Chemical

Get the Most Out of Your Business with Microsoft Power BI

Get the Most Out of Your Business with Microsoft Power BI

Get the Most Out of Your Business with Microsoft Power BI 700 500 Xcelpros Team

Introduction

In highly regulated industries like Chemical, Pharmaceutical, and Life Sciences – being able to quickly analyze your data has become critical for everything from ensuring a good customer experience to understanding changes in the market.

Microsoft Power BI connects your data to all the tools you use every day, from Excel and Outlook to Microsoft Dynamics 365, and dozens of applications in between, aiding collaboration and the generation of actionable insights. Compared to older manual processes, Power BI doesn’t just save you time—it helps you get the most out of your business, so you can focus on moving your company forward. Learn how Power BI Connectors can help you today by giving your business access to the data it needs to grow faster and reach new heights.

The future of analytics

Data and analytics have become increasingly important for a wide range of businesses, especially in recent years where adoption is growing.

Figure 1:Worldwide BI & Analytics Growth

Worldwide BI & Analytics Growth

Source: Apps Run the World; Statista 2022

While regulations have traditionally been enforced by a group of people inside a company, these regulators expect to see evidence-based decision-making from businesses at all levels. Maintaining visibility into data from various sources is essential for compliance with certain regulations. Because of the number of data sources and systems that can be in use by companies today – often including disparate technologies or providers – it can be difficult to extract data across platforms for analysis purposes.

In the Chemical, Pharmaceutical and Life Sciences industries, where regulatory oversight has always been a top priority, the need for reliable analytical tools has significantly increased over time.

Immediately, you may not know what would make a difference in terms of driving customer behavior or improving customer experience without proper analytical tools; without data showing trends like customer purchases in relation to prices and features offered by competitors, or where customers spend most of their time within your site, or which pages result in the highest bounce rates?

Data collected from marketing campaigns is being used to help answer questions about customer engagement, usage habits, and preferences in order to improve engagement throughout the entire user journey. It’s necessary to understand the general pattern of what makes your customers tick in order to gain insight into their behaviors and needs – even if they don’t give you direct feedback! With regular monitoring through powerful analytic solutions like Power BI, this type of feedback becomes easier than ever.

Where does Power BI fit in?

Power BI is a cloud-based business intelligence and analytics platform from Microsoft that helps businesses running on multiple systems to get the most out of their data. Power BI has a growing library of connectors that helps businesses connect different sources to analyze data and create unique reports and role-based dashboards. Power BI can be used to track key performance indicators (KPIs), monitor sales and marketing campaigns, and understand customer behavior.

Power BI can help businesses in the Pharmaceutical, Chemical, and Life sciences industries use their data more efficiently to make better decisions. For example, a company that manufactures chemicals for use in other products could run simulations based on different product characteristics and use Power BI to analyze the output from these simulations. If one type of product was found to be more profitable than another under certain conditions, then they would know which products to produce more of or discontinue producing altogether.

Additionally, a company that produces vaccines needs to know exactly how much demand there will be for their vaccine before it’s released into production; with Power BI they can plot a forecast for where demand might be higher or lower than expected, letting them adjust their production accordingly. As Microsoft continues to grow its library of Power BI connectors, companies will have easier access to all sorts of valuable data and insights.

What Are Power BI Connectors?

Power BI connectors are a part of the software that allows you to connect different data streams in one location – perfect for any business that runs on multiple systems. For example, suppose you’re a chemical manufacturer that also offers consulting or testing services. You could use Power BI connectors to link the two systems together in order to generate automatic reports and analyses.

This lets you import data from one system into another system or export data from one system into another. This makes it possible to see all your information at once without having to go back and forth between each system. Power BI connectors work by linking data sources together based on predefined rules and patterns. They also come pre-built with smart visualizations and customizable dashboards which allow you to view all your information at once without having to switch between each company’s app or website.

Once you implement Power BI you can start using available connectors for free! The library of power bi connector options continues to grow as more businesses find the value in using them for their own purposes. These days, you can use Power BI connectors to do anything from importing bank statements into payroll management software to analyzing customer sentiment over time. In fact, there are many benefits to using power bi connectors.

One major benefit is the ability to analyze your company’s data in depth without ever having to step foot outside of Microsoft Office 365. This makes it easier than ever for employees who don’t normally share responsibilities related to finance or sales reporting, for example, because they know they can stay within their comfort zone while still getting the job done efficiently.

In addition, those employees will always know what needs to be done because they’ll always have access to not only relevant information but also relevant charts and graphs that provide additional context around certain trends.

What about security, privacy and compliance

When it comes to business data, security and privacy are always top concerns. Microsoft is aware of this and has taken steps to ensure that the data it collects with Power BI is not only secure but in full compliance. For starters, all data is encrypted both in transit and at rest.

Power BI is compliant with major industry standards like HIPAA, SOC 2, and GDPR. It’s easy to see why so many companies trust their data to Power BI for their own analytics needs. Data is processed on an isolated instance, ensuring there’s no possibility of a breach from a compromised network server.

To stay on top of any potential breaches that could arise from things like malware infections or unauthorized access attempts, administrators can monitor the system for any suspicious activity. They can also set up alerts and audit logs to track who accessed what data when and where they did it from.   If something does happen, the company will have information about how it happened and what was lost as well as how they were able to mitigate the damage.

Power BI works hard to keep your data safe by having dedicated security features designed specifically for businesses including:

  • A dedicated infrastructure architecture, which separates workloads into individual virtual machines and prevents cross-contamination among them.
  • Several built-in protections against SQL injection attacks.
  • Protection against cross site scripting (XSS) via double validation tokens.

These protections help make sure you’re safe while you work on your dashboards!

Next Steps

While it’s true Microsoft’s Power BI is a powerful tool that can help businesses gain insights into their data, even across different systems, to get the most out of it you need an experienced partner who can implement Power BI seamlessly and connect it to your other systems. Working with a partner that understands your industry means less time is spent trying to figure it out on your own.

An experienced partner will be able to help you maximize the value of Power BI and ensure that you are getting the most out of your investment. With an experienced partner, you’ll also have a strategic advisor who can advise on how to address your needs through customizations and integrations. Plus, they’ll help you keep your system up to date so that you’re always maximizing the value of your investment in power bi.

Maintaining an enterprise-wide analytics platform requires expertise from partners who understand not only what software does but how to use it as well. For instance, if a company has never used SQL before or if they don’t have any knowledge about R scripting, you’ll want to investigate more experienced support.

Xcelpros offers hands-on industry experience implementing Microsoft Power BI analytics with custom extensions and connectors that provide customers with deep insight into their data and seamless integration between disparate business systems.

Contact us today to see how we can help you meet your business goals.

About XcelPros

XcelPros is a Chicago-based company and delivers transformation through technology. We offer business and technology solutions with deep industry experience in Chemical, Pharma, Life Sciences (including Medical Devices, Bio-Medical & Biotech), Insurance, Discrete Manufacturing, Process Manufacturing, Distribution and Food & Beverage.

