Sanofi Grows to Meet Changing Consumer Healthcare Needs

Read time: 9 mins
Sanofi Grows to Meet Changing Consumer Healthcare Needs

"Given the pace at which everything is changing around us, we must be prepared to adapt to the fast and ever-evolving environment. In our journey at Sanofi Consumer Healthcare (Sanofi CHC) to build the best FMCH [fast-moving consumer healthcare] — in and for the world, Coupa has been a very reliable and resourceful partner."

Stanislas Camart, Chief Accounting Officer and Head, Sanofi CHC Global Business Services

Healthcare companies that want to ensure the health of their customers and the longevity of their business have had to make big shifts in their business models in the last few years. The rise of fast-moving consumer healthcare (FMCH) is an important development that healthcare companies can’t ignore. FMCH follows the model of fast-moving consumer goods, or consumer packaged goods, to make products easily accessible to consumers that can improve their health and well-being.

Sanofi, an innovative global healthcare company, chose Coupa to support this branch of their business to succeed as they expanded to this part of consumer healthcare.

Consumer Healthcare (CHC) at Sanofi is centered on the guiding principle that our health is in our hands. Sanofi CHC empowers people to champion better self-care for themselves, their communities, and the planet.

As the Sanofi CHC team began to work towards their vision to become the best fast-moving consumer healthcare in — and for — the world, they knew they needed to build their global business solutions on digital source-to-pay (S2P) best practices with collaboration across finance, procurement, and digital transformation teams. With executive support and resources, Sanofi CHC updated and implemented new digital solutions and streamlined the business to drive efficiencies.

"We needed to have a planned approach for FMCH considering the tempo of the business and the landscape are different. FMCH is a fast-growing and agile business, so the intent was to build a process and develop a solution to be fast and flexible."

Anna Levonyan, Head of Source2Value, Sanofi CHC Global Business Services

Implementing a digital and business transformation — at the same time

"The critical challenges for us were simultaneous digital transformation and business transformation — including SAP S/4 HANA deployment and Coupa deployment while establishing Sanofi CHC as a legal entity."

Anna Levonyan

The Sanofi CHC team inherited multiple solutions that didn’t work well together and weren’t optimized to deliver maximum value to the business. The pre-existing solutions were for specific challenges at specific points in time, also called point solutions. This meant in practice the solutions weren’t standardized and were hard to coordinate. On top of these already non-standard processes, each of the 16 countries where Sanofi CHC operates had its own localized processes. This meant the business unit had a limited view of industry benchmarks.

"We have to be a lot quicker and agile to service our business users and save enough time to give back to our patients and customers."

Karan R. Bhatia, Global Head of Source2Value Solutions and Tactical Sourcing Services,
Sanofi CHC Global Business Services

The challenges were urgent: the project’s initial design and implementation phases happened during the peak of COVID while employees were working remotely. New cross-functional teams were formed across the globe and worked together virtually. The transformation helped the team build a strong foundation that the users liked, which made them more efficient and gave them more time to focus on the company’s mission of our health being in our hands.

Scaling and standardizing business processes

The Sanofi CHC team wanted to harmonize business processes across all entities and ensure global governance as fast as possible. They also wanted a simpler technical architecture that would help them scale quickly and stay current.

"While we implemented the Coupa solution (sourcing, contracting, supplier onboarding, procurement, and invoicing modules), we realized it was complex due to the high level of entanglement with our SAP Finance back-office. Having to build more than 30 interfaces to cover all processes, and cope with the complex tax regulations from the different countries, including the increasing number of governmental portals to be used in many countries for invoicing, our team at Sanofi CHC worked closely with Coupa and the integration partner to leverage all Coupa functionalities in the best ways possible. Additionally, a Coupa representative also worked closely with the digital team to tackle all topics and solve difficulties, resulting in our success of rolling out the solutions for 17 countries."

Valerie Barbey, Digital Program Manager, Sanofi

Coupa’s end-to-end platform gave them the real-time Insights and the agility required to standardize at least 90% of their business process, allowing for 10% of processes to flex for local legal requirements. Every country had its own journey, with separate localization, fit gaps and planning sessions, supplier enablement, and individualized training and change management in multiple languages.

"Every time we said can we substantially reduce the number of clicks, say from 10 to two clicks, we weren’t just challenging the process from a business perspective, but also from an IT perspective of what’s possible in a new-age solution vs. a legacy solution. The collaboration across teams, especially digital, was immense."

