Viatris’s Cormac Dodd discusses why he enjoys working in the medtech sector, the skills he has developed and importance of work-life balance.
Cormac Dodd is a senior scientist in risk management at healthcare company Viatris. He has a background in diagnostic technologies, with a focus on quality and risk management in the last few years.
Dodd told SiliconRepublic.com the products Viatris develops support chronic, acute and emergency use, such as insulin control and life-saving medicines and devices, “which help people when they really need it most”.
He also discussed the challenges that can come with remote working and the importance of having a strong work-life balance.
‘Knowing that we make products that impact so positively on people’s lives is the reason I work for Viatris’
– CORMAC DODD
If there is such a thing, can you describe a typical day in the job?
My day usually kicks off with a coffee and email/calendar check. At Viatris, we run so effectively due to our ‘matrix organisation’ and to ensure this runs as effective as it does, we schedule our day with planning and technical meetings as a team.
In these meetings we discuss our plans for the projects each week, and any arising or foreseen technical product issues that have come up!
I work with all departments across the company to plan the best path forward for any issues that do arise, and we work together to develop the best and most effective products we can in these meetings.
Needless to say, we need a good set of organisation and planning skills. We use tools like Microsoft Planner, Microsoft Project and numerous other methods to keep us focused on goals during the week. Working to tight timeframes, it is paramount we all have the same objectives and work together to get so many projects over the line.
What types of projects do you work on?
In risk management, we play a key role in all projects. At the end of each drug/biologic-device combination product (pre-filled pens, inhalers, pre-filled syringes, autoinjectors) that we develop, there is a patient depending on our devices being of the utmost quality, and ensuring each device is safe and effective is a pivotal part of our industry’s work.
Knowing that we make products that impact so positively on people’s lives is the reason I work for Viatris. We make a difference, and we are always horizon-scanning and looking for opportunities to meet the needs of the patient.
What skills do you use on a daily basis?
Over the course of my career, I have gained a lot of skills in problem solving, report writing, data analytics etc, but also have experience in management of risks inherent to our products.
We work on products that impact lives for the better, but sometimes there are risks that need to be managed during manufacture or during administration of the drug products.
Key tools like failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA), traceability matrices and risk-benefit analyses help us to identify, control and manage risk effectively, ensuring that our product, once in the users’ hands, is as safe and as effective as possible.
What are the hardest parts of your working day?
As with any job over the last couple of years, the biggest challenge has been communicating effectively with colleagues. Not to mention I joined Viatris in the middle of the pandemic!
Having that additional hurdle of not being able to build relationships face-to-face has been a challenge, but luckily Viatris is full of fantastic, helpful and positive people that have helped guide me on any queries or issues I have encountered.
Work-life balance is crucial to doing good work. You need to be able to switch off to switch on. Working at Viatris challenges you to think outside the box and explore all options, and so you need to be fresh! We have a fantastic HR team here who consistently promote these ideals and continually publicise the wellness workshops run in Viatris.
Do you have any productivity tips that help you through the day?
Lists, lists and more lists! Completing a task and putting a tick beside it is a nice feeling. So having a list beside me to keep me focused and on track for the day is a big help for me.
Also, getting outside for some air and a coffee can help too. I find this helps you to think and chatting to colleagues about a problem is a great way to break things down, especially if that person hasn’t been as involved in the issue. A fresh set of eyes can make all the difference.
What skills and tools are you using to communicate daily with your colleagues?
Viatris uses Microsoft Teams, which has helped us so much as a company especially during the pandemic. Without it there would have been very little interaction and we functioned very well in those difficult circumstances using this platform.
An MS Teams call for five minutes can sort a lot of problems, the same way as sitting in a room with someone and discussing a challenging project can. As a team organisation, hashing out problems with your colleagues is key to success.
Even now with hybrid working, if we are not all together physically then we make sure our cameras are on so that we can see each other.
It’s crucial to being present and engaged during calls and meetings and allows us to better collaborate as a team. It makes us feel we are together even if it’s only virtually!
How has this role changed as this sector has grown and evolved?
There’s a keen focus now on companies to do more and more to minimise risks as far as reasonably possible.
Adherence to EN ISO14971:2019 plays a key role in this and demands more of companies during manufacture and in the post-production space to ensure the products we manufacture are, and continue to be, safe once they reach our customers.
The regulations being tightened is a positive step in the right direction and ensures that everyone in the med device sector can produce quality, safe to use product each time and every time.
What do you enjoy most about the job?
Like most jobs, the people make it. We work well as cross-functional teams on a daily basis and I enjoy this interaction and being part of a team the most.
The people who work at Viatris are committed to creating the best and most effective products for people across the globe. The patient-centric focus is also something that I like a lot about Viatris and the company values patients and users and this is evident each day in our work.
10 things you need to know direct to your inbox every weekday. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of essential sci-tech news.