XcelPros is a Microsoft Gold Partner, Direct Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) and a Systems Integrator (SI) offering software licensing, implementation and consulting services for Microsoft Dynamics 365, CRM, Microsoft Dynamics AX, Business Intelligence & Analytics (Power BI), SharePoint, Office 365 and Azure (Cloud, IOT, Microsoft Flow amongst many others).

Our mission is to provide integrated technology solutions that amplify impact and empower our customer’s businesses. We believe technology is the key enabler of exponential growth for us and our customers.

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

Call us toll-free – 1.855.411.0585 (or) visit www.xcelpros.com

What Chemical Companies Can Expect from increasing their Post-Covid IT Budgets

What Chemical Companies Can Expect from increasing their Post-Covid IT Budgets

What Chemical Companies Can Expect from increasing their Post-Covid IT Budgets 700 500 Xcelpros Team

Introduction

Chemical companies across the board have been increasing their IT and technology budgets more than ever before. This increase in funding isn’t just good for consumers looking forward to new features and a better experience; it also means that your company will be safer from malware threats and cyberattacks, which can be disastrous for any type of business.

Given how focused hackers are on Chemical companies, this increased attention to cybersecurity really couldn’t come at a better time! Whether your company deals with energy or manufacturing, chances are you will benefit from these new investments in IT, so what should you expect?

A great time to increase investments in your technology

Today’s recovering economy is expected to be a boom for many industries, and chemical companies are no exception.

According to Garnter.com:

“Worldwide IT spending is projected to total $4.5 trillion in 2022, an increase of 5.1% from 2021”

Figure 1:IT Spend and Growth Forecast

IT Spend and Growth Forecast

With this kind if increased demand for their products, now’s the perfect time for chemical companies looking to invest in new enterprise technology. By doing so, businesses can streamline their operations, improve efficiency, and better meet customer needs. In addition, increased investments in technology can help businesses become more agile and adapt to changing market conditions. For example, it allows for easy updates that reflect new economic developments.

Many Chemical companies who have invested in tech recently reported being able to quickly adjust during these difficult times and make necessary changes when needed. Other benefits reportedly tied to increased investments in enterprise technology include an increase in productivity, fewer errors due to human error, greater visibility into business processes and inventory levels at all times (across multiple locations), better integration with accounting software like Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations and Business Central, improved security measures against hackers, and stronger safeguards against power outages or other environmental disasters that could impact data availability.

As any technology continues to change and evolve, investments in its latest innovations will always provide long-term advantages over outdated technologies. Considering these benefits, any company looking to thrive in this rapidly changing economy should consider investing in their technology sooner rather than later.

Bigger budgets helping your business grow

Even today, the world is still filled with uncertainty, and businesses continue preparing for the worst while hoping for the best. One way that companies can set themselves up for success is by making the decision to increase their IT and tech budgets. Bigger budgets mean better tools and software to help streamline processes, as well as more resources for research and development. Additionally, increased IT spending could lead to improved customer service and support, both of which are essential for the chemical industry today. The companies that can adapt and grow their business will be the ones that thrive. Increased investment in IT and technology budgets could make all the difference when it comes to staying competitive in this fast-paced market.

Chemicals make up about 8% of GDP worldwide, so it’s important for these companies to stay innovative with their products in order to attract new customers. With an IT budget increase, these companies would have access to more reliable data systems and greater flexibility for expansion. It’s vital that these companies keep investing in their infrastructure in order to compete against other firms like Bayer AG or Exxon Mobil Corp., who have also been investing heavily into growing their own technology departments.

Whether you’re a company like DuPont Co., Dow Chemical Co., or BASF SE, every penny counts when it comes to innovation. These chemical companies need to maintain a healthy balance between maintaining their infrastructure and developing new technologies if they want to stay ahead of the curve.

Along with making investments in R&D, there should be some sort of plan for how your money will be spent. The introduction of cloud computing has made it easier than ever before for smaller firms to manage their cash flow; now any company can access massive computing power without having to pay hefty fees upfront. And not only does cloud computing allow for easy data storage, but it also allows users to remotely access applications without having any onsite hardware. Cloud computing services have reduced costs and opened the door for smaller enterprises looking to build out their technological capabilities without worrying about making large capital investments upfront.

Leveraging technology to thrive

In today’s business world, technology continues to play a more important role than it has in the past. Chemical companies that don’t invest in modern, updated technology will be left behind, putting the future of their business at risk. The growing importance of tech is a trend that can’t be ignored and only businesses who are able to keep up with changing times are likely to not only survive but thrive.

By increasing IT and technology budgets, chemical companies are setting themselves up for success now and in the future. From working on computerized project management systems to adapting current systems so they’re compatible with new tech, there are many ways that company leaders can start investing into their future right away. Investing early in updating your systems means having access to some of the latest technology out there, not just what was available when your system was first created.

There are several cost benefits to investing in updated technology – it saves time and money by ensuring everyone is on the same page, reducing overall cost through improved efficiency, freeing up staff time by automating repetitive tasks like collecting data points or following up with suppliers, etc. With so many options available for companies looking to invest into new technologies and update their old ones (whether they have outdated software or hardware), there really isn’t any excuse not to do so.

The challenges of scaling with limited resources

Scaling a business is hard enough without the added challenges of limited resources. With the right tools and technology in place, however, it is possible to overcome these challenges and scale your business successfully. In this post, we will examine some of the benefits that scaling a business with software can offer.

There are three main areas where new technology can provide an advantage over traditional methods:

  • Inventory Management.
  • Manufacturing.
  • Marketing.

These areas are all integral parts of running a successful business and when they are handled properly, they can help you keep pace with the competition.

Inventory management is often a challenge for businesses of any size. But with effective inventory management software like our own S&OP application, which allows you to set alerts and schedules for orders, as well as track purchases and sales at every level of the supply chain – raw materials through finished goods – managing your inventory becomes infinitely easier.

New technology simplifies complex processes like scheduling production orders, handling multiple batches simultaneously or even tracking job progress on production lines by integrating process data such as manufacturing flow sheets or operating instructions into one system. Thirdly, marketing has always been about creativity but unfortunately marketers don’t always have the time for creativity because their days are filled with tasks that don’t require creativity at all!

Things you should invest in first

As the world starts to come out of the Covid-19 pandemic, many businesses are looking at their budgets and wondering where to invest their money. For chemical companies, investing in IT departments and new technology is a smart move that will help them thrive in the post-pandemic economy.

For chemical companies to survive it’s becoming clear they need two things:

  • Reliable production lines.
  • A loyal customer base.

Modern technology can provide both. With new CRM systems, you can manage your client base with precision and make sure you’re keeping customers happy by providing them with what they want – when they want it. With the rise of e-commerce, this means being able to work remotely and deliver orders quickly via delivery drones or on foot. Software also helps ensure your production line stays running smoothly through alerts when there are any problems so that you don’t have to worry about bottlenecks or shortages.

If you want to empower your business with plenty of potential for growth and success, there’s no time like the present to invest in an IT department and new technology!

Using your increased investment in enterprise tech wisely

There are many ways businesses have used their increased investment in technology wisely.

