IBM Consulting with Vaccine Manufacturing and Innovation Centre

Exceptional Support and Delivery to a Client During COVID-19

The Vaccine Manufacturing and Innovation Centre (VMIC) was established pre-COVID and charged with delivering a new 80,000 ft2 strategic vaccine manufacturing facility and for bringing a new national scientific organisation into operation by the end of 2022. In early 2020 and with the COVID pandemic looming, its Chief Executive, Matthew Duchars, was tasked with accelerating the establishment of the organisation and delivery of equipment urgently needed to manufacture the Oxford vaccine.

IBM was appointed Programme Advisor in May 2020. At this time VMIC had less than 10 permanent staff and lacked the people, the tools, and experience needed to take forward the programme at pace. Over the next eight months IBM, provided the skills, momentum, and know-how to support VMIC in meeting the acceleration challenge.

Success was built on an approach founded on trust, where the trust equation is broadly defined as:

Trust   =          Credibility  x  Reliability x Intimacy


Trust provided the foundation for success. It underpinned our approach, our methods, and our ways of working and was fundamental in supporting VMIC to deliver on their challenges.

Working remotely and over a focused 8-month delivery programme the joint IBM-VMIC project team worked collaboratively to deliver on a set of clear project objectives:

  • Delivery of equipment to support the manufacture of the Oxford Vaccine. Through careful planning and management of the supply chain, and despite Global shortages, all equipment was delivered and installed to support bulk manufacturing within just three months, with production commencing in September 2020;
  • Definition of a future state Organisational Design and recruitment of priority posts to support an initial operating capability. In under six months we had supported the establishment of VMICs in-house HR capabilities and helped to scale up the new organisation from ten to eighty people;
  • Definition of core business process and supporting systems. By adapting life-science industry templates the team fast-tracked production of VMIC’s future state operation model, documenting over 30 business processes and supporting the procurement for key systems including the eQMS (Quality), LIMS (Regulation), and ERP (Business).

The success of our support is appropriately summed up by VMIC CEO, Matthew Duchars, who says:

I wanted to reflect and thank IBM for the support you have provided VMIC over the last 8 months. When you joined, we were challenged by the need to accelerate our program and significantly expand capacity. You quickly stepped up to the plate and consciously invested time and effort in building relationships and trust across our teams and complex stakeholder community. You brought in much needed support and expertise, helping to accelerate the program, and establish a structure and create tools that enabled me and the VMIC team to manage the programme. Your team made a real contribution to the substantial progress VMIC has made: setting up the VMIC organisation, recruitment processes, defining the business systems, helping us to deliver ‘virtual VMIC’– ultimately contributing to the collaborative effort to ensure tens of millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccine could be manufactured and administered to people across the UK.

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