Serialization: Not Just Compliance, But Competitive Advantage

Source: Pharmaceutical Online
serialization compliance team horizon interview

On day three of Interphex, Todd and Todd interviewed Aiden Corcoran, CEO of Team Horizon, about some of the lessons Team Horizon has learned in serialization and packaging and the ways the company applies these lessons to benefit its customers.  

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Interview Transcription:

Todd S:            Good afternoon, this is Todd and Todd live from New York Life Science Connect radio on location direct from INTERPHEX day three. Todd, we have an exciting guest up next. But I’m just blown away by the quality of personality and company that we are interacting with here. I’m really optimistic about the future of this industry.

Todd Y:            Yeah, I am too for exactly the same kind of reason that a lot of times you get to the tail end of the show, the crowd starts to, you know, dissipating, shall we say. Just look at the crowd around, though.

Todd S:            Well, we have, our next guest has a fan club.

Todd Y:            Oh, is that what it is?

Todd S:            Groupies and all that so I…

Todd Y:            I didn’t realize he’s brought the groupies.

Todd S:            He’s famous, and he’s going to make us famous. Say hello to Aiden Corcoran, and he’s the CEO of Team Horizon. Aiden, welcome to the show.

 Aiden:             How are you guys?

Todd S:            We are doing great.

Todd Y:            Great, we are doing great.

Aiden:              Thanks for having me.

Todd S:            Oh, it’s our pleasure, thanks for joining us. So, before we get into a conversation around Team Horizon, take a few seconds, tell us a little about you and your background.

Aiden:              Well, I guess I’m the result of my great grandfather who was an American immigrant to Ireland. So I think we’re the only [0:00:58] [Inaudible] on Saint Patrick’s week; it’s great to be, yeah, to be over here to see how the Irish community celebrate it in the U.S. When we celebrate, there’s only one of us, two of us we march on July 4th and we have a full American, full American celebration of American Irish immigration. I love that.

Todd:               I was taking a class up, putting in art school several years ago and I was there over July 4th. It was weird because I was the only guy celebrating it and they weren’t too happy about it.

Todd:               Oh, but tell us about Team Horizon.

Aiden:              We go ten thousand feet up, when I get them…

Todd:               What do you do, how do you serve your market?

Aiden:              Where I came from, I’m the result really of American multinational investment in Ireland, but my background is Hewlett-Packard. Living up there in Oregon, I was working with the IRB team out there.

                        With the MBI team I used to do process development, designing their equipment that we could, that Hewlett-Packard could bring out to the new generation, etc. From there I went to medical devices, then I was there working life science jobs in Ireland.

                        I’ve worked in the United States and then Ireland and then moved into a pharm and bio pharm maybe five to six years ago. Well, about four years ago, we found an opportunity; we felt that it was a good opportunity to provide real manufacturing specialty.

                        So this is, you know, people that are on the ground know how to do things. There was a lot of consultancy, a lot of advice with people saying, “Oh yeah, buy this, buy that.” But you know, sometimes what may be expected is what might not be what’s needed.

                        And so what four of us — four years ago the four of us came together and formed a company. We grew that company now from four to 32 people. We do work right through Ireland, the U.K., northern Europe — when I Say Northern, the last time I said northern, I was asked do you mean Scandinavia?

                        Actually not Scandinavia; I mean Denmark, Germany, France, and we’re just starting out in Milan right now. We are here in the United States. Really, what we provide is expertise in fill-finish and primary, secondary, tertiary packaging logistics and really kind of start with just how to put it all together.

                        What should you, what should you do? What kind of treatment should you use? Why should you go to here? Who should you go to? Last night, I was out to dinner; I was in a Russian bar last night and with some Germans, some French people, some Italians, and some Americans, and I said, “What an international group.”

                        And, of course, the Russians. And what an international group it was, but remember, we’re all collaborating now and Irish people are great middle guys. We’re good at getting down with people who bring in the money and find the people who love it, to buy the money and, really, that’s really what our company is.

                        So out of my 42 people, 35 of them would be senior people, senior guys and girls that have done nearly 50, 20 years of experience on the ground, on the floor. They have all the contacts right across Europe, right across into Asia and into the United States.

                        And so when the client comes to us, whether they be French, Italian, American, what we do is we point them in the right direction. We bring the team together; we show them where they should go. We have their backs. I mean we work out a way [0:03:50] [Inaudible]. And these guys, they’re all, they’re fun to work with, they're real Texans.