  • One way is using it to improve communication and collaboration within the company. This can be done through video conferencing, instant messaging, and document sharing platforms.
  • Another way businesses have used their increased investment in technology is by using it to improve customer service. This can be done through online chatbots, live chat, and automated customer service platforms.
  • Finally, businesses have also used their increased investment in technology to improve their marketing efforts. This can be done through social media, search engine optimization, and content marketing.

It’s important for business owners to make sure they don’t just focus on what they need now but instead plan for future needs as well. With an increase in spending on enterprise tech comes an increased need for cybersecurity experts as well. It’s also critical that a business not only invest in cybersecurity solutions but also in training for their employees so that they have a full understanding of how these solutions work. The most successful businesses will see the value of investing in all these areas no matter what because with every new change come new opportunities for growth and innovation.

Final thoughts

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to lighten it’s grasp, more and more businesses are seeing the value of increasing their IT and technology budgets. This is especially true for chemical companies, which had been hit hard by the pandemic. What’s the outlook for chemical companies looking to increase their technology budget? The answer depends on your situation, but there are some general things you can expect.

Firms that were already dealing with ongoing IT challenges will likely see their problems worsen as they attempt to cope with increased security risks, increased regulation compliance costs, and more complex product development cycles.

In this case it may be best to implement strategies like employee retraining programs and process automation that help decrease reliance on human labor in certain areas of the business.

On the other hand, if you’re currently on solid footing when it comes to tech advances in your company – or if you’ve just started out – then an increased budget could be just what you need. For more information or help defining your new technology budget, contact us today.

About XcelPros

XcelPros is a Chicago-based company and delivers transformation through technology. We offer business and technology solutions with deep industry experience in Chemical, Pharma, Life Sciences (including Medical Devices, Bio-Medical & Biotech), Insurance, Discrete Manufacturing, Process Manufacturing, Distribution and Food & Beverage.

XcelPros is a Microsoft Gold Partner, Direct Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) and a Systems Integrator (SI) offering software licensing, implementation and consulting services for Microsoft Dynamics 365, CRM, Microsoft Dynamics AX, Business Intelligence & Analytics (Power BI), SharePoint, Office 365 and Azure (Cloud, IOT, Microsoft Flow amongst many others).

Our mission is to provide integrated technology solutions that amplify impact and empower our customer’s businesses. We believe technology is the key enabler of exponential growth for us and our customers.

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

Call us toll-free – 1.855.411.0585 (or) visit www.xcelpros.com

Microsoft D365 F&O Improving the Customer Experience in Chemicals

Microsoft D365 F&O Improving the Customer Experience in Chemicals

Microsoft D365 F&O Improving the Customer Experience in Chemicals 700 500 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

  • The manufacturing industry runs with the integration of people, tools, processes, and information. The data generated from each of this facet needs to be quantified and analyzed.
  • In the manufacturing world, those who know their metrics tend to learn the tricks of the game.
  • The metrics that matter the most are the ones that help you and your manufacturing company gain essential insights regarding different functionalities and business areas to improve the manufacturing process continuously.
  • One of the most crucial aspects of knowing and managing manufacturing metrics is being systematic and optimizing the best results.

Introduction

The world’s best chemical companies focus on building expertise in their lines of business to enhance customer experience, and one way to do it is by streamlining their supply chain. That’s why many chemical companies are choosing Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations since it gives them access to modern tools they need to excel at managing their business and serving their customers better than ever before. With Microsoft D365 F&O, chemical companies can create higher quality products faster than ever before possible and will offer enhanced customer service.

The importance of Customer Experience (CX)

The recent focus on improving customer experience to increase profitability has made CX more important than ever in several industries, including chemical and pharmaceutical. Companies are making the move to modern technology like Dynamics 365 to help improve communication with customers, streamline processes, and enable data-driven decisions.

The result is a better overall experience for their customers, resulting in an increase in profits. It is easy to see how improving the customer experience can influence both short- and long-term goals. While there are sure to be challenges when implementing these changes, it’ll be worth it in the end because of the benefits that include increased profits and happy customers. In fact, more industries should be taking note of the ways chemical companies are improving their customer experience with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations.

Why is the Chemical Industry Focusing More on Their Customers?

Recently, the chemical industry has begun to see the value of customer experience. This is because today’s customers are much more knowledgeable, with higher expectations than ever before. To meet these expectations, businesses need to provide a better customer experience – mainly with on time in full shipments and competitive pricing.

It’s important to understand common misconceptions people may have about customer experience. It’s not all about social media, marketing tactics, or creating a new app. CX includes understanding exactly what your customers want and then being able to deliver on those wants effectively.

Dynamics 365 F&O helps businesses in the chemical industry transform their data into actionable insights to help them understand exactly what their most valuable customers want, letting them improve their customer experience accordingly.

Some key areas that impact CX

CX has become a major focus for businesses in recent years – happy customers are more likely to return and be part of your growth. They’re also more likely to spend money with a company they’re satisfied with.

Smarter pricing methods with coupons or discounts and supplying specialized packaging of chemicals are a few ways for companies to stay competitive in the market. Having technology like Microsoft Dynamics 365 that accommodates these business needs can enable your business to stay ahead of the curve.

Microsoft’s cloud-based solution includes several CRM tools like managing contacts, tracking conversations and following up on leads as well as analytical tools that can be tailored to meet your needs.

With these kinds of tools, businesses of any size can provide better service without having to hire an expensive team of experts.

A better customer experience can:

  • lead to increased customer loyalty and customer satisfaction.
  • lead to increased revenue and market share for your business.
  • help you attract new customers and retain existing ones.
  • improve employee satisfaction and morale.
  • help reduce operating costs.
  • improve your company’s overall reputation.

Figure 1:Benefits of a Better Customer Experience

Benefits of a Better Customer Experience

How Microsoft Dynamics Fits In

With Microsoft Dynamics 365, businesses in the chemical industry can provide their customers with an experience that’s more efficient and effective. A robust suite of digital tools means businesses can manage inventory and track shipments, create invoices and sales orders with ease. In addition, the software helps businesses keep track of customer complaints and gives them the ability to address them quickly.

Customers are looking for solutions that empower end-to-end business process automation. But not all enterprises have the right solution in place – usually it’s a much older system that’s still being used today, often held together with bits of string and tape. As one chemical company’s Chief Information Officer explains, Businesses today need more than just transaction processing—they need operational excellence and collaboration across the enterprise, whether in manufacturing or financial management. For many small and medium-sized businesses, Microsoft Dynamics may be the answer they’re looking for.

Maintaining control over processes has never been easier with Dynamics 365, which allows users to manage every stage of production from R&D through customer service, seamlessly and efficiently. With such an extensive feature set, enterprises of all sizes find it easy to customize the application according to their needs.

No matter what your business needs may be or how complex your operations are, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Financial & Operations provides you with everything you need to succeed!

Next Steps

In order to create the best user experience for your customers, one of the first steps is finding the right partner to help implement Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations. The right partner will have a deep understanding of your industry and how to best implement and utilize this solution to improve your customer’s experience. They’ll also be able to help you customize the software to fit your specific needs.

For example, if you’re a manufacturer or distributor in the chemical industry, a partner can help you set up products in such a way that they are compatible with your company’s inventory system and make changes to reporting that reflect your business practices. Additionally, they can help with customizing processes or reports that specifically cater to your customers’ needs.

