‘Pfizer is a company that truly believes in its message and value. Each of us takes pride in coming to work every day, knowing what we’re doing for mankind,’ says John Mancuso, Vice President, Global Logistics and Supply, Pfizer Global Supply.

In addition to its biopharmaceutical business, Pfizer’s Consumer Healthcare, Animal Health and Nutritionals divisions make it one of the biggest players in the industry, with US$67.8 billion in global sales in 2010. The drug-maker strives to set the standard for quality, safety and value in the medicines it discovers and manufactures for people and animals around the world. It also collaborates with other biopharmaceutical companies, healthcare providers, and governments to expand access to reliable, affordable healthcare worldwide.

In his role at Pfizer, John can imagine no more challenging or exciting an opportunity than leading one of the largest and most complex logistics and supply operations in an industry delivering so much benefit. He stresses that he’s fortunate to work with a global team of highly competent, innovative and engaged colleagues who are dedicated to ensuring delivery chain excellence. John views his task as guiding and enabling his organization to implement the well planned, secure and compliant supply and delivery mechanisms enabling Pfizer to reach patients worldwide. ‘If you think about our business profile – whether we’re talking pharmaceutical, animal health, or consumer products that we source from our internal network or externally – all roads lead through logistics and supply,’ he says.


John and his team manage some 30,000 to 35,000 different SKUs provided by a network of over 80 internal manufacturing sites and more than 300 external suppliers. Those products transit over 4,000 international trade lanes to more than 110 markets around the world. Once in a given market, products are then delivered to thousands of customers, including wholesalers, distributors, hospitals, physicians, patients, veterinarians, retailers, and livestock farmers. To be able to provide the vision and guidance for that type of organization is what makes his role so rewarding.

John views the role of the supply chain as a major enabler of Pfizer’s mission and its commercial, trade and partnership strategies. He believes that a vibrant and responsive supply chain is both a competitive advantage to Pfizer and a major factor in achieving the organization’s goal of improving health and well-being. ‘Every day, we work across developed and emerging markets to advance wellness, prevention, treatments and cures that challenge the most feared diseases of our time,’ he says. John and his team are building a delivery chain characterized by holistic management of supply chain processes in a well-planned, high performing, compliant, secure and cost appropriate manner.

This is dependent upon an effective network of both internal and external manufacturing sites and their external logistics partners throughout the delivery chain. ‘We believe the patient values Pfizer being an organization that ensures the safety, security and efficacy of our products,’ he emphasizes. Pfizer products possess myriad characteristics requiring specific standards of care, around control preparation, transportation and storage. These include cold chain and controlled substance. Having the right partner profile is integral to the handling and delivery of its product within the agreed service levels, speed and customer reach profiles that Pfizer requires to service established or emerging market customers.


Pointing to the global market shifts underway, John confirms that in terms of pure revenue, the established markets – the US, Europe, Japan, and Australia – remain extremely important for Pfizer. From the revenue growth perspective, however, Pfizer, like many other companies, is looking toward emerging markets, including the so-called BRIC – Brazil, Russia, India and China markets. ‘These countries provide many opportunities to continue to enhance our supply chain capabilities while ensuring product integrity and patient safety,’ he explains.

Of course, each one of those markets calls for a different profile of delivery and support, because regulations and infrastructure are different in each. Whether in established or emerging markets, John focuses on aligning and managing the entire delivery process.

To this end, his team is implementing a market transformation strategy to bring orchestration of local market supply planning and distribution activities around the world under the global supply chain so that they can focus not only on the manufacture and delivery of goods to market, but also on the ‘last mile’ delivery to the first paying customer. ‘In doing so, we are able to leverage global expertise, processes and talent, in effect putting boots on the ground in every market,’ says John.

From an operations perspective, John considers moving data to be equally important as moving product. His organization is in the process of implementing a global control tower structure for transportation operations, data management, and data analytics. His team is implementing this in a provider-agnostic, cloud-based infrastructure, so that they can easily move from one component of the delivery chain to another without major interruption to service levels. The ability to capture and analyze the data globally it is key for John. It enables his team to track Pfizer’s resource usage and other important trends and to apply this insight to tailor logistics and supply strategies.

John sees the technology Pfizer employs as vital to its ability to service its customers. One of the areas of transformation in the supply chain John is working on is enabling direct-to-customer distribution trade strategies in selected local markets. He points to Pfizer’s direct-to-market strategy in Australia as an example: ‘DHL has been instrumental in enabling that particular strategy, which I think speaks to the kind of global partnerships we’re developing,’ he says. The integrity of the supply chain and security of the product, including the fight against counterfeit medicines, are vital to Pfizer, and the company has marshaled significant resources to this end. Counterfeits are produced without any standards or oversight and may contain toxins, inappropriate active ingredients, no active ingredients, or incorrect dosages of active ingredients, he points out.

As part of its secure and compliant importer effort, Pfizer is promoting legislation in the US recognizing companies with strong compliance profiles and facilitating cross border movement from a customs and regulatory perspective. ‘DHL is a partner with us in supporting this effort,’ adds John.

Looking ahead, the supply chain challenges of tomorrow are going to require even more adaptive and innovative approaches to reaching new and existing customer constituencies. With downward pressure on prices, increased reach and service requirements, patent expirations, and planned launches of new and innovative therapies, some with the potential to be tailored on a patient-specific basis, Pfizer will need a supply chain that is even more predictive, responsive, cost effective, secure and compliant in order to enable rapid border transit, safeguard product quality and availability and reduced working capital investment.

This is why Pfizer is undertaking a number of scenario plans and looking over the horizon to position itself to achieve its goals in concert with the commercial and trade strategies established for its business profile.


Under stringent conditions for strategic partnerships Pfizer seeks partners who can support and enable its strategies on a global, regional and local basis. The company seeks to leverage its partners’ global capabilities as well as their local presence and knowledge as it continues to expand its customer reach. John points out that such partnerships are especially important in markets in which his company does not have significant operational assets and organizations or where it is seeking to increase reach into new customer segments and locations.

‘We look to partners like DHL who are already operating in those markets to help guide us; we want to benefit from their experience in those locations.’ Crucially, Pfizer’s partners must demonstrate that they are compliant and innovative organizations and that they can be responsive in a service and cost profile – including freight forwarding, warehousing, cold chain, and information management. ‘Considering all that, I would say that the relationship with DHL has grown,’ says John. ‘DHL, as an organization, and its people, as individuals, have clearly demonstrated strong capabilities and commitment at the global and local levels. And, equally important, DHL is willing to work with us to develop solutions in areas where we are expanding into uncharted waters.’

John refers back to the Australian direct-to-market implementation, where DHL worked closely with Pfizer on the design and implementation of its approach. ‘DHL was there as we needed to effect dynamic market change in reacting to shifting market conditions. They provided a very strong support profile, and one we can leverage on a global, regional and local basis.’ Pfizer continues on its mission to build one of the strongest, most highly developed and innovative supply chains in the industry.

What John and his team have achieved over the last few years is an enormous asset to his company, enabling Pfizer to deliver its healthcare proposition to patients around the world in a safe, compliant and dependable manner.


"I’m highly focused and achievement oriented. I am a person who looks to honesty and integrity as absolutes. I enjoy the relationships and interactions I have with so many people around the world. My global experiences with Pfizer have helped me grow, both personally and professionally, and I really appreciate this. Outside of the office, I enjoy golf, even the version I play, I dabble in photography and am a voracious reader. Most of all, however, I enjoy being with my family."