                        So, like I said when we first got the job, “Welcome guys, this is your first rodeo and we got that part even with them. I mean, yeah, do we care about fees? Yeah, we’ve got to pay the bills.

                        But really, what we really love is, we love the interaction first with Americans, French, and Italians. And so really, what Team Horizon is, we’re really passionate about engineering. At the bottom of our sign is engineering, teamwork, and passion, and that’s really what we’re about. We are about delivering full services.

                        I get the bag for bucks for the clients on the ground. And when relations are happy and we’re all fun and things are working out, of course you’re going to get paid after that. So that’s Team Horizon in the backdrop. So…

Todd S:            I think they need a little enthusiasm.

Todd Y:            Yeah. I know.

Todd S:            They’ve got a lot of it, come on. I want to go at it because for many years and to a great extent still there’s folks just saying, “Oh I have this bit of expertise and that’s my competitive advantage, and that sets me different, and I’m going to guard that like the family jewels, and nobody’s going to get at it.” Just your whole attitude is, I’m going to take everything in my brain and I’m going to give it away, and then paying the bills kind of comes later.

Aiden:              Yeah, you’ve got to pay the bills I mean but, you know, at the end of the day today’s expertise might not be needed tomorrow. And you know, so, I mean what people buy, people buy relationships, trust, integrity, honesty.

                        And right now we’re doing safety manufacturing lines and serialization track and trace. It’s a big bold thing and right across the globe. We’re doing it from, beginning with South Korean requirements, we’re going in to Chinese, Japanese, the Brazilian, and the United States, and if the Europeans can ever get together and figure out what they want to do, we can do that as well.

                        But as a company, we pick areas and we pick grounds that we feel we can bring the best knowledge.

                        There’s no use of me coming here, saying yeah we do engineering; so what, so does everybody else. So do the big guys, so do the small guys. We’re just pretty damn good at what we do and that’s primarily in the packaging, finish area. Right now, we’re doing safety manufacturing lines as I said in the serialization field.

                        We’re doing, developing some software to help out with [0:05:58] [Inaudible] documentation, and really what we’re doing is just, obviously we want to get places where we can win on, because it’s a little bit about trying to give them, these people, just a good idea, a good piece of knowledge that, look, we know how to do this.

                        You know, here’s the whole package, there’s the price of it. If you do this, a lot of pain can leave your life. And you can go and not do it. But you know, if you want to come to us and bring us on board, we’ll have a whole lot of fun doing it. But you’ll also get a complete package and it’ll be done and done right.

Todd S:            Well, let’s talk about serialization. A lot of people in this building are experts in serialization; what lessons have you learned, has your team learned that brings true benefit to your customers?

Aiden:              Well we provide a full, it depends on the client. If it’s a big large firm or company and these guys have got teams of engineers, we’re not going to go in there and offer the full term packages.

                        If I was to do that across the, one of our recent clients wanted us to do 30 manufacturing lines, and I’d have to lay $30 million trying to sell it at that. But what we’re bringing is a true operational assessment, a true risk assessment, a true compliance assessment, and plus, we know all the vendors.

                        And right now serialization is a big market, a lot of the vendors, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to sell their product. They’re all coming and saying, “We’re the best, we’re the best, we’re the best.”

                        And of course a lot of clients are saying, “Well who really is the best?” But someone might be the best; there’s a guy in Traunreut in Southern Germany and in Waco, Texas there might be a better person for that.

                        So we assess and then align the fit, and we just tell it straight up about, look this guy is a good dealer, they’ll deliver it for you. And we go in and then make it happen for them.

                        So serialization, the progress here in the States plus the dealer in November was the deal that took the pressure off a little bit, which is good, and allowed those to scale up as well because we got a lot of requirements very quickly. Serialization is coming, and it’s now in the light.

                        So we’ve been selling, also it’ll turn in rather than just being a compliance thing, serialization is going to be a competitive advantage for several companies in years to come. And it’s a compliance thing now but people are going to say, you know, we can source for ourselves, we know where exactly they are coming from. You know, we know exactly where they are at.

                        These are true bona fide products, and what you see is fiber companies actively selling that in a few years. And I guess right now, we see the big firm is moving, but now it’s the lower chain one guy, the middle chain, and these are sometimes our best friends because we’re all the same then.

                        You know, and that’s, serialization, yeah, I mean we came here, we were in Philly for four days; we were looking at setting up a North American headquarters. We’re kind of, we’re going to invest here, do some software development here, bring our own team of 8 to 10 people. So we were blown away by Philly in the first place. So, and I’ve never been there.

Todd S:            My, my home.