When selecting an IT consultant or business partner to work with on implementing your new ERP, it’s important to consider their depth of knowledge about this industry as well as their ability to work closely with you and modify software so that it better fits your specific needs. With the right partner the process becomes easy to follow:

  • Evaluate your business needs and understand how a new ERP can help you reach your goals.
  • Choose an experienced partner who understands Microsoft Dynamics 365 and can help you get the most out of your investment.
  • Train your employees in the new system, so they can hit the ground running and provide a better experience for your customers.
  • Go live with Microsoft Dynamics 365 F&O and start reaping the benefits of a more efficient and user-friendly chemical business.
  • Monitor your progress and make sure you’re getting a return on your investment by seeing an improvement in customer satisfaction levels.

Are you ready to enhance your operations? Contact us today to get started.

About XcelPros

XcelPros is a Chicago-based company and delivers transformation through technology. We offer business and technology solutions with deep industry experience in Chemical, Pharma, Life Sciences (including Medical Devices, Bio-Medical & Biotech), Insurance, Discrete Manufacturing, Process Manufacturing, Distribution and Food & Beverage.

XcelPros is a Microsoft Gold Partner, Direct Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) and a Systems Integrator (SI) offering software licensing, implementation and consulting services for Microsoft Dynamics 365, CRM, Microsoft Dynamics AX, Business Intelligence & Analytics (Power BI), SharePoint, Office 365 and Azure (Cloud, IOT, Microsoft Flow amongst many others).

Our mission is to provide integrated technology solutions that amplify impact and empower our customer’s businesses. We believe technology is the key enabler of exponential growth for us and our customers.

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

Call us toll-free – 1.855.411.0585 (or) visit www.xcelpros.com

Managing Chemical Compliance With an ERP

Managing Chemical Compliance With an ERP

Managing Chemical Compliance With an ERP 700 500 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

  • $700,000: A proposed increase to the maximum Occupational Health and Safety (OSHA) penalty for willful or repeat safety code violations.
  • $50,000: OSHA’s proposed hike in minimum penalties for these same willful acts.
  • $25,000: California’s additional safety violation penalties that are added to the federal fees.
  • $15,000: California’s maximum daily penalties for failing to fix these same issues.

Introduction

When used effectively, modern enterprise resource planning software (ERP) can help companies in several ways when it comes to chemical regulations:

  • Financial components of a chemical firm’s regulatory compliance solution.
  • Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) regulations.
  • Gathering, storing and managing material safety data sheets.
  • Gathering information from far-flung sources to create effective reports able to meet government criteria.

One study cited a multi-national corporation’s subsidiary using an ERP to comply with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX).

“The findings demonstrate how managers can use an ERP to develop effective internal controls for the most common material weaknesses reported under SOX, thus providing insights into the crucial role of IT as a facilitator of control and reporting processes, and, more specifically, into the role, use and purpose of ERPs in relation to regulatory compliance,” according to the University of Greenwich.

Key points related to the chemical industry noted in this study include firms often failing to customize their ERPs for the specific requirements of the business, this applies specifically to chemical companies. Working with an ERP vendor experienced in the chemical industry helps ensure software works exactly as the company needs it rather than just installing an out of the box solution.

Unified systems like ERPs can help identify and evaluate hazardous substances. Manufacturers are then informed of the risk levels regarding the use and distribution of their chemical products. Identifying these hazardous substances early also allows manufacturers to act proactively, resulting in better safety.

Identifying Hazardous Materials With an ERP

Today, U.S. government regulations require the identification and labeling of hazardous materials. Modern ERP solutions can help create and manage safety data sheets (SDSs) along with any Globally Harmonized System (GHS) labels as required by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA).

Each safety data sheet has 16 sections, 12 of which OSHA requires. These include:

  1. 1.Identification such as common names for the substance, recommended use of the chemical and restrictions on its use
  2. 2.Hazard(s) Identification such as signal words, pictograms and hazard statements
  3. 3.Composition and Information on Ingredients such as each substance’s Chemical Abstracts Service number
  4. 4.First-Aid Measures such as the most important symptoms
  5. 5.Fire-Fighting Measures such as the type of fire-fighting
  6. 6.Accidental Release Measures including emergency procedure and methods of containment
  7. 7.Handling and Storage including safe handling precautions
  8. 8.Exposure Controls/Personal Protection including OSHA Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs)
  9. 9.Physical and Chemical Properties such as the chemical’s odor, flash point and flammability
  10. 10.Stability and Reactivity including if the chemical is stable under normal temperatures
  11. 11.Toxicological Information including how the toxins are brought into a human body such as through inhalation or eye and skin contact
  12. 12.Other information including when the SDS was prepared or last updated

OSHA also suggests-but does not require-data on ecological impact, including:

  • The disposal of hazardous materials
  • The transporting of hazardous materials
  • Any other regulatory requirements, as needed

Book a free consultation on how to manage chemical compliance with an ERP system

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An ERP manages regulatory compliance by comparing your existing SDSs to OSHA’s requirements. Once your safety sheets are updated to meet federal requirements, they are stored in a central repository for reuse. A single update ensures that all SDS are accurate when the same ingredient is used in several products.

That information can then be “chunked” and converted into the GHS labels. One method where ERPs excel is their ability to generate QR codes for labels automatically. Simply scanning the label with a cellphone can provide internet links to complete safety sheets.

When every second counts, such as in exposure to potentially hazardous chemical, workers don’t have hours to pour through filing cabinets looking for the right SDS. They might have a few seconds to scan a label, tap a link and then know what type of first aid to administer.

Other Safety Features in ERPs

Because ERPs access information from multiple sources, one way they help promote safety is by limiting access. When data access cards or passwords are linked to an ERP, they can help prevent unauthorized—and untrained—workers from accessing dangerous or harmful chemicals.

Your ERP can be used to restrict access to based on the individual’s role. This helps protect their help while also ensuring your data remains safe from prying eyes.

Using your ERP to monitor safety also lets you identify areas where more training is required. It can be tied to a learning management system (LMS). This in turn reduces the risk of workers with expired certifications or lack of skills.

Your SDS chemical management can help pinpoint at-risk employee groups, document recurring injuries, map frequent injury locations and then help you create a plan to correct them.

For example, many production employees are required to earn OSHA 10 certification. This ensures they have at least 10 hours of safety instruction.

OSHA 30 certification goes into greater depth when it comes to safety. Among its enhanced requirements are the following:

  • Hazard communication, which is useful in preparing and updating safety sheets
  • Materials handling, such as hazardous chemicals
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE)

Your ERP can identify which employees have active OSHA 30 certification, which have expired certificates and who lacks it. By denying access to unqualified workers, you reduce their risk of injury while also dropping your chances of being tagged for an OSHA violation.

Under a current proposal, OSHA provisions for willful and repeat violations could increase from a minimum of $5,000 to $50,000 per violation. The maximum fines would also go up ten fold to $700,000 per violation, Cal-OSHA states. These fines can change based on your location. For example, if a violation occurs in California, you can expect to pay as much as $25,000 for serious violations. These infractions can accrue daily penalties up to $15,000 for failing to solve the hazard issue.