Karan R. Bhatia

The core team worked with a steering committee, project governance teams, local champions across critical entities, and the implementation team at Coupa.

"We made the important decision to configure and not to customize. We made sure not to build something too layered to ensure we can sync with every Coupa release because Coupa gives us constant updates which help us stay current with the rest of the world."

Karan R. Bhatia

Sanofi actively used Coupa’s Community Insights and industry benchmarks to understand how their business performance ranked among leaders.

"I really like Community Insights — it not only shows us how we benchmark compared to everyone in the Coupa community, other healthcare companies, and other FMCGs [fast-moving consumer goods], but also helps us understand where we are on our journey and which industry is really leading in what practice."

Karan R. Bhatia

"It’s helpful to know best-in-class rates for paying on time, the number of electronic POs, and first-time match rates. These statistics help us understand the landscape when we present to our leadership teams. It’s also easy for us to challenge our teams in operations when we show them what others are doing."

Anna Levonyan

What it takes to become the best fast-moving consumer healthcare business

The Sanofi CHC team designed their global Coupa Source-to-Pay end-to-end platform leveraging Coupa Sourcing, Supplier Information Management, Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM), Procurement, Invoicing, Analytics, and Community Insights for critical business entities.

"The biggest benefits were the one source of truth, end-to-end visibility, and better master data control across all entities, rather than having diverse solutions and paper. And of course, the real proof of concept was when the users returned to say this is easy and intuitive."

Karan R. Bhatia

The team successfully established global governance while simplifying digital touchpoints and creating lean practices.

They focused on core success metrics:

  • Business stability
  • Business continuity
  • A positive user experience while allowing for customization and ease of access for all users

With the implementation of Coupa’s end-to-end Contract Lifecycle Management, they increased control, and collaboration and enabled easier negotiations, approvals, and signatures. They are deploying cXML invoicing for high-volume suppliers and utilize the Coupa Supplier Portal in multiple countries.

This helped them achieve:

  • A 93% first-time match rate, freeing up time for the business and increasing paid on-time rates
  • 70% pre-approved PO-backed spend, lessening the burden of operations, and enabling an improvement of PO cycle time
  • The elimination of paper POs
  • A first implementation in just 9 months. In less than 18 months they had already rolled it out to over 6,000 users across 20 entities in 17 countries.

"We have significantly improved the user experience since Coupa is user-friendly as opposed to using several different tools — resulting in better process transparency. The benefits from process changes are huge. We have created a great foundation, and now we have multiple opportunities to evolve, improve, and upgrade, with our focus now being on exploring AI plug-ins to further simplify with Coupa."

Karan R. Bhatia

The road ahead for Sanofi CHC — made smoother with a reliable partner

"Change management and governance are the core topics for such a significant project. It must be anticipated and well managed because it impacts the impression of the people at go-live and how they will be supported. For us it’s a journey, an evolution."

Anna Levonyan

Consumer Healthcare Global Business Services are developing standard KPIs as a new stand-alone business. The design of their end-to-end S2P platform will continue to evolve and grow. They’ve already automated several steps in the supplier onboarding process, and still have the opportunity to enhance the process, utilize hosted catalogs and increase their usage of the Coupa Supplier Portal by suppliers. They considered deploying Coupa’s Risk Management solution as an alternate is being explored for procurement risk management. Subsequently, cXML invoicing is also evolving strongly. Coupa is also under consideration to be deployed to the 25 remaining CHC entities, ensuring standardization across all countries.

"As a differentiator in the industry, the expertise, alongside the ability and agility to roll out a fast, robust solution, and the insights that we have been mining to move towards a best-in-class experience for our vendors and stakeholders, is a result of the collaborative effort that we greatly appreciate."

Stanislas Camart

Hear from more Coupa Customers.

Check Out More Customer Stories

Stanislas Camart Profile Picture

Stanislas Camart
Chief Accounting Officer and Head, Sanofi CHC Global Business Services

Anna Levonyan Profile Picture

Anna Levonyan
Head of Source2Value, Sanofi CHC Global Business Services

Karan Bhatia Profile Picture

Karan R. Bhatia
Global Head of Source2Value Solutions and Tactical Sourcing Services, Sanofi CHC Global Business Services

Valerie Barbey Profile Picture

Valerie Barbey
Digital Program Manager, Sanofi