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Science Boosters

Customer Centric Approach: Quality as the backbone of BD 

With Marloes Seesing,
Global Head of Healthcare Industry Vertical at Yusen Logistics

Marloes Seesing, Global Head of Healthcare Industry Vertical at Yusen Logistics, guest of the new podcast episode about how quality is the backbone of Business Development in Healthcare
Don’t miss out on this exciting new episode where Marloes reveals her best techniques and shows us how your quality strategy can be the best sales tool.
This episode is part of a Scilife webinar, access the full recording here.


Filip Heitbrink:

I’m Filip Heitbrink, CEO at Scilife, and today I’d like to share with you (our Podcast listeners,) an enlightening conversation we had during our last Scilife webinar with Marloes Seesing, Global Head of Healthcare Industry Vertical at Yusen Logistics.

We tackled one of the main issues that some businesses in regulated industries face, which is how to create a successful business development approach by merging quality with sales.

Don’t miss out on this exciting new episode where Marloes reveals her best techniques and shows us how your quality strategy can be the best sales tool.

With no further delay, I let you enjoy the session!


Welcome everybody. Thank you for coming online with me today. I have Marloes Seesing, Marloes maybe you can introduce yourself briefly.


Marloes Seesing:

Hi everyone. I'm I'm based in the Netherlands Amsterdam. Background is my living room. As most of you are probably in a I'm the global head of the healthcare industry, vertical at Euston logistics.

Filip asked me to enjoy this webinar and we came up with this topic together. So once talking about this topic, I would also give a little bit more information about my background. So that will come a little bit later in this webinar.


Filip Heitbrink:

Yup, exactly. So yeah, the webinar is about. The quality meeting the customer, rigAs a backbone of business development. So Marloes customer centric approach to quality. Right. What does that mean for you and how did you do that at Yusen?


Marloes Seesing:

So to explain a little bit more about a topic and why we picked this topic, we have to go back to a little bit of the beginning of my career will not make it too long, will add that.

I tried to keep it a little brief. But I really, I started off the pharmacy school, so I'm a pharmacist. I, I joined a Genzyme biotech company from out of the U S and I worked in identical supply departments. And what I noticed here is that when releasing that clinical trial material we really asked, worked with the quality department.

Yeah. It felt really rigid. It felt we really need to make sure that all the patients got to supply [00:03:00] that the right time. And it was also really a medication for Rycroft Jensen for rare diseases. So do you really need to get it right time? But always, it felt like that quantity was a kind of a showstopper or a block.

And I said, well, that needs to be different. So I, during that time, And of course, ed was a very high quality company. And with the biotech and new medicines, you have to be really careful. But during the time, with other ways, when I ever get a new role within quality, I'm going to do a different. And I thought about it a lot when working for agenda.

Well, Genzyme got acquired by Sanofi. Don't go into details for that one. But then I moved to a Dutch company in pharmaceutical compounding and they were active in 30 countries. So really a global company. They wanted me to read. Reorganize their global quality department. And then I thought, okay, this is my chance to do it differently because it was really kind of a sales company, very commercial company.[00:04:00]

And I run to be really compliant and to have a really good quality strategy. But I want us to add to the sales strategy. I want us to. Very pragmatical. So what I did is really to make sure that my team of quality people, that the first priority was to be compliant, but also to think about, to really think into solutions.

And then I was recruited for the job within using logistics. So with using our district, it was even as a logistic company, not a pharmaceutical company. So the way we work with quality's a little bit different than in pharmaceutical companies, but they were really looking for a global healthcare quality director.

That would be part of the BD organization. The gap of the quality strategy within Newson was a kind of thing then to grow. In their sales strategy add to do grow their skills. So so then I was asked to join it, to [00:05:00] really develop a global health care quality strategy. It would help RBD people to sell that, to bring it across to our potential customers, to increase our sales.

So what I did from that point of view is that. Really was taking my experience in the pharmaceutical accommodative was at that time almost 11 years. And we're thinking about, okay, what do they really want? What are they expecting? What kind of quality are they expecting? What kind of projects are they expecting?

And based on that really developed the quality strategy. But now as the head of the ask it vertical, I have even gotten more influenced how the two teams are working together. And also because our business units like air, ocean contractor dressings, the warehousing, we are building healthcare products with them also with quality, our quality strategy as the backbone of those products.

So now I'm kind of a, basically that really use quality strategy that we have been building as a fundament of our PD approach.


