My Job: Board member, Intelleflex

"My Job" is an occasional item that describes a pharmaceutical manufacturing position from the first-person perspective of someone newly appointed to the job. The intent is to provide over time a picture of pharma ops career opportunities, in hopes that the picture will be useful in career planning. - George Miller

Intelleflex is a provider of radio frequency identification solutions for cold chain management, asset tracking, manufacturing control, supply chain automation and other ID-based applications. The Santa Clara-based company recently announced the appointment of Julie England (pictured) to its board of directors. England is a veteran executive of Texas Instruments, at which she and the company played major roles in developing RF technology for asset identification.

FiercePharma Manufacturing: What do you love about RFID technology?

England: Wireless solutions make our lives easier. Consider the benefits of wireless smart phone technology for human interaction and productivity. I have the same foundational belief about the wireless interface of RFID-enabled solutions benefiting business processes and problems.

Second, the combination of RFID and sensors looks to be an inflection point for adoption because of the added value of the sensor data to the customer.

How will your Texas Instruments' experience inform your work on the Intelleflex Board?

There are at least three ways:

  • Through understanding the supply chain, including TI as a supplier to Intelleflex
  • Deep general management experience, including driving for profitability and growth in the RFID solutions market and building a team to deliver results
  • Leveraging my contacts to the benefit of Intelleflex's business growth

What's your vision for RFID technology in the pharma industry? How long will it take to achieve?

My vision involves greater visibility into the pharmaceutical cold chain, with supply chain trading partners reading product data wirelessly and in real time. Trading partners verify product integrity by ensuring that temperature-handling requirements have been met during transport, without having to open the shipping container.

Today's limited cold chain visibility leads to a lack of confidence in product integrity, potential patient safety issues, shrink, inefficiency and customer dissatisfaction.

Intelleflex now provides a standards-based temperature sensor solution that uses battery-assisted passive RFID technology, which we consider midway between active and passive RFID systems and midway between them in price point. The solution collects data when it's placed with the product, buried in gel and ice packs in sealed shipping containers. Supply chain partners can read the data without opening the container! This technology makes my vision real and immediate.

What will be different about Intelleflex after you've been on the board for a year?

Today, I am the only outside director. Leveraging my business leadership experience coupled with my general management, operations and strategy background can be an asset to CEO Peter Mehring as he leads the company. I hope to gain new satisfied customers.

What's the most difficult-to-get data/information that you need to do your work on the board?

We are always striving to get more information about customers, their work flow and processes, and what major problems, if solved, would make them more competitive. Better insight into our customer's needs and business operations allows us to develop better products.

For people who aspire to a board position like yours, what's the top thing they need to know but are probably unaware of?

To be considered for a board, your potential for adding value to the business must be apparent to the existing board members. Express how you can bring value to the business, its customer and its shareholders. 

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