ERPs and HazCom

OSHA’s Hazard Communication standard known as HazCom includes a checklist of 10 requirements.

These include the need to perform the following:

  • Train employees on the hazardous chemicals in the workplace
  • Instruct workers on how to recognize exposure to hazardous chemicals
  • Provide training on container label elements
  • Offer instruction on Safety Data Sheet (SDS) format and content
  • Explain to employees how to access SDSs
  • Update SDSs when new versions become available
  • Update the written HazCom program as needed
  • Explain to employees how to obtain a copy of the written HazCom program
  • Train employees on any in-house labeling system used
  • Make sure all container labels in the workplace are compliant

An ERP can ensure that data on any single chemical or hazardous material is thoroughly covered in your documentation. For example, each SDS can be linked to related labels and training materials. An update to the SDS ensures everything that flows from it is also current. That means your employees are safer as is anyone else who handles your products.

The Bottom Line

While some executives think of ERP’s, they consider ways to improve efficiency. The reality, however, is that ERPs can also be used to make workplaces safer for everyone. This is primarily achieved with constantly updated processes and carefully labelling and managing any goods and raw materials.

Creating and updating an SDS in your ERP, for example, allows you to link all critical information about a product including labels, handling guidelines, storage requirements, training materials, and more. Increasing the safety and handling for everything you store and work with not only reduces the costs of injuries and by ensuring OSHA compliance, but you also minimize the potential for fines and infractions, which further helps to increase profits.

About XcelPros

XcelPros is a Chicago-based company and delivers transformation through technology. We offer business and technology solutions with deep industry experience in Chemical, Pharma, Life Sciences (including Medical Devices, Bio-Medical & Biotech), Insurance, Discrete Manufacturing, Process Manufacturing, Distribution and Food & Beverage.

XcelPros is a Microsoft Gold Partner, Direct Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) and a Systems Integrator (SI) offering software licensing, implementation and consulting services for Microsoft Dynamics 365, CRM, Microsoft Dynamics AX, Business Intelligence & Analytics (Power BI), SharePoint, Office 365 and Azure (Cloud, IOT, Microsoft Flow amongst many others).

Our mission is to provide integrated technology solutions that amplify impact and empower our customer’s businesses. We believe technology is the key enabler of exponential growth for us and our customers.

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

Call us toll-free – 1.855.411.0585 (or) visit www.xcelpros.com

erp for chemical industry

Digitization of the Chemical Industry-Role of an ERP system

Digitization of the Chemical Industry-Role of an ERP system 700 500 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

  • Chemical companies are more frequently moving towards fully adopting newer, digitized technologies and away from legacy systems and processes historically operated in silos.
  • A well-functioning Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system helps chemical companies in all parts of their operations- procurement, manufacturing, supply chain, vendor management, aftermarket, and more.
  • Implementing an ERP system doesn’t need to be costly or daunting, provided companies go for the right system and take the help of experts.
  • The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for chemical companies, with the sector providing most of the raw materials used in sanitizers and personal hygiene products.

While digital transformations have been a big help for the advancement of every industry; many sectors are still looking for new ways to utilize these technologies to their fullest. The chemical industry is on the cusp of legacy and advanced software and systems. Many companies have departments working in silos, manual documentations, slow change management mechanisms, data discrepancy issues, and an overall fall behind when it comes to digitization and automation. Chemical companies can address these issues and many others by investing in a high-end ERP system.

According to PwC’s 23rd Global Annual Survey, 42% of chemical company CEOs prioritized and invested in digital operations and related technologies.

This statistic indicates that now’s the time for chemical companies to systematically restructure their IT base and look at ERP as an option and a way forward to sustainable growth. After all, every sector is looking to leverage digitization to their benefit, including the chemical industry.

Here are five benefits of an ERP software system for chemical companies:

1.Digitization of Processes Leading to Accelerated TimelinesAn intricately designed yet easy-to-implement ERP system such as the Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP comes equipped with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) based features that can automate many processes such as documentation, reporting, log entries, etc. This will reduce manual intervention (providing personnel with time to invest in more innovative aspects) and mitigate errors. Digitization in the chemical industry also helps expedite processes as the data can be accessed, altered, and verified in real time. With Microsoft Dynamics ERP, chemical companies can realize the vision of going agile.

2.Fortifying Supply Chain Management (SCM) A comprehensive ERP for the chemical industry can facilitate better management of your supply chain by interlinking the departments and creating a data pool between finance, sales, and delivery. This way, you will digitize and monitor the procurement of raw goods, oversee warehouses, manage inventory more efficiently, channel communication between different stakeholders, and streamline the workflow.

Figure 1: A Multi Pronged ERP System to Integrate Different Departments in a Chemical Company

A Multi Pronged ERP System to Integrate Different Departments in a Chemical Company

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3.Better Response Time and Quicker Time to MarketAn ERP for the chemical industry provides companies with a competitive advantage by giving better process and resource visibility, interconnecting departments, and avoiding bottlenecks. ERP also enables chemical companies to identify their slow-to-move inventories and find quicker delivery options. This considerably reduced time to market. The overall product development process in chemical manufacturing companies is also expedited, thanks to the automation and optimization features of ERP systems, and this also results in quicker time to market.

4.Dynamic Change ManagementThe chemical manufacturing processes are subject to changes at different levels, from pre-formulation to production and packaging. These changes take time to get recorded and notified in a legacy system-backed environment, leading to delays. With an ERP, chemical companies can be more flexible and dynamic in their change management approach. As data becomes centralized and systems become integrated, more collaboration can occur, expediting the communication network in a change management ecosystem. Even at the supply chain and aftermarket levels, ERP allows better visibility across several stakeholders, enabling manufacturers to respond quickly to any changes.

5.Better Customer Service and Enhanced Customer SatisfactionLike any other industry, the chemical industry strives to satisfy its customers- be it other industries, retailers, or end-users. With an ERP system for chemical manufacturing, companies gain insights into customer preferences and can anticipate market needs. Companies choose ERP systems designed to respond quicker and better to customer demands. With the ever-changing customer expectations scenario, chemical companies need to invest in a system that gives them better customer visibility and agility to respond.

ERP is a solution of possibilities, and chemical companies can turn these possibilities into opportunities. To survive, sustain, and thrive in this era of digitization, the chemical industry can use this software to integrate and collaborate better than ever before. It can also help to work with experienced consultants to maximize performance and reduce costs. While every company has different problems and requirements, well-designed chemical ERP software can efficiently address some issues.

Key Takeaways

  • The chemical companies must analyze their as-is IT infrastructure and identify the right ERP system for their requirements.
  • ERP is a dynamic, flexible software; thus, chemical companies can evaluate many aspects of their operations comprehensively with the help of a single system.
  • With learned ERP experts, chemical companies can go places in terms of operating smoothly and delivering consistently.

About XcelPros

XcelPros is a Chicago-based company delivering transformation through technology. We offer business and technology solutions with deep industry experience in Chemical, Pharma, Life Sciences (including Medical Devices, Bio-Medical & Biotech), Insurance, Discrete Manufacturing, Process Manufacturing, Distribution and Food & Beverage.

