Interview with Vighnesh Balan, Director, Global Supply Chain, Takeda

Update : 24th April, 2024

In an exclusive interview with Vighnesh Balan, Director of Global Supply Chain at Takeda, we delve into the transformative journey of one of the world's leading biopharmaceutical companies. With a focus on leveraging digital technologies to fortify supply chain resilience and drive innovation, Vignesh sheds light on Takeda's strategic initiatives and the pivotal role of digitalization in shaping the future of pharmaceutical supply chains.

The interview was carried out in collaboration with LogiPharma Asia Summit 2024 (June 19 - 20, 2024 Equarius Hotel, Singapore).

1. Can you provide an overview of Takeda's supply chain transformation journey and how digital technologies have played a pivotal role in enhancing resilience, innovation, and agility within the organization's global manufacturing and supply network?

Digital technologies have played a crucial role in enhancing resilience, innovation, and agility within our supply chain at Takeda. The technologies we have implemented, and are working on provide better visibility into the supply chain, enable data analytics and predictive modeling for improved decision-making, facilitate collaboration and information sharing, and process automation.

The technologies we implement encompass a range of integrated solutions ranging from systems driven advanced analytics (i.e. Multi Echelon Inventory Optimization) automation technologies (i.e. RPA's for supply chain transactional processes) to collaboration and information sharing tools (i.e one stop shop user friendly dashboard, ensuring easy access to our data lake).

By leveraging these digital tools, we can proactively address issues, optimize inventory, reduce waste, and ensure the availability of critical medicines. Overall, digital technologies have transformed the pharmaceutical supply chain, making it more efficient, responsive, and resilient.

2. How does Takeda measure the success and effectiveness of its supply chain transformation initiatives enabled by digital technologies? Are there any key performance indicators (KPIs) or metrics that you specifically track?

In Takeda's Supply Chain, we measure the success and effectiveness of its supply chain transformation initiatives enabled by digital technologies through various key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics. Some of the metrics we commonly track and manage performance on are, Customer Service Levels, Total Throughput Time, Days of Inventory Outstanding (DIO) while also focusing on productivity (i.e. Value Creation).

3. As Takeda continues its journey of innovation in supply chain management, how do you foresee the role of emerging technologies evolving in the near future, and what opportunities or challenges do you anticipate in leveraging these technologies for further improvements?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML): AI and ML will continue to advance and become more sophisticated in their ability to analyze vast amounts of data, identify patterns, and make predictions. This will enable more accurate demand forecasting, optimized inventory management, and enhanced decision-making.

Data analytics will become even more crucial in supply chain management, enabling our organization to gain actionable insights, optimize processes, and make data-driven decisions. Predictive analytics will help anticipate demand, identify risks, and optimize inventory levels. However, we anticipate challenges may arise in terms of data quality, and the need to drive digital fluency within our workforce professionals to effectively leverage these technologies. Hence we are currently working on these areas and implementing multiple initiatives proactively to tackle these challenges & to keep pace with these emerging technologies.


4. In your opinion, what are the key organizational and cultural factors that have enabled Takeda to successfully adopt and integrate digital technologies into its supply chain operations?

In Takeda, through our Supply chain digital transformation journey, we believe that the successful adoption of digital technologies requires collaboration and cross-functional teams within the organization. Breaking down silos and fostering collaboration between different departments, such as IT, supply chain, operating and business units, enables a holistic approach to digital transformation.

This collaboration ensures that the implementation of digital technologies aligns with the overall business objectives and addresses the needs of various stakeholders. Also change management plays a crucial role in the successful adoption of digital technologies.

We prioritize change management efforts, including communication, training, and employee engagement, and by doing this diligently, we are likely to overcome resistance and drive adoption. Engaging employees in the digital transformation journey, providing them with the necessary skills and support, and creating a culture of continuous learning and innovation are key factors in a successful transformation.

5. How does Takeda encourage a culture of innovation and continuous improvement within its supply chain teams?

We foster and promote innovation and continuous improvement with our supply chain teams through cross-functional collaboration, technology adoption, and a continuous learning culture. Collaboration between different the cross functions enhances efficiency, while technology and automation streamline processes. Training and development opportunities fosters a learning culture & organization, improving skills in areas like lean management and supply chain optimization. These strategies create an environment that encourages improvement, leading to enhanced operational efficiency and ultimately help us better serve our patients with a robust, resilient, effective and efficient supply chain.

6. What are 2 key things you find most valuable being a part of LogiPharma Asia 2024?

Logipharma Asia is a great event to gain insights and share knowledge with counterparts in the pharmaceutical supply chain industry , gain knowledge about emerging technologies, industry best practices, and strategies for optimizing supply chain operations. This helps me stay informed, make informed decisions, and drive improvements within my organization.. It is also a great place to network with like minded professionals in the industry, ultimately fostering professional growth and expanding business networks.

About Vighnesh Balan

Director, Global Supply Chain, Takeda

Vighnesh is a Director and leads the Global Supply Chain Business Excellence Team at Takeda. His role involves overseeing the transformation and continuous improvement of the enterprise supply chain. Currently based in Zurich, Switzerland, Vighnesh has a background in Chemical Engineering from the University of New South Wales and holds an Executive MBA from the ESSEC business school. With nearly 20 years of experience in the Biopharma industry and working in various countries, he has held positions of increasing responsibility in R&D, Quality, Manufacturing, Commercial Operations, and Business Excellence. Vighnesh is known for his strong entrepreneurial spirit, drive for continuous improvement, and commitment to operational excellence.

About Takeda

Takeda is focused on creating better health for people and a brighter future for the world. We aim to discover and deliver life-transforming treatments in our core therapeutic and business areas, including gastrointestinal and inflammation, rare diseases, plasma-derived therapies, oncology, neuroscience, and vaccines. Together with our partners, we aim to improve the patient experience and advance a new frontier of treatment options through our dynamic and diverse pipeline. As a leading values-based, R&D-driven biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Japan, we are guided by our commitment to patients, our people and the planet. Our employees in approximately 80 countries and regions are driven by our purpose and are grounded in the values that have defined us for more than two centuries. For more information, visit

About LogiPharma Asia

LogiPharma Asia, the world's top summit for life science supply chain leaders will take place from June 19-20, 2024, at the Equarius Hotel in Sentosa, Singapore.

This distinguished summit is uniquely positioned for global decision-makers and Asia-based supply chain leaders from world-leading pharmaceutical and life science businesses to come together to discuss winning strategies and solutions to key global challenges.

Primed to assemble over 200+ Life Science Supply Chain Leaders from both regional and international brands, the summit will encompass multiple verticals, spanning from pharmaceuticals, biotech, life sciences, and the Healthcare sector to ensure an unbiased and comprehensive view on the future of the function.

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