, to translating the business case to the manufacturing site to make sure all launch components are ready. We are the focal point and need to coordinate between all departments. We have a big portfolio and supply more than 70 countries. We simply have to comply with every regulatory requirement from every country. Whether it’s Japan, Chile, South Africa — this is what makes the job super interesting, super intense, and enjoyable! And while the journey if often complex, the option of failing is not in our mindset!
I studied business in Spain and France and started my career in the sports company, Adidas. Having the opportunity to work in such a strong sports brand, you really see the marketing impact the company has on the world. But when I saw an opportunity in the pharma business, I went for it. I believe that taking care of the patient is very important. And Medis has such an impact on patients literally the world over, which is still amazing to me, every single day.
I love the ‘international’ element at Medis. We’re 21 on the team, mainly located in Iceland. We’re now creating a footprint in Bulgaria, and we also have a team in Spain that deals with the demand management and project management process. You really get a taste for the richness of different cultures. In fact, I don’t remember the last time I wrote an email in Spanish. Even if I’m writing to someone in Spain, I do it in English because you never know when it might need to be forwarded to someone else, or be needed to escalate an issue. And this is one of the principles I empower the teams with – for all the communication to happen in English. It’s more agile. With the market conditions we’re dealing with — 300 customers and 5000 SKUs — you need to be agile otherwise you will be overwhelmed with the day to day activities.
It makes me happy to come into work and see that I’m contributing to something for the health of the people. Medis has a huge portfolio so a massive service impact all over the world. The supply chain in this sort of business is very complex, but this drives me to improve myself every day. If I do things in routine, I get bored very quickly. This is not the place to get bored! This is what I like – challenges and complexity. Medis is a definition of these two words.
2022 is the ‘supply year’. What do I mean? This year is challenging, one of the most challenging from a supply chain perspective. We started to see power cuts in China last year, which has been causing delays in the provision of materials such as excipients and aluminum. A nationwide shortage of truck drivers and rising consumer demand are three supply chain challenges that will continue to impact retail operations throughout 2022. Further demand has also grown as we’ve been moving away from COVID, which is great to see that we come back to the new normality. The global supply chain team put a plan together with the procurement team, in order to minimize the impact of these delays, but the worldwide situation is still challenging on day to day.
A strong skillset is needed to work in this international environment and with this amount of products. You need to have good communication skills and to be able to streamline processes as much as you can. It’s also about continuous learning and improvement because you don’t know everything. I am learning every single day in this company and this is what Teva brings to me – the opportunity to challenge myself every day. I make sure to document my learnings so that I’ll be prepared for next time!
I’m looking for happiness. I get full of energy when I see my daughter enjoying whatever fun outing we’re doing that day. And I’m happy when I’m at the office. What could be better?