Filip Heitbrink:

Okay. And, and so. How much during the sales cycle are BD people able to, to manage the whole sales cycle without the help of quality, or maybe also the other way around how much time is, is there still a quality people involved in the, in the sales cycle?


Marloes Seesing:

So what we would we try to do is because I really want quality to be involved in the sales process because. They are the knowledgeable people to really explain in detail about all the projects. But of course, it's impossible to do have, because the business development people, they need to first hunt for customer have cake meetings, introduction meetings.

I don't think it's a lot of use, to have quality enrolled in here. That's why we want to train all our salespeople that are involved in healthcare through our regional healthcare BD manager. To be, to be knowledgeable enough about all of this, to kind of do the first couple of meetings. And once it gets more serious and we note see more and more to those from the customer side, we're quality people are joining those meetings.

So from the moment on that quality people from the customer sides are joining. We also try to make sure it's quality people from our side are joining. So hearing kind of The second meeting during a tender or a didactic, several kinds of meetings where we see, okay, there's somebody from one of the joining.

We will make sure that if somebody is joining as well from our part.


Filip Heitbrink:

That makes sense. Okay. So the other thing that I was thinking about when you were explaining how you, how you started doing this effort within Uson, you have this business development team right on the, on the one hand on the one hand, and then you have this, this whole quality [00:08:00] setup where the whole yeah.

Team on the right hand side. And then at some point there is this quality person that goes to the, to the business development side. It is going to, yeah. Somehow impose that we need to redefine our services. Quality needs to be the backbone, but they, the, they are salespeople. They, they, they might say, we know what the customer wants.

We know what to sell. We know how to sell it. Why is this quality person coming in and telling us what we should do and how right. So what was the acceptance of the business development team to have this quality person lead them at some point?


Marloes Seesing:

I think several aspects in this. And I think first of all, myself and, and the team that I built in, in, in a couple of years, a couple of people are coming from the pharmaceutical industry.

So although most of the business development people talked a lot with them. I've been really working for a pharmaceutical effort to pharmaceutical companies in different sections. So we could bring that knowledge to using and base our strategy on that. The second thing is. It was to be the team that asked for a quantity strategy because they acknowledged how important this was for their shield strategy.

So in boating quality, as a backbone was kind of something that they have been asking for. And I think the third one is that in the beginning also joined a lot of customer meetings and they could already see how I was also engaging with the customers, potential customers, so that I get were almost there, my previous colleagues.

So they saw me engaging with them and they saw that that was kind of Well, so really helping their process. And then I, maybe the fourth thing, and it it's a little bit straight to tell them about your city. But I've been a manager of a team, I think already for 10, 10 or 12 years now. So I've been managing people and I'm quite a people person.

So I think me being there also direct managing and that people manage your debt. I, nobody mentioned to me anything about that. They had a hard time with that. So I think the acceptance was really there.


Filip Heitbrink:

Okay. Yeah. And, and, and it's what you mentioned, right? Somehow, they must have noticed during their sales pitches trying to sell a service that was quality-related.

They would get a lot of questions that they might not know how to answer them appropriately. So having, having support from quality probably made a lot of sense to them, right. To incorporate.


Marloes Seesing:

But because we really well select or train our people from quantity to reread, but medical, and to really think about what the customer wants.

And we train our BD people really on our quality strategy. You really also bring them much closer together because we are just one department. So that's a, and that's maybe a separate thing from, [00:11:00] from pharmaceutical companies. And there it's a little bit harder to change, but Especially from, from, from other companies like LSPs, I would definitely advise to not really set quality as a totally separate, we need to be independent and we need to have an escalation line where we can say this.

Now we need to do something, but we need to be very much in with all the different departments, because what I've seen. Well, maybe wrong with moving my previous careers that sometimes quality was involved at the, a loss. And they had then had to say, well, this is not possible. And they were always the deal breaker.


Filip Heitbrink:

So do you need to rebuild it part of the organization from the start to identify where might be the gaps and not promised.


Marloes Seesing:

And then you also allow them, well, it's not a different species then, but to come up with solutions during the process, I think it's a very important. Yeah.


Filip Heitbrink:

Okay. Yeah. The only thing is that that of course, business development and quality management might be [00:12:00] tracking very different KPIs.

Right? Business development is all about deals. Quality is more about quality events and, and all that. So. Yeah. You, you, you still, you try to bring them closer together, but you still have two separate teams, right?


