Cedric Picaud’s career has been within the life sciences logistics space. It started at the age of 22 when he created his own logistics company to finance his Master’s in Management. Mr. Picaud recounts, “I did a Master’s in Management between 1994-1998. This was a very intense period, as I was managing my own company from Monday to Wednesday, which meant I only had three days to concentrate on one week of work. From Thursday to Saturday, I studied and prepared my Master’s thesis, concentrating on one week of full studies in three days.” Hard work never fails to pay off. Mr. Picaud joined DHL, a global leader in the logistics industry, where he spent approximately 14 years holding several management positions. One of which was leading DHL’s life sciences vertical across 33 countries.
Today, Mr. Picaud is CEO of CRYOPDP, a leading provider of innovative temperature-controlled logistics and supply chain solutions for clinical research and cell and gene therapy markets. “Joining CRYOPDP as a CEO allowed me to lead an entire team to a final destination – to save the lives of our patients. It gave me the opportunity to set up a global business, with top quality and with a full team of experts, people willing to give a bit more to improve our results and reinforce our position in the market,” shares Mr. Picaud. CRYOPDP is an experienced provider serving the Life Sciences and Healthcare industries, supplying tailor-made turnkey global transport solutions for high-value, time-critical and temperature-sensitive shipments. It covers the entire healthcare temperature-controlled supply chain: packaging, pick-pack kit preparation and specialist couriers.
An Essential Partner for Pharma Industry
Globalisation and open economies have helped pharmaceutical companies to constantly move their manufacturing facilities to new and different locations to reduce production costs. Mr. Picaud believes, “The pharmaceutical industry has been evolving in many ways over the past 50 years, and one of the most notable is its globalisation. Innovative drug products are being developed worldwide and are marketed and sold to a much larger proportion of the global population. The clinical trial industry is globalising alongside its big sister pharma, and both sectors need global logistics partners that can serve their growing and evolving demands.” CRYOPDP is well-positioned to meet the Pharma and Biotech industries’ market needs.
“Our biggest challenge is to be at the forefront of customer satisfaction. We need to be able to meet our customers’ pace and to be able to satisfy their needs regarding new solutions, new services, and new protocols. With its constant change, discoveries and new therapies implementation, we need to be able to fulfil them and meet their requirements,” Mr. Picaud pinpoints. CRYOPDP has achieved customer satisfaction by being up-to-date with new trends and working methods. Mr. Picaud says, “We cannot be stuck with old habits. We need to be able to find alternatives and not be afraid of leaving our comfort zone. Only then we will be able to achieve any kind of progression. So, we read, explore, investigate, train our people, and try to have the best of the best with us. This way, we can embrace challenges and overcome them.”
Mr. Picaud and CRYOPDP team leave no room for error regarding challenges and dealing with patients’ lives. They offer quality service by ensuring that life-saving goods are distributed on time, within the correct specifications, and at the right temperature. In fact, providing the same service quality globally is critical for the pharma market, and CRYOPDP is up to the task. To serve the life science industry’s global needs, CRYOPDP has 35 facilities across 16 countries and a broader network that spans more than 135 countries. Mr. Picaud shares, “CRYOPDP’s genesis was always linked to the science and healthcare industries, with a strong focus on saving the lives of our patients.”
Pharmaceutical companies focus on improving and saving patients’ lives, with innovative and effective drug therapies adapted to patients’ needs. “We have different participants here. Pharma and Biopharma are critical, and research labs are also essential, but patients are always at the heart of the process. Relying on temperature-controlled supply chain & logistics companies is a must. Without logistics and supply chain services, we couldn’t complete the chain of value,” states Mr. Picaud. CRYOPDP provides temperature-controlled logistics and supply chain solutions to clinical research and Cell and Gene communities. Mr. Picaud adds, “In the end, we are all working towards the same objective, saving lives.”
On a Mission to Save Lives
Passion and dedication are at the heart of everything CRYOPDP does. The company vigorously promotes a multifunctional, cross-trained team with a strategic international partnership network. Mr. Picaud asserts, “When we think about CRYOPDP, our mission, and how we live it, is the initial differentiator. We have our mission, and we truly live upon this belief of having the patient at the heart of what we do. And, of course, we want to ensure that our customers can reach their goals, which is why we are a customer-centric organisation.”
CRYOPDP offers tailor-made and added-value solutions to its clients, always considering their needs and being able to meet the most critical demands at a global level. Moreover, the company aims to ease customers’ concerns regarding geographical issues, complexities, and regulatory constraints in different environments. CRYOPDP also acts as an essential advisory service for organisations that need a dedicated logistics department.
“At CRYOPDP, our team is dedicated and ensures that the entire supply chain is fully process-optimised and well-supported by a worldwide network. And without a doubt, this is a strong differentiator – our people,” Mr. Picaud states. CRYOPDP’s specialists understand the need of operational and technical requirements to ensure that the client’s shipment is transported in line with their needs and quality obligations, enabling them to deliver them in perfect conditions without delay. Mr. Picaud claims, “We understand our customers. We know what we need to do to be successful. They do whatever is necessary to achieve it as the reliability of our service in all aspects: operations, customer service, and information is a key pillar of our day-to-day activity.” In a nutshell, flexibility and reliability are built, managed and monitored together at CRYOPDP, supported by team Picaud’s strong expertise and passion for their mission and the patients.
With so many pharmaceuticals crisscrossing the globe, the demand for creating and implementing new services from CRYOPDP has been growing annually. For instance, 70% of CRYOPDP’s cell and gene therapy business is in the US, growing by around 35% annually. “This is one of the specific niches CRYOPDP can support globally,” pinpoints Mr. Picaud. Besides, the past two years exemplify how the healthcare industry sometimes has to provide quick answers to unexpected challenges. During the pandemic, CRYOPDP, as an expert in temperature-controlled logistics, had to respond in record time by offering direct-to-patient (DtP) services to maintain critical clinical trials.
