Training Top 125 Best Practice: GCS Smart Supplies Training at PPD

When PPD’s Global Clinical Supplies (GSC) department launched a new inventory management system to increase quality, training was required to support the rollout and ongoing use of it.

Quality is paramount to PPD, a leading global contract research organization providing comprehensive, integrated drug development, laboratory, and lifecycle management services. It is so paramount that it is part of two of PPD’s 5 Defining Principles: “We do the right thing” and “We earn our customers’ trust.”

PPD supports quality by hiring and training the right people, by implementing appropriate tools, and by creating effective processes. The Global Clinical Supplies (GSC) department launched a new inventory management system to increase quality by focusing on compliance, reducing deviations, and making the safety recall process faster and more reliable, as well as being more efficient on operational processes. Processes were created to effectively use the inventory management system, and training was required to support the rollout and ongoing use of it. More than 200 employees across the globe were impacted. 

Program Details

The training development and deployment process hinged on several critical success factors. Change management training and support at the leadership level ensured the program was widely communicated from Senior Vice President Susan Atkinson to all users. Highly trained system super-users served as subject matter experts (SMEs) and ambassadors for the system and new processes. SMEs were selected from key global locations, so the majority of end-user training could be conducted face-to-face. They also provided local ongoing support. Job aids were written by SMEs and produced by the Training department to reinforce learning in the moment and on the job. Weekly calls were hosted for three months after the system rollout. Procedures were fine-tuned and updated in response to live implementation issues. 


Annual savings were projected due to fewer deviations associated with manual errors, and time savings associated with reduced traceability information for recalls. Enhanced reporting is expected to reduce the administrative burden for project management, and barcode scanning at the depot will eliminate manual tracking and minimize errors. More importantly, the new system will help PPD bend the cost and time curve of drug development for its clients to deliver life-changing therapies. 

Early results align with expectations. Feedback on the training yielded a Net Promoter Score of 56 percent (substantially better than the 38 percent benchmark), and learners indicated the training was a worthwhile investment of their time (4.67 on a 5-point scale vs. a benchmark of 4.22). 

Most importantly, training helped the overall initiative achieve meaningful business outcomes. Comparing first and second quarter 2017 to Q1 and Q2 2018, quality improved as deviations dropped by 49 percent. Efficiency also improved, including 50 percent time savings on tasks for the logistics coordinator role, and 33 precent time savings on tasks for logistic technicians.

Training magazine is the industry standard for professional development and news for training, human resources and business management professionals in all industries.