Marloes Seesing:

Eh, exactly. And what we see. So a four for the KPIs, the internal KPIs to say, so we definitely use different KPIs.

Well, because I'm leading to quality and, and DVD department for me, they're, they're combined, but we see the more the quality is reaching their KPIs. The more, a BD is supported to be able to reach their KPIs. That's kind of how it works.


Filip Heitbrink:

Okay. Interesting. Okay. So we go through the next slide.


Marloes Seesing:

Let's do that.

So talk a little bit about head coming from a pharmaceutical company and take that knowledge to, to really. Global health care quality strategy, which was not really in place before debts. And what are we thinking about is like what's an, and this is mainly ad. This is really focused on, on the NSV, which uses a logistic services provider.

What do they really want? They want fully compliant service because if we're not compliant, there are many nonconformities and, and, and issues and go in, which takes a lot of time and might at the end, even lead to rejection of the product. That last one is of course, something, if we really want to prevent.

So starting with a blank sheet of that. Okay. First we need to. Really great GDP standard at which is acceptable for all customers. Globally. So the EU GDP is really acceptable by bio countries of this world. There are some countries that have like China, some separate requirements due to UDP standards, because most of the customers accepted globally.

And that's, we really created a standard for all of our business units, air oceans, warehousing, land, transport. And then we said, okay, but now we have to really extend our GDP network because customers want to fly the products all over the world and they want the same quality management system, the same level of.

All around the road because it's still the same product. And they add, they also many of the big customers, they have to headquarters in Europe or in us, and they wanted high standard globally. So what do we need to really make sure that also internally we really did GDP set setups so that our facilities and our way of working was EU GDP compliant.

But as you can imagine, we outsource a lot. So we outsource a lot to third world. I think about airlines ocean carriers. We don't have our own vessels or air airplanes. So we put a lot of focusing focus on on third party management to make sure that all our third parties that we use for healthcare.

Are [00:15:00] following all the processes that we follow as well, had it behaved the same quality level and then still, what, what customers are expecting from us as well is that we think about the link before we start doing their shipments. So the route risk assessment is, is more and more required that is bringing out everything we know, and to predict the risk.

And also from our side to then eliminate. Before starting to shift, and that can be done by changing the routes, using different carriers. But also we created the packaging project because there are a lot of, and I'm not going into this too much because there's a lot of types of active, passive packaging where that you can add to the shipments so that you can eliminate risk.

And last part of, of, of the strategy of the steps is really sort of working with a smart data logo. And linked it to our four PL system that physical vantage so that our customers could see at traceability of the location and the temperature during that older, older steps during the entire lane and all the processes that we use for these steps and to do really try to get an end to end compliant, GDP compliant lane for our customers.

All those processes that are kept in our eco mess, because we went in this process. We also went from paper pure mess, which were different in all kinds of locations to the EQM. Yes. Every which we selected the silent. And so I had to process processes also because there is also mention is we are not perfect yet.

And although we try to eliminate most of the risks before we start shipments, that will be some nonconformities. If it's value of third party buyers sales by even sometimes with the customers. So we also track them globally in, in our  HQ mess. And based on that from a low point of view, we can treat. And, and do some trend analysis on what's happening.

And of course we will always do a preventive action. And based on this, we constantly do continuous improvement until at some point we are perfect. So going to a zero tolerance at some point.


Filip Heitbrink:

Yeah. So this is all very, very quality related. So can you explain maybe how this ties into your business development strategy?

So how do you use.


Marloes Seesing:

So if you look at what the customer really wants, so when you start talking to the customers, they asked for what, where, which are facilities, RGB compliance.


Filip Heitbrink:

Hmm. So, so yeah, that, that, the question that comes to mind is. How, how if if some company wants to implement it in a certain, in a similar way, how would they go about doing that?

Right. So you're mentioning it a little bit. It's really putting in place first, your whole quality system in a very logical way with a continuous improvement cycle. And then using that to sell your service, or, or could you say. Of course, this is, this is a seven step process for the continuous improvement part.

But if, if okay, can you maybe explain the few steps that are required? If somebody on the call says, this is very interesting. I would like to implement this in our company. Where do I start?


Marloes Seesing:

Depends a little bit of what kind of company they are working for, because this is, these are really steps that are applicable for an LSP for logistics service provider.