“This has been our role as a company that supports the health industry and cares about its patients. We will always adjust, adapt and create services according to the needs of our customers, partners, and patients,” says Mr. Picaud. Last year, CRYOPDP expanded its operations in two new countries, opened 12 new logistics centres in the world and increased the number of customers by 27%. “Even in a year that had several crises that are still on, we grew. Furthermore, we are embracing a new journey – the sustainable journey, and we believe that this will change the rules of the game in our industry,” adds Mr. Picaud.
The Game Changer
In 2017, Mr. Picaud and his team at CRYOPDP got an exciting and challenging project. A customer requested them to manage the logistics of its susceptible biological samples across approximately 15 countries in Asia. The dynamics of the logistics within these countries, such as Vietnam, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines, were highly complex. To support this request, we built an entire logistics solution consisting of a uniform and dedicated platform serving all 15 countries. It took eight months for Mr. Picaud’s team to create a platform solution. In the end, CRYOPDP managed the logistics of over 8000 biological samples each month across 15 countries from start to finish. This included everything, from the kit preparation to the logistics to getting the materials to the patient site.
Mr. Picaud says, “It was a great success. It also gave us the knowledge to start replicating this success story and best practices with other customers and other geographies. It allowed us to learn as a company and as professionals.” Mr. Picaud believes that we reach the most critical outcome when we take some risks and explore new ways of doing things. He adds, “The possibility and the certainty of being able to do such a challenging project were enough to give us the confidence, the know-how, and the willingness to keep improving and do more for the company, customers, and patients.”
As a leader who has created countless success stories, Mr. Picaud’s biggest contribution to CRYOPDP is his mindset – why are we here and for what we work every day – creating a sense of purpose for what the company aims to do. “I think I have brought a sense of diversity,” says Mr. Picaud, “The more people open their minds to diversity, the more it will enable them and others to step out of their comfort zone and embrace different perspectives, different visions, and different ways of approaching the day-to-day.” At CRYOPDP, Mr. Picaud’s executive committee team comprises people from different backgrounds. He adds, “You cannot imagine how rich and interesting the outcome of our discussions are.”
However, one of the most sensitive topics Mr. Picaud has to deal with daily is sustainability. He says, “We are now implementing and setting new processes to neutralise and reduce our carbon footprint. I believe that we work to save lives, but this needs to be done from a 360º perspective, not only has a direct outcome for our business. And this is one of my personal goals as the CEO of CRYOPDP.”
A Lifelong Learner’s Life as a Leader
Mr. Picaud is a passionate learner. Due to that, he completed his MBA in 2012, almost 12 years after doing his Master’s in Management. Mr. Picaud then did a Certificate in Strategy at HEC Paris in 2016 and a specific program in innovation in 2021 at INSEAD Paris. Both were done outside his working hours, during the evening and weekends. He says, “We cannot progress without learning new things. We need to keep up with new tendencies and ideas to apply them in real life and in our work. That is why I tend to keep up with new trends.”
As the CEO of a multinational company experiencing double-digit growth each year, Mr. Picaud’s workdays are incredibly demanding. CRYOPDP’s expanding global footprint means dealing with multiple time zones, which can be challenging. So, Mr. Picaud typically begins his days around 7:00 or 8:00 am with his APAC colleagues and ends around 7:00 or 8:00 pm with his US colleagues. He relies on military-like discipline to manage this hectic schedule and prioritises his tasks carefully. However, despite the work pressures, he finds time to care for himself through sports and mindfulness practices. Mr. Picaud runs thrice weekly for 45 minutes and spends 30 minutes each day meditating.
Mr. Picaud says, “Two things are non-negotiable for a high focus and productivity as a CEO of a multinational company, passion for the purpose and the military-like discipline. Passion is the fuel, and discipline keeps you on the right path. I am passionate about working for a better world. It drives me.”
A big fan of the Servant Leadership concept, Mr. Picaud is passionate about working with and for others. He explains, “A CEO must have an unselfish mindset to foster leadership in others and a clear passion for achieving success for the company and its employees by putting them first. Regarding discipline and in a more practical way, I always try to clarify the goal with the biggest business impact I can work for in 1 day, 1 week, 1 month, and 1 year. It helps to build a specific action plan to reach those goals.”
The Learnings and the Way Forward
As a leader, Mr. Picaud believes you need to guide your organisation, define a clear mission and vision for your team, and make it live daily. The second aspect is the service mindset. He explains, “As a CEO and leader, you are at the service of your employees, shareholders, customers, and many others. You need to support and contribute to creating value every single day at your organisation.”
Mr. Picaud’s advice for business executives carving a top management space is clear. He says, “As a strong leader, you must define the company’s mission and your team’s mission. You should often question — even possibly redefine — the “why” of your business. What is the business’ contribution to the world? The “why” should be the reason your employees are inspired to spend time, energy and sometimes even sacrifice themselves for your business.” At CRYOPDP, Mr. Picaud and his team strive to improve the health of people around the world. He adds, “This is why my team is dedicated and passionate about their work.”
Today, sustainability is an ongoing, top-priority project for CRYOPDP. The company is analysing, setting, and implementing new processes to improve its carbon footprint. With a structured action plan, CRYOPDP believes it can make a difference in the next couple of years. “We are currently neutralising our carbon emissions through afforestation and carbon avoidance projects, but this is only the first step. We have much to cover, to help us get a more sustainable future. In parallel, I am encouraging my teams in each country to participate in social initiatives in their own countries,” concludes Mr. Picaud.
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