XcelPros is a Microsoft Gold Partner, Direct Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) and a Systems Integrator (SI) offering software licensing, implementation and consulting services for Microsoft Dynamics 365, CRM, Microsoft Dynamics AX, Business Intelligence & Analytics (Power BI), SharePoint, Office 365 and Azure (Cloud, IOT, Microsoft Flow amongst many others).

Our mission is to provide integrated technology solutions that amplify impact and empower our customer’s businesses. We believe technology is the key enabler of exponential growth for us and our customers.

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

Call us toll-free – 1.855.411.0585 (or) visit www.xcelpros.com

Freight Visibility in the Chemical Supply Chain

The Importance of Freight Visibility in the Chemical Supply Chain

The Importance of Freight Visibility in the Chemical Supply Chain 700 500 Xcelpros Team

Introduction

Having a complete view of inbound shipments is critical for chemical manufacturers. Maintaining accurate product counts, ensuring on-time delivery, monitoring rising transportation costs and complying with the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) regulations are some of the reasons.

As a highly regulated industry, chemical manufacturers are under constant compliance pressure at several levels, not just federal. A clear view of end-to-end supply chain visibility helps mitigate supply chain challenges.

For example, a single federal hazardous materials violation can cost your company anywhere from nearly $80,000 to $500,000.

Failing quality controls and product recalls come with steep costs. Adding competition, transportation, supply chain challenges, and growing customer expectations means chemical manufacturers can’t afford to make any mistakes.

One of the more manageable costs is freight. It can be expensive and daunting to manage when your organization makes hundreds of shipments daily.

Accurate labeling becomes critical in terms of understanding what is in each shipment. Labeling is also vital when planning the classification and storage of the materials, plus determining workforce requirements. Without a straightforward labeling method that all workers can use, ensuring end-to-end supply chain visibility becomes a nightmare.

Consequences of Poor Freight Management

Poor freight management can lead to several different problems, such as:

  • Damaged, lost, or late deliveries
  • Processing delays causing customer complaints
  • Delays in downstream work orders
  • Greater freight costs caused by carrier policies
  • Wasted raw materials and space due to unaccounted inventory
  • Decreased productivity due to poor scheduling

This list doesn’t account for accidents, either. What if hazardous materials get mixed up with another order? How will you know? Mistakes like this can be disastrous and even fatal.

One report states that unreported delays lead to an increase in inventory carrying costs, as high as 30-40% of total inventory costs.

Every stage of the chemical supply chain, from raw materials to end-user delivery, requires a significant amount of planning, tracking and implementation. Companies today need a centralized and secured solution that offers flexibility with the ability to integrate, automate, and be optimized regardless of location.

Enterprise labeling solutions boost efficiency, accuracy, and reliability, plus significant cost savings in these highly regulated environments.

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Managing Hazardous Freight – Responsibility of the Manufacturer and Carrier

Penalties  for Violation of Federal Hazardous Materials

It’s the manufacturer’s responsibility for identifying hazardous materials, not the freight carrier’s. Whenever chemicals are being shipped, it’s up to the manufacturer to ensure its documentation, labeling and packaging all meet government standards.

Among the most common items on a hazardous materials manufacturer’s shipping checklist are ensuring all of the following items are current:

Hazardous Materials Manufacturer’s Shipping checklist

  • Contents meet the federal definition of “Hazardous Material”
  • Employees are properly trained
  • Correct packaging is used
  • Blocking and bracing requirements are outlined
  • Shipping manifest is complete and accurate
  • Emergency response information is included
  • Emergency response contact information
  • Certifications are complete
  • Security plans and processes are in place
  • Incident reporting procedures are being used
  • Product Compatibility is accounted for when shipping multiple chemicals together

Among the correct documentation requirements are:

  • Shipping name
  • Classification/ Division
  • Identification Number
  • Hazard warning labels and markings

Freight carriers have their responsibilities, too. These include validating the following:

  • Accuracy of the manufacturer’s packing lists.
  • Products are accurately described and adequately packaged.
  • Vehicle is suitable for shipping chemical products and is in good repair.

Carriers, as well, have additional responsibilities when transporting hazardous materials. These include:

  • Documents and manifests are accurate and complete
  • Proper labels and placards are in all required positions on the vehicle and the shipment
  • Loading and unloading meets safety guidelines
  • Employee training is complete
  • Security plans and processes are up to date
  • Incident reporting procedures are up to date
  • Adequate blocking and bracing meets government guidelines
  • Product compatibility is considered when shipping multiple chemicals together

The Real Cost of Freight

The actual cost of freight can only be realized after a product reaches its final destination. The final cost of deliveries can be influenced by a number of different fees for layovers, oversized cargo, after-hour deliveries, mispacked orders, incomplete manifests and damage incurred during shipping and unloading.

Large businesses making hundreds of shipments a day are often able to absorb shipping cost fluctuations that might severely hurt small and medium businesses. Unfortunately, manufacturers shipping products don’t always know what will trigger additional fees. These issues with inbound shipments can affect all departments in a supply chain: Sales, Planning, Purchasing, Production, Accounting, and possibly more.

Understanding your transportation process inside and out is the most effective solution to address supply chain challenges in the chemical industry. Staying on top of every process, every step of the way lets you track and monitor the movement and condition of products from start to finish. Lack of visibility into shipping is the most challenging thing to correct and can significantly impact both manufacturers and shipping companies.

55%

of Third Party Logistics suppliers (3PLs) said they either lost business or didn’t know if they lost business due to lack of visibility of their offerings.

Source: American Shipper

Outdated Systems

Even today, a surprisingly large number of companies continue to run their operations on antiquated inventory tracking systems designed to manage local-only supply chains. Successful supply chains operate globally, connecting production and procurement to sales and customer service. This way, everyone knows what’s in transit and when it’s due to arrive.

Maintaining freight visibility, especially for a company spread thin, is not an easy task. Obsolete, “legacy” systems make it an even more challenging objective.

A modern, cloud-based solution provides a complete end-to-end view of a supply chain network.

Switching operations to an integrated, multifunctional transportation management system (TMS) platform brings agility to your transportation network. This kind of switch offers better support for seamless communication, allowing companies to respond proactively to unexpected issues and customer demands.

Disparate Systems

Effective coordination and collaboration should be needed across multiple sites and warehouses to manage a supply chain effectively. Running a business on many different applications is one of the biggest roadblocks to total freight visibility. If your organization’s systems can’t connect with your vendors, there’s a good chance you’re missing something.

Having an inventory control system that communicates with your suppliers’ improves inventory management, communication and freight visibility. Connecting a Transportation Management System (TMS) with warehouse operations allows shippers to find detailed insights from inbound and outbound logistics within a single unified platform.

Lack of collaboration

Tracking shipments in real-time is the core of transportation management. When loads are distributed across different carriers, getting reliable data from the entire carrier network can be a real challenge. Trying to track shipping information manually leads to inaccurate quotes and customer complaints.

Combining  business intelligence and advanced analytics offers real-time shipping and location data visibility. The data delivers accurate tracking information directly from the supplier’s carrier to the shipper. Your customer will always know when their products are due to arrive.