And what I would say is that, and I don't think, but then not to give tips to our competitors, but anyway, and this is quite out in the open anyway. I think there should be first of all, a separate quality department for healthcare only. You see in many companies you have a compliance team. Think about ISO 9,001.

He was in those kind of develops their own QMS that are going for over articles and with verticals. I mean also for retail technology. So they kind of had one compliance quality strategy behind that. I think healthcare is so specific that you need. Well knowledgeable people. It sounds because that will include myself.

You need knowledgeable people to set this strategy. So you really need a separate team, I think with healthcare specialists and with quality backgrounds. And it doesn't mean that from their own, you can also use some parts of the strategy for other verticals. So I think you have to have the separate team and it needs to be supported.

From GHQ from air from the global headquarters, because this is a global strategy in many of the company. Still in the Gulf coast, had a different countries are quite powerful and have their own P and L so, but if you're supported by GHQ and you have a good strategy, but still you need to do convince your countries to really work with you.

And they're also, you see a corporation which we didn't discuss it for between media and quality. Cause sometimes you can see in step two, where we. Once the certain opco slash country to develop, for example, or GDP license warehouse, it will mean investment. They will say, okay, we noted quality is, is, is, is required.

We know that this should be low, but it's still X amount of money. Then we work together with the BD healthcare BD team to make a return of investment. And build a pipeline for this potential investment to make sure that they can see yet, but within three years, it's very likely that you earn it all back and we'll really start making profits.

So that's again, in the corporation that's also really needed. So you need the knowledgeable people, you need a specific team, but you also really need support from, from the, the GHQ, because you need to convince. All participants and what they always say, equity is not just the department. Everybody is responsible for quality innovation and digitalization.

And sustainability, but kind of now I'm doing it. Didn't want to mention sustainability because that's not a part of the discussion today. We can discuss that for another 20 hours, but that's not a really a core topic for quality. Although we need to be part of this again, but innovation and digitalization, well often go hand in hand.

It's really a request from our customers as well. It's still unbelievable that with pharma companies and it's also partly our fault, but also that it's, it's the companies play a role that they develop like a. Based products, but that still we work orders in paper. We do risk assessments on Excel. Excel is still kind of a huge tool within the logistic business.

And also we thought if this is such an important topic, but also to be more professional and to work more efficiently when you really need to, to well implement innovation in our strategy as well. And last but not least, we decided to do. Go from a paper, pure mess to an EQs signup as mentioned before.

And that is also really because we want, my task was also to really become global within quality. And because we have so many different countries and so many different countries joining our GDP network, we need to have an overview and we really needed to work more consistently. And really on one system, because you can imagine if you have 40 countries that are all have their different SharePoints, there's no overview.

So we want to be way more. But also re more professional to our customers. And from our own point of view, we need a visibility of what's happening with all the processes that they do, actual QMS, but also with all the events. And we want all the people to really work into one system. And also because we were working in one system, we have one consistent way.

And own way better wait to report into our customer.


Filip Heitbrink:

Yeah. So this whole digitalization was, was instrumental to get everybody on one page and, and yeah. Instill this quality mindset integrated into business development somehow, right?


Marloes Seesing:

Yeah. Yeah. So, so just to do, and I don't won't go over Point by point, but also to, to really, once we decided, and that really is, is also based on coming from pharmaceutical companies and EQR mez was kind of a key.

And you, I was already used to that. What kind of, of benefits that will bring I've always worked for billable companies And having separate paper QMS in separate locations, you can never have you can never have the overview and a lot of emails and Vogels who will be involved. And it's just.

Kind of almost can say it's almost not GDP compliant anymore. So this was one of the first things I put on the budget and of course it said, it's not, we put it on the budget that it's there the day after, but what we already seen that we, those are our GDP net group is growing and old countries that are part of our GDP network need to be on the system on the QMS.

And Scilife. So that's an ongoing process but what we really see and is that we have way better visibility of everything would happen also on, on the events. So we can also follow up if they are closed or not. And specifically from  where from a global point of view, for the global key accounts and deported accounts, we can really follow that closely.

For us, it's kind of the only two we can use to really standardize our QMS. So still we will never, at each facility, we will never have the exact same QMS because you're given these, what are you doing? Different sometimes local stations, a little bit different, but the, the, the, the structure and the high level we want to The evidence that standardized and that also, if everybody is communicating within the system, you can imagine that if you have a paper form that they start complete, the complaint, the nonconformity is, is received in the UK.

