Successful collaboration at Xellia: Achieving shared goals across countries and virtual teams.


Xellia pharmaceuticals is an anti-infective specialty pharmaceutical company. They have manufacturing sites in Denmark, Hungary, China and the United States, as well as contract manufacturers in India. They are a business to business company working with more than 500 pharmaceutical companies worldwide.

The challenge.

Xellia Pharmaceuticals has an office in Bangalore, India, which handles the relationship with their Indian contract manufacturers.

Early on in the venture they began to experience significant frustrations in the collaboration between the European teams and their internal colleagues in India, and even larger frustrations with the Indian contract manufacturers.

For Xellia Pharmaceuticals, successful implementation and management of the contract manufacturers is a pre-requisite for success; this is both due to the value of the pharmaceutical products outsourced and the reputation and compliance aspect of pharmaceutical production.

Our solution.

In consultation with the HR Director and operational heads in Oslo and Copenhagen, TMA World designed an interactive workshop on global collaboration which directly addressed the issues faced by both the Indian teams and their European counterparts.

The overall aim was to reduce the barriers between the teams and to kick start a new approach to collaborative working which would maximize the cultural aspects which had previously been seen as "issues" and not as opportunities.

The ideal launch pad was for TMA World to be part of an off-site event in Copenhagen to which the members of the Indian team had been invited. With attendees from all sites in Europe as well as those from Bangalore, TMA World facilitators worked alongside the Xellia senior stakeholders to ensure messages were aligned and that an atmosphere of constructive learning was created.

The participants got time to reflect on leadership in a global business environment and on the crucial differences in communication styles between Danish, Hungarian and Indian colleagues.

The TMA World facilitators emphasised the need to build platforms of trust which can withstand the pressures of virtual working as well as helping all parties to see situations through the cultural lenses of others. In this way, collaboration was seen to be the natural result of respecting and valuing everyone's contribution.

The results.

The teams were inspired to embrace their diversity with an ambition to develop performance levels within and across teams.

As a result of this initial collaboration work, TMA World have subsequently been engaged by Xellia to support and develop the cross functional collaboration between Supply Chain and R&D in Denmark; and, most recently in January 2015, TMA World has been asked to consult on, and implement, a series of leadership initiatives related to Organisational Change Management which will be a key step in the integration of a new manufacturing site in the USA.

"As a sponsor of the event, I felt proud as I could observe that the confidence and feeling of recognition increased among the Indian team and this was maintained in a sustainable way afterwards. In particular I believe it was very effective that the TMA World consultants chose a mixture of methodologies/ The facilitators we had were of excellent quality and were truly inspirational"

Nora Elisabeth Haberg - Vice President - Strategic Projects