"Without People, There is No Product"

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A couple weeks ago, I attended the ISPE SD Chapter “Without people, there is no product” Program and Inovio Facility Tour.  Although the outside looked like any typical warehouse building in Sorrento Valley, the foyer opened up to a massive open seating theatre and break area.  It was wonderful how friendly and welcoming the open concept of the room was.  There were many new and familiar faces in the crowd that night who enjoyed the awesome barbecue provided.

The Technical Session started off with Steve Kemmerrer, Inovio Pharmaceuticals, presenting on the expansion of Inovio in Sorrento Valley and the need for the open design of the new building by the device team.  Nathan Manczarek, Inovio Pharmaceuticals, expanded on Inovio’s culture with a presentation on how he changed the stigma and dynamic between the Quality team and everyone else, and how it prepared the company for audits with ample documentation and exceeding participation by cross-functional teams.  He expanded on how the perception of Quality team as “cops” on the floor really made a difference in day-to-day operations.  He worked on changing the perspective of the quality team as customer service representatives.  Kent Porter, Porter Leadership, reminded the crowd that every work dynamic requires understanding ourselves and others to allow for progress and breaking the sound barrier and vocalizing concerns helps build that understanding.

Nathan’s and Kent’s presentation resonated with me, because over the past several months, Delta PM has invested time in identifying each of the operations team member’s way of thinking and making decisions, and acknowledging the importance of understanding each other’s thought process. Although Nathan’s presentation was specifically about steps taken for the company to better accept the Quality team and ideology, I understood that his strategy could be used in all aspect of business and personal life.  Kent’s philosophy aligned with Nathan’s presentation, but took a different approach of exhibiting to the crowd.  Kent kept an open conversation, told us anecdotes from his life, and explained the thought process of himself and others in the stories.


The event ended with a demonstration of how Inovio’s 5PSP works and all the safety measures installed to the device and a tour of the facility.  Every space felt as open as the common area!  The manufacturing area and warehouse even had space for growth.

Thanks Inovio Pharmaceuticals for hosting the event, taking the time to present, and showing us around the facility.  What a great night!   

- Stacy Pham, Validation PM & SD Regional Lead