Meet our colleague Estanislao de Ferrater Pagani, a Senior Consultant in KVALITO’s Life Sciences team. We asked him about his move to Switzerland, his expertise, and the impact of his day-to-day activities with his clients.
Please tell me what motivated you to move from Spain to Switzerland to join your client project?
It was not just one thing that made me take that decision. I did not know KVALITO, but I was impressed by the human and professional quality of the employees, the wide range of services they offer their customers , and the customer base itself. In just three weeks, I progressed through three remote interviews, the last one with Magdalena, the owner, and CEO. Then I was invited to Basel to meet the team personally, and I found an extremely warm and familiar environment. And all this happened in March 2020, when COVID just started spreading! So, in the end, joining KVALITO was not a decision but a logical consequence.
What is your subject matter expertise?
I started working in the IT world over 25 years ago. After working for the Spanish Ministry of Economy, Hewlett Packard, and Sun Microsystems, I accepted a new position with Roche. The Pharma and Life Sciences industry is my natural comfort area: Quality Management, CSV, Data Integrity, IT Audits, IT Programs, and Project Management, Process design… in fact, business-critical IT aspects in the end. I also consider myself fortunate, as I efficiently manage “soft skills” that, in my opinion, can be the hardest to build: communication, stakeholders management, people development, IT-business connection, and team management.
What kind of clients do you support, and do you work remotely or a hybrid of on-site and remote?
I am used to working both on-site and remote for many years. Last year, remote work was the standard, and it is not difficult to get things done. Occasionally, it just takes more time. With KVALITO, I have valued getting involved in highly innovative projects that genuinely improve patients’ lives with product quality and product security. Customers include many leading healthcare companies: Novartis, Galapagos, AAA (Advanced Accelerator Applications), IBM, Siemens, Veeva, and Cognizant, to name a few.
Please describe some of your fundamental day-to-day activities and how this improves patient outcomes, product quality, and patient safety?
I have three main types of tasks in a day: the “thinking” ones, the “telling” ones, and the “doing” ones.
“Thinking” has to do with requirements, challenges, and opportunities on the one hand and with investigating, comparing, and deciding on the other. This part constitutes the analytical part, where I use my knowledge and experience, and it also allows me to learn about new things, which I love. This part is the solution proposal and is crucial for having it all clear when you start working to put this idea into reality.
“Telling” has to do with communication, teamwork, meetings, decisions, agreement, negotiation, project construction (short, medium, and long-term), threads and risks, opportunities, expectations…. These are considered “soft tasks” sometimes, but a great idea needs to touch the ground for being implemented, and the personal factor that requires this part will be essential for the last one, the “doing”.
“Doing” part is the last one, when all the ideas and decisions that have been taken, ground in real life. The main challenge is being methodical and precise in dealing with multiple factors and people in this phase and flexible in dealing with multiple factors and people. Tasks and time management, interaction with numerous stakeholders, periodical follow-up meetings, and documentation production are the main time-consuming tasks in this phase. But, in the end, when you can see that the vision you had is transformed into reality… this, for me, is the most rewarding element.
What is particular about Life Science consulting, as opposed to other forms of consulting?
The fact that I can add my little grain of sand for making other people’s lives better. My daughter went through leukaemia when she was just eight years old. So, I consider myself blessed for having the opportunity to contribute to the enormous effort that Life Science companies make when they develop a product, continue its development into a commercial product, apply for and obtain market authorization, and finally deliver it to a patient. This simply makes me happy, incredibly happy.
Are you involved at the strategic decision-making level with your clients, and does it enable you to impact the end-user, the patient, positively?
Quality is a key factor for all Life Science Companies. And IT is a crucial aspect of this industry. At the same time, IT and new areas – AI (Artificial Intelligence), Big Data, IoT (Internet of Things), Algorithms, Machine Learning is, for me, part of the third Industrial Revolution. So, suppose you take these points together and integrate them with the Life Science work. In that case, decisions that I make, and a customer then implements, means that ultimately, I have a direct impact on the company strategy, which is a great responsibility and an honour: a new production line that starts, a big data tool that manages hundreds of products of the company, a provider that is analyzed for delivering a service over ten years… and these strategic decisions, in the end, have an enormous influence on patients, who are the most important stakeholders.
What do you appreciate about the KVALITO working culture?
Here, there is a vast repository of combined knowledge in-house, together with experience and continuous learning, which I enjoy, and which makes our service impeccable. The company colleagues are always supportive, and our customer’s true benefit by getting the experience of many more consultants than may be assigned to a project is substantial. Flexibility and hard work in a fast-paced environment, with clear and not-moving deliverables, is an integral part of KVALITO’s culture and my day-to-day work, which makes me feel good.
Product quality, safety, compliance with regulations, streamlining solutions that can be re-used, and providing the quality required to deliver solutions in Life Science, are guiding principles for KVALITO, which improves patients’ (and their families and friends) quality of life.