There's a paper before. Well, they, they, they a word document. It will complete a bit, it will send it to China. China will do a little bit version control. You don't have a clue. Are we working with the same version? And each opco is using a different kind of form. So it's, it's, it's this will, yeah, it's a chaos indeed.

So this, especially when we want to be more standardized and one to, we really have a global strategy. It was kind of a must have for us.


Filip Heitbrink:

And then it's really transition from paper to this EMS or, or w where you already have digital or hybrid with, with word and PDF documents. W how was that transition?


Marloes Seesing:

So we did have, in some opcos had custom made or custom made in-house.

Quality management system that was not validated. And that was not really working well. It was also a little bit out of date. So you can imagine when you have an audit from a, from a big customer, the pharmaceutical customer with that very high quality standards, and you have an audit and of course the door, et cetera, but to do the document part, they want to show you on the big screen.

Your system where you pull everything out and, and then already, when you  start with such a non-validated in-house created because that's not our core business system. Where they can already CA that's out of date. That's not working then before he even showed the document, they already have five findings on there, noted on their paper.

So what we see now is really not using the customer name, but anyway, we had a really important customer and project to. We got it assigned to like two weeks ago and they get F we had two days workshop and the part of it was bad. They went a little bit deeper than we expected because we thought it was high level of what are we going to do, but It kind of a deep, deep dive in our documents.

And we really add now that same quality managers, whether it was working with our local quality managers within Europe, it was working with an old system that was, and he just pulled everything out, would show how things were linked and which one, and they were really impressed. So that was really good to see.


Filip Heitbrink:

Yeah. So you're usually really using the QMS itself. So Scilife in this case for the. During audits to, to on-screen show the auditor directly the data in your EMS as opposed to what was happening before auditor would request something, you would just go get that record and get that paper, get to whatever file and only present that you feel comfortable.

Opening the QMS and navigating through all your quality data within the system that say it, right?


Marloes Seesing:

To be honest, I would not be, feel comfortable because I'm not working with it that much. So no, but definitely one of the manager of a specific site and also a astute, well, she's now heading up our, our healthcare quality global team.

They feel fully comfortable at, at fooling and, and explaining and explaining how things are linked.


Filip Heitbrink:

Now with, with, with comfortable. I mean, not because of how, how well, you know, the system, but we have customers, for example, that's. That that comes from paper. And then when we explain them that there is this a read only user that you could even give a, an audit or a read only user, explain a few things and they can find a way through the system.

The, they literally tell us, are you crazy? We're not going to give access to all our quality data, to some auditor. We're going to show them only what they want, what they're asking. So, so they don't find any gaps if they, if they don't have to write. So what we've seen more and more. That customers feel perfectly comfortable to to show the data directly within the, within the EMS.

Because everything is, everything is linked. Everything is in check, everything is compliant. And then you can see again, audit as a, as a tool to. To somebody else come in and find some gaps, which are just opportunities for improvement again. Right? That's that's a YC, our audits, our customer. t's nothing I'm into height, as much as possible, and only show them the documents that they're asking so that they don't find anything.

It's really like, oh, okay. You want to do an audit? Great. We think we're, we're doing great. But if you find some gaps great. So we don't have to find them ourselves. So here, let me show you right. And go into the QMS, navigate everything that they want to. And, and, and see what their, what their report is like.


Marloes Seesing:

So, so I would not, I still would like us to be in control and navigating through it.

So some documents needs some explanation and, and to see how we approach to certain activities like temperature mapping and but definitely. One, we feel, I can say we feel totally comfortable to put it on a huge screen in front of all participants from the customers and go through the system to see.

And before that it was definitely not the case. Okay.


Filip Heitbrink:

Okay. Oh, I think we really have to wrap up we're a few minutes overtime. I would like to thank everybody, for being here. I would like to thank my loose, for joining this and having this very interesting presentation and conversation.

And with that yeah, see you in in maybe the next webinar or.


Marloes Seesing:

Thank you everyone.


Filip Heitbrink:

Want to continue the conversation. We're looking forward to your comments and feedback on our social media channels. We'll also let you know when the next episode of science boosters drops through these networks. If you're listening to this on a podcast player, don't forget to follow us. If you know someone else in the industry who would find this episode interesting.

Why not share it with them or with your network? A big shout out to everyone on the Scilife team who made this episode possible. Thanks for tuning in, and then looking forward to uncovering more life science knowledge with you soon.

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