An “à la Ansoff Weak Signal” Feedforward Control for Pharmaceutical Distribution: A pilot study on standard operating procedure for managing customer complaints

Deborah Glassey, Jean-Christophe Metz, Emmanuel Fragniere

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Feedforward controls (i.e., preventative controls), as opposed to classical feedback controls (i.e., corrective controls), are based on the early detection of risks and the implementation of solutions before damage occurs. However, despite their inherent advantages (e.g., increasing the flexibility of supply chains), feedforward controls remain underdeveloped in the pharmaceutical distribution sector, largely due to the tediousness of identifying applicable anticipatory indicators. To properly anticipate the achievement of business objectives, in our in-depth case study of a Swiss wholesale distributor of pharmaceutical products we relied on the notion of weak signals as conceptualized by Ansoff to develop a conceptual framework of feedforward. We identified a weak signal that showed more occurrences of error when less versatile employees were involved in executing tasks. The standard operating procedure for customer complaint management was recently adapted to include a feedforward control based on the weak signal.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2018 7th International Conference on Industrial Technology and Management (ICITM)
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781538613290
Publication statusPublished - 14 Apr 2018


  • error occurrence
  • feedforward control
  • pharmaceutical distribution
  • supply chain management
  • weak signal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

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