AstraZeneca: Scaling Simplification
How can a huge global company simplify its operations? AstraZeneca, a 60,000-employee pharmaceutical giant, faced a “patent cliff” starting around 2012, and saw revenue and income fall sharply for several years running. CEO Pascal Soriot outlined several major goals for the company, including achieving scientific leadership and renewed growth, and making the company a great place to work. He suspected that complexity was holding AstraZeneca back. But how could he encourage scientists, the drug manufacturing operation, and even sales reps around the world to simplify the way they worked, without creating a new bureaucracy tasked with making the company less complex? This case traces the decision to form a small Simplification Center of Excellence and how the small team that ran it sought to encourage simplification throughout the enterprise in 2016 and 2017.
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