Finding the Right Solution

Most logistics solutions are unable to display “right now” data on incoming shipments and outgoing orders. If you’re in the process of figuring out what solution will be best for your business,there are a few questions you’ll want to be sure you ask:

  • Does their system have AI-enabled software that automatically records vehicle movement, be it truck, ship or plane?
  • Can their system generate automated email alerts in real-time?
  • Does their solution connect the vehicle and the driver, letting you know when unexpected hurdles or opportunities occur?
  • Is their system integrated with other essential business systems your company uses?
  • Are they using software as a service technology providing your company access to your data any time, any where?
  • Are upgrades done automatically through cloud computing, eliminating the need for on-premise upgrades?
  • Is their software a complete package or just a part of the delivery ecosystem?
  • Can their system communicate data easily with other TMS systems, electronic logging devices or enterprise resource planning systems?

Final Thoughts

With the anticipation of continued, long-term shipping challenges, more chemical manufacturers see the need to take a close look at their supply chain management software. Knowing exactly where incoming shipments of raw materials and pre-assemblies are and when they’ll arrive, along with the ability to track products from your facility to your customer’s door, every step of the way, is becoming more and more critical to customer retention.

Best-in-class organizations are embracing newer technology to help spot and correct problem points before they become a roadblock. The goal is to reduce expenses by lowering total shipping costs.

Reach out to us to learn more about Microsoft Business Applications that can help enhance freight visibility.

About XcelPros

XcelPros is a Chicago-based company delivering transformation through technology. We offer business and technology solutions with deep industry experience in Chemical, Pharma, Life Sciences (including Medical Devices, Bio-Medical & Biotech), Insurance, Discrete Manufacturing, Process Manufacturing, Distribution and Food & Beverage.

XcelPros is a Microsoft Gold Partner, Direct Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) and a Systems Integrator (SI) offering software licensing, implementation and consulting services for Microsoft Dynamics 365, CRM, Microsoft Dynamics AX, Business Intelligence & Analytics (Power BI), SharePoint, Office 365 and Azure (Cloud, IOT, Microsoft Flow amongst many others).

Our mission is to provide integrated technology solutions that amplify impact and empower our customer’s businesses. We believe technology is the key enabler of exponential growth for us and our customers.

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

Call us toll-free – 1.855.411.0585 (or) visit www.xcelpros.com

How To Enhance Your Chemical Supply Chain

How To Enhance Your Chemical Supply Chain

How To Enhance Your Chemical Supply Chain 700 500 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

  • Today’s chemical industry is all about enhanced visibility and accountability.
  • Dealing with varying laws and regulations for different regions, fluctuating and lack of visibility across the board requires advanced solutions.
  • Integrating advanced technologies can reduce waste, unearth new products, find new markets and enhance a company’s status.

Change in Operations

Chemical companies, especially pharmaceutical companies, are seeing an increase in the need for global reach.

Since its first discovery, the effect Covid-19 has had on supply chains has been severe, regardless of product. As with many problems, this disease has also created numerous opportunities, especially for the chemical industry. Major companies continue to expand operations, delivering their products worldwide, including former “third world” countries with a growing thirst for everything from antiviral medications and cleaning products to beauty supplies.

“The chemical industry touches nearly every good-producing sector, making an estimated $5.7 trillion contribution to world Gross Domestic Product (GDP) through direct, indirect and induced impacts, equivalent to seven percent of the world’s GDP, and supporting 120 million jobs worldwide.” Source: The Global Chemical Industry

This data from the ICCA shows a considerable market share, making it safe to say that the chemical industry is looking at a secure future. Globalization, however, requires dealing with unique challenges and roadblocks, especially regarding the movement of chemicals from supplier to producer and consumer. Today’s supply chain management won’t work in silos. That idea is no longer sustainable or feasible. Today’s global marketplace requires expanded thinking, and that means going digital.

Today, planning a chemical supply chain means using effective, profitable methods where customers, suppliers, parts vendors, shippers, sales and production facilities are connected, regardless of their physical locations. Modern software like Microsoft Dynamics 365’s suite of modular programs can help chemical companies use modern digital methods and enhance the operational efficiency of their supply chain.

In this article, we will look at some of the key supply chain challenges in the chemical industry today and how technology is playing a key role in enabling forward-thinking companies prosper.

Top Challenges in Chemical Supply Chain

Every company has its own set of challenges, such as the size of the company, the locations of its manufacturing units and the structure of its supply chain. Regardless of an individual firm’s situation, all chemical manufacturing companies face common supply chain issues.

Typical chemical industry supply chain challenges include:

  • Distributing chemicals and related raw material in different countries. Companies struggle to keep up with the laws and regulations of varying regions. What’s safe and acceptable in one country may violate worker safety laws in another. This is especially true when it comes to hazardous chemicals.
  • Existing chemical supply chain management can fall prey to manual errors and miscommunications, causing potential safety hazards and monetary loss.
  • The bottom line often depends on a company’s ability to source raw materials. When prices for essential materials fluctuate, the entire supply chain can be affected.
  • Tracking material pricing and delivery details create a lot of data. This includes information regarding the chemicals, their compositions, material pricing, safety precautions, distribution lists, and more. Managing this information is a top concern for chemical supply chain managers.

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Figure: 1 Supply Chain Challenges in Chemical Industry

Supply Chain Challenges in Chemical Industry

3 Ways Technology is Reshaping the Chemical Supply Chain

01.Technology Enables Creating a Connected System

Today’s world is much more connected than it used to be. Systems are linked with smart devices, modern sensors and powerful software running it all. With these sophisticated enterprise resource planning systems in place, it becomes much easier to organize your chemical company’s supply chain. Modern systems can generate an alert when a violation occurs. These automatic alerts reduce manual errors or oversights.

A connected ecosystem provides top-to-bottom visibility in the supply chain, giving top-level decision-makers a clear picture and greater transparency across the board. This enables better accountability and the ability to find solutions to common problems and bottlenecks.

Figure: 2 New Technologies in Supply Chain

New Technologies in Supply Chain

02.AI Helps Create a Failsafe Supply Chain

Chemical supply chain management is highly susceptible to changes in prices of raw materials. To stay ahead of the curve, companies need to stay up to date on global, as well as regional changes to predict how these changes will impact their supply chains.

Artificial intelligence(AI) enabled solutions can analyze data in real-time, letting decision makers know what is likely to happen, how it will affect them and most importantly, what they can do to avoid or reduce any impact. This software can help these companies make necessary modifications to their supply chain strategy on the fly.

03.Using Cloud Computing to Manage Supply Chain Data

Data collation, cataloging and analysis, are intricate tasks. When performed by people, they can be prone to manual errors. However, with progressive technological tools like Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, companies can store unlimited data and analyze it much more efficiently. This categorized and analyzed data can be leveraged to generate insights that help fortify the company’s supply chain for smooth transitions and better efficiency.

Supply chains are the backbone of many industries. The chemical industry needs to adapt to changing times, and make use of the right technologies to harness maximum benefits.

