Staff Spotlight: Chris Waybill

Kx Advisors Spotlight: Chris Waybill

A Career in Hands-On Strategy

Chris Waybill, Kx Advisors Principal, loves diving into the weeds of problems to build actionable solutions and lead by example. From building his own fireworks (and subsequently fire-resistant storm drains) as a child to studying mechanical engineering and materials science at Duke University, Chris’ passion for hands-on problem-solving has always been clear. After graduation, he worked as a project engineer at an on-site power plant for a hospital impacted by Hurricane Sandy. His time in the field became a building block in his understanding of business operations and project management. Like many Kx teammates, Chris found himself ready for a career pivot into something more fast-paced and growth-oriented and set out to join a strategy consulting firm. 

Professional Development With Kx

Chris joined Kaiser Associates as an Associate Consultant, working on projects across several practice areas. He quickly uncovered a passion for using his quantitative skillset to unearth deeper, more tangible results for healthcare clients. Combined with a newfound interest in developing strategic frameworks to structure highly ambiguous problems, he was a natural fit to align with Kx Advisors. Now a Principal, Chris works directly with clients and drives business development through the leadership team. Chris says he “truly values the opportunity to be a partner rather than just a vendor for our clients.” The positive impact of Kx’s recommendations for our clients feeds into Chris’ hands-on approach and is one of the driving forces that excites him to come to work every day. 

When Chris isn’t working on healthcare projects from Boston, he can be found recording songs for Spotify, singing backup for famous singers like Hugh Jackman, or enjoying extra time with his favorite healthcare professional: his fiancée.  

Interested in Healthcare Strategy Consulting? 

Chris emphasizes that much of consulting is telling a story, but with compelling and contextualized data. For those looking to launch a career in consulting, he advises they “strive to become natural subject matter experts” by reading vigorously, subscribing to industry publications and newsletters, engaging in dialogue with thought leaders, or even writing their own blogs. Have questions about our work? Get in touch with us at info@kxadvisors.com. 

Using Your Product Launch Forecast as a Strategic Tool

Using Your Product Launch Forecast as a Strategic Tool 

Forecasting as a Decision-Making Tool

Too often, commercial planning teams approach revenue forecasting as a required financial exercise rather than a strategic planning activity. The highest performing teams, however, develop revenue models to drive decision-making and reinforce strategy. The forecasting process – designing the model, understanding the demand funnel, gathering insights, aligning on assumptions, and analyzing results – can drive decisions and deliver more value than the output itself. Elevating a revenue forecast to a powerful decision-making tool requires careful planning and thoughtful design considerations.

Crafting Your Product Launch Forecast to Inform Strategy

While revenue models are commonly designed to inform resource allocation, investor communications, or inventory planning, the most robust and accurate models are also designed to inform commercial strategy.  With the correct design considerations, your commercial planning team can learn more about the patient segments driving forecast value, identify opportunities in the patient journey to drive product adoption, and pinpoint the investments needed to drive share. Further, the most effective models consider multiple scenarios to plan for key unknowns.

Unfortunately, many project teams jump into forecasting with unclear objectives, insufficient data sources, or too many scenarios, and ultimately fail to develop a useful decision-making tool. Your team can avoid common modeling pitfalls by following best practices in three critical planning steps:

  1. Create the decision-making framework  
  2. Find the applicable data for the model   
  3. Define the scenarios    

Create the Decision-making Framework

The first step of any model should be aligning on the end goals (i.e., defining the decisions model will inform).  An end goal could be, for example, determining the focus and magnitude of commercial investments, evaluating strategic options in the face of a new market force, or determining supply need for a quarterly production plan. After identifying the overarching question(s), your team can determine how to approach the model.  

Your team can use the end goal to decide on the type of model. The type of model, from market share model to launch planning to production demand, determines the model’s specificity. Analyzing the structure before gathering data to ensure the model aligns with the end goal will save your team time and effort.  For example, is an annual model sufficient to calculate net revenue, or does the organization need monthly/weekly sales granularity to inform production planning? Is there a need (and reliable data) to support international country-level forecasts, or would a regional forecast be more accurate and equally actionable? Once you understand the key questions the model is answering, the desired output, and the aligned model type, your team will have the clarity to move to the next step: finding the data.     

Find the Applicable Data for the Model    

First, your team should identify and classify relevant data sources about your product and market, such as epidemiology studies, claims data sets, qualitative interviews, quantitative surveys, historical product sales, and competitor sales, among others, for input. Forecasting teams should take a “best source” approach –evaluating every assumption individually for the highest confidence source. Without pinpointing potential knowledge gaps, models can provide incorrect or incomplete information, impacting the outputs of the model, and ultimately, the launch’s success.  

If the data does not exist in the public domain or within research resources, it can often be collected. Kx specializes in designing and executing market research with key stakeholders (e.g., providers, patients, and payers) to inform quantitative forecasts.   When designing primary market research, it is important to start with the model structure and work backward to design the research to fit the model. Designing for the model’s purpose will lead to a more accurate forecast. Finally, research should be designed to enable a “living, breathing” forecast. Research approaches such as choice-based conjoint surveys can allow forecasters to simulate new market conditions as they arise and update key assumptions without conducting additional market research. 

Define the Scenarios  

After outlining the criteria for the data, the next step is to determine which scenarios need to be analyzed. Often teams will initially attempt to investigate and list all possible options, but if the model becomes too complex, it will lose its effectiveness. Instead, the best practice is to define a base case or most likely scenario. A base case typically uses a consensus estimate or confidence-based weighting along key assumptions to drive forecast outputs. Once your team identifies the most likely scenario, define the parameters you want to test. Identifying priorities and areas of uncertainty will help determine which scenarios to test. For example, breadth of market access or coverage, varying price points, the impact of future clinical study outcomes on adoption, and changes to competitor mix are some of the most frequently explored scenarios.  

How Kx Can Help With Your Product Launch Forecast

Over the last four decades, our team has developed proven modeling and forecasting approaches that produce accurate, insightful outputs and drive strategic decision making. Our team acts as strategic partners to help guide you through the entire process, including developing the product launch forecast, gathering the underlying data and insights, aligning internal stakeholders, and ultimately preparing the model for you to run.  

 

Contact Our Team Today