Aiden:              And there you go. I mean that’s, everywhere I go I keep getting the thumbs up about Philly. I mean I asked one of the guys, I said, I asked him, “Has anyone ever spotted anything bad about this town?” But then the New Jersey guy came in and said, “Yeah, it’s crap.”

Todd S:            Don’t trust anybody from New Jersey.

Aiden:              We’ll probably go to Philly, and, you know, Boston to check it out tomorrow. After that then we come here, we said we’d just exhibit here. Just test the pulse of the American market, see what the interest was.

                        You know, and while we were blown away, it affects the chilly grade for us. I mean, yesterday, we had a chill at our staff. I mean, we’ve done a lot of these trade shows. Sometimes it’s hard for us to differentiate what we’ve [0:09:17] [inaudible] not only do they want to talk to maybe three Irish guys on Saint Patrick’s week.

                        But they actually, we had a feel of, that there was a big demand for knowledge, of serialization. A big demand for knowledge and packaging and automation, and, you know, I mean, we made another 100 friends, and you know, there you go.

                        So really, all I do — I stopped working four years, all I’m doing is going around making friends, and so it’s…

Todd S:            It’s the way you do business. You know one last point, in terms of your sight collection; we’ll tell you the Red Sox do have a better…

Todd Y:            Oh, geez, don’t give me the Red Sox.

Todd S:            Factor that into your decision.

Aiden:              But you’ve got to remember, right across Europe, right across, there’s always these home town rivalries, you know what I mean. So we know it, we can see it because we’re Irish as well. Don’t worry we look over the fence, go yeah, don’t go over to those guys, and you know we as Irish people, we play up to it.

                        You know, I go to Germany and I do the same things with the guys from [inaudible 0:10:08] and you know the Germans are like, how do you know this? It’s part of the fun, you know. So…

Todd S:            Eagles and Philly, the Phillies do remember that.

Aiden:              Yeah, okay. I’ll remember that.

Todd S:            You just touched on packaging, barely. Do you know anything about that?

Aiden:              Packaging? Yeah, I do.

Todd S:            Yeah.

Aiden:              Yeah, it’s part of it. I mean most of our work, last year we did about $80 million, or €80 million, $100 million of capital investments on behalf of clients. Primarily 90 percent of that was to finish primary, secondary, and tertiary packaging, and so that’s complete turnkey in some places.

                        But then, in others, it was generally about providing solutions and guiding the clients on where to go and putting them in touch with the correct vendors from there and keeping them in order.

                        Given, being their eyes and ears on the ground, having their backs sometimes and sometimes kind of going to the vendor, going well okay, love all the bells and whistles, let’s take away some bells, take away some whistles, this is just simply a piece of kit.

                        We’ll do these guys, you don’t need to sell them the 100 grand piece of kit, a 50K piece of kit with some smart ideas around it is enough. So that’s, that’s really all.

Todd S:            Yeah.

Aiden:              That’s what we’re looking at.

Todd S:            Alright, well we’re unfortunately a bit out of time. A quick piece of advice before we let you go, you need to open up a little bit, be a little more human because that can help your business succeed enormously. Aiden, before we do let you go seriously, how can people get in touch with you and learn more about Team Horizon?

Aiden:              So teamhorizonengineering.com; it’s the longest engineer, it’s the longest URL we could possibly have, but given that the world is running out of these and we have to have a dot com for the United States. So teamhorizonengineering.com is there; our numbers are all there; our contacts are there; also, you’ll see some good videos of me, and it’s fantastic—it’s wonderful watching.

Todd S:            Oh.

Aiden:              Watch it and I leave right in there as well, we go through our services etc. So please send an email, and I’m all available for a chat. I don’t mind, I don’t mind flying out, coming in and shaking the hand. And it will be one of the more entertaining hours of your life, if anything.

Todd S:            Yeah, I want to be in a Russian bar with Germans and French.

Aiden:              And Italians and Americans, yeah, yeah. So I mean that’s where life brings us.

Todd S:            Or even Philadelphia.

Aiden:              Or even Philadelphia.

Todd S:            Alright. Aiden Corcoran, the CEO of Team Horizon; it’s a real pleasure to have you. Thanks for stopping by and joining us.

Aiden:              Thank you very much; it’s been a pleasure as well.

Todd S:            Alright, before I wrap this broadcast on behalf of our guest, Aiden Corcoran, my co-host Todd Youngblood, I’m Todd Schnick, Life Science Connect Radio, live coverage from INTERPHEX. We’ll be right back.