Key Takeaways

Like any industry, the chemical industry is witnessing the need for change in its supply chain model. With the help of cutting-edge technological tools and applications, chemical supply chain management can be overhauled and optimized for enhanced efficiency. Is your supply chain ready for a change?

About XcelPros

XcelPros is a Chicago-based company delivering transformation through technology. We offer business and technology solutions with deep industry experience in Chemical, Pharma, Life Sciences (including Medical Devices, Bio-Medical & Biotech), Insurance, Discrete Manufacturing, Process Manufacturing, Distribution and Food & Beverage.

XcelPros is a Microsoft Gold Partner, Direct Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) and a Systems Integrator (SI) offering software licensing, implementation and consulting services for Microsoft Dynamics 365, CRM, Microsoft Dynamics AX, Business Intelligence & Analytics (Power BI), SharePoint, Office 365 and Azure (Cloud, IOT, Microsoft Flow amongst many others).

Our mission is to provide integrated technology solutions that amplify impact and empower our customer’s businesses. We believe technology is the key enabler of exponential growth for us and our customers.

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

Call us toll-free – 1.855.411.0585 (or) visit www.xcelpros.com

How a Cloud-Based ERP Helps Chemical Manufacturers

How a cloud-based ERP helps in Chemical Manufacturing?

How a cloud-based ERP helps in Chemical Manufacturing? 700 500 Xcelpros Team

Introduction to Modern Manufacturing

We’re seeing a radical change in production methods overtaking the chemical industry. Technology is gaining more attention in almost every sector, including manufacturing and distribution. The introduction of this new technology is forcing business leaders to upgrade their stack and replace outdated processes to meet the changing demands of the market. Today’s market requires a rapid transformation of the chemical manufacturing value chain to improve customer service, efficiency, productivity, quality, precision and pricing.

Complexity serves no purpose for business, yet it’s been part of the chemical industry for decades. Many companies still suffer from siloed department structures, disparate systems, inefficient data management and a lack of streamlined processes. Each of these complexities creates roadblocks that can affect a business’s bottom line. Most companies don’t realize how their complex independent system affects them until the lack of integration between the floor and functional areas becomes an issue. The lack of system integrations can lead to lost orders, or lower quality products because of suboptimal production runs or poor capacity planning.

Many of these companies suffer these effects for one reason: lack of an agile enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution. Chemical manufacturing companies must take action by redefining their business models and re-evaluating their IT roadmaps. The most successful chemical companies invest in transformation projects such as integrating a cloud-based ERP solution with operations to streamline processes, drive collaboration and efficiency and offer informed decision-making.

Figure 1Agile ERP Solutions in Various Phases of Chemical Manufacturing

Agile ERP Solutions in Various Phases of Chemical Manufacturing

Unforeseen Circumstances: COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic is still having an effect on every industry. Production and shipping departments are still facing challenges nearly two years after Covid-19 first appeared. Hundreds of companies have been forced to scale down their manufacturing operations by as much as 40%-60% in part because shipping containers are not where they’re needed. A lack of adequate containers, coupled with the loss of port workers and truck drivers means fewer raw materials are arriving at production plants. By February 2021, the global production of chemicals fell by 2.4%.

The inability to make products is still severely impacting the revenue of chemical companies. Rising transportation costs and a lack of raw materials mean priority has shifted to essential functions. This financial pressure is forcing companies to downsize their workforce while continuing operations. The result is added pressure on leadership to implement a rapid technology transformation.

An Agile Manufacturing ERP

Unlike other sectors, chemical industry businesses can’t simply stop production and send workers home, though some are pivoting operations to meet the demand of the market.

The chemical industry is facing a unique set of challenges including:

  • Fluctuating raw materials prices and their impact on margins
  • The need for constant product innovation
  • Increasing risks in supply chain and manufacturing
  • Tightening regulations
  • Market uncertainty, budget and controlling costs
  • Difficulty in resource management

To overcome these complexities, companies need to possess a detailed overview of the market. Having accurate information lets them identify shifting customer dynamics and plan their production runs appropriately. Cloud-based ERP systems for manufacturing can help identify market needs, shape the manufacturing processes, and inform a chemical company’s financial business processes.

Maximum your ROI with our cloud based ERP system tailored for chemical manufacturing companies.

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6 Ways Implementing an ERP Improves Chemical Manufacturing Operations

01.Improved Visibility

An agile ERP unifies data across departments, increasing the visibility of information. Organizations can share information, eliminating unnecessary infrastructure costs while providing higher data security. In a chemical company, process automation add-ons to a cloud ERP can ease resource overload by optimizing workforce utilization on the shop floor. All departments across the company—including inventory management, purchasing, accounting, human resource management, production and finance—function together with a minimum breakdown and maximum operational clarity. Versatile cloud-based ERP systems for manufacturing help companies access real-time data on a uniform platform, boosting throughput and reducing downtime.

02.Enhanced Flexibility

As market conditions fluctuate, the manufacturing supply chain needs to be highly adaptable. Using the right ERP solutions provides this needed flexibility. For example, a chemical company can share important updates plus revised manufacturing plans and schedules using an ERP’s supply chain planning system to plan stock availability.

An effective agile ERP system for chemical manufacturing should follow a tiered approach that includes:

  • A Secure database
  • A Simple user interface with easy access to key functions
  • Easy integration with external tools

Along with basic business requirements, the chemical industry needs to accommodate health and safety regulations to protect workers and the environment. Cloud-based ERPs give these companies the flexibility to customize solutions to suit their needs without moving data or altering the entire piece of software.

03.Better Collaboration and Transparency

Having the right computer software designed for your industry leads to better collaboration across a company. Complex business procedures are simplified, making them understandable to more people. These procedures can then be modified to meet changing government regulations. All modern systems have enough access controls to enable a disciplined method of functionality. A process and rule-based system improve transparency, helping organizations operate more efficiently.

04.Better Supply Chain Efficiency

Companies investing in newer, more robust and flexible ERP systems find that managing their supply chain becomes easier. They have access to more accurate, real-time data letting them plan shipments based on accurate demand forecasts. Data insights collected from an ERP system designed for chemical manufacturing can reduce inventory costs, enhance supply chain efficiency and optimize production processes. These improvements help build a robust, efficient supply chain, with the added benefit of reduced raw materials spending, increasing profit and capital growth.

05.Improved Production

Chemical companies often pay a hefty price when the system they use lacks functionality. The typical end-to-end chemical production process contains many steps with data moving between multiple hands and devices. Every time your data moves from one silo to another, it increases the chance of errors. A poorly designed manufacturing execution system can drain resources and add unplanned costs to the company. An agile, cloud-based ERP system for chemical manufacturing eliminates many of these unplanned costs.

06.Enhanced Customer Service

With the right ERP and customer relationship management (CRM) solutions in place, companies can more easily meet customer-centric objectives, including understanding the customers’ needs, improving service levels and enhancing their experiences. An agile ERP that helps companies meet the needs of their customers makes a huge difference in customer retention.

Final Thoughts

Every day, chemical manufacturing companies face challenges. What matters the most is how these challenges are handled. Whether you produce specialty chemicals, bulk chemicals, private-label, co-pack or you’re a contract manufacturer, having the right cloud-based ERP systems for manufacturing helps to