How BD Creates Business Continuity in a Remote Environment

A leading medical device manufacturer, BD employs a workforce of 70,000 across 100+ locations globally. In the wake of COVID-19, the organization, like so many others, was compelled to go remote—and needed a compliant way to get documents executed, while keeping productivity high. 

Here are some steps they took to achieve success. 

1. Electronic signature adoption 

Pre-pandemic, BD had begun using an e-signature solution to streamline the execution of non-compliant documents, such as sales contracts. They wanted to expand their e-signature system, but other business initiatives kept getting in the way. “Like most companies, we had many other priorities. So, before the COVID-19 pandemic, this project kept getting pushed back,” says Dewy Phan, BD’s director of corporate quality. 

For BD, printing and signing sensitive documents at home wasn’t an option, given the highly regulated environment. “Employees would have to send contracts to their personal email to print at home. For security reasons, we can’t do that,” says Phang. 

It would also be months before BD could get corporate computers to all employees—delaying support for a secure at-home work environment. Shutting down for a few months and adopting new processes wasn’t in the cards, of course. “We had an extremely strong business case for using a solution like Docusign,” says Phang, adding, “The pandemic was bad in a lot of obvious ways, but it also forced us to automate.” 

2. End-to-end automation 

Adding new e-signature use cases to the agreement management process was just one segment of the road ahead for BD. To fully optimize business continuity, they needed a cross-functional solution that could inspire organization-wide process improvement. “We already had an e-signature solution for paperless contracts built into our SAP,” Phan explains. “So, we needed automation for the total product lifecycle—from research and development to supply-chain management and post-market surveillance.” 

BD supports complex agreement workflows with internal and external vendors. For instance, manufactured products require FDA validation before heading to market, which demands strict oversight and formal documentation. In the office, this was time-consuming—but it was manageable. Working remotely, the process just fell apart. 

To provide an efficient, customizable and contactless solution to remote workflow management in a highly regulated industry, BD knew they would need to lean on a new technological solution. “We got quick approval from upper management,” says Phan. “Now, we have a cross-functional solution in place that saves time and cuts costs across the board.”

3. High-speed implementation 

For BD, the need for compliance raised the stakes. Many of the quick fixes that were available to organizations in other industries wouldn’t provide the level of security and traceability required here. 

“We had to do this quickly to support our growing remote workforce,” says Phan. “With Docusign, we were able to implement a completely new lifecycle management solution with validation in less than a month. We started shopping near the middle of March 2020 and were fully operational by the end of April.”

While most organizations were still trying to figure out how to deal with an unfamiliar business environment, BD was already settled into the new normal. “Not only did we save time and boost employee productivity, but we also helped the environment by eliminating the paper waste that is part of legacy, manual processes,” explains Phan. 

At Docusign, innovation and compliance go hand in hand 

The Docusign Agreement Cloud for life sciences organizations helps digitally transform the way you do business, from drug and device discovery and development through clinical trials to manufacturing and commercialization. Given the importance of agreements in the life sciences business, organizations that move quickly to modernize can realize substantial benefits in increased employee productivity, better patient experiences throughout clinical trials, strengthened healthcare provider relationships, and faster time to market for new treatments.

Learn more about the Docusign Agreement Cloud for Life Sciences or watch our webinar, Compliantly Digitize Your Global Operations and Quality Process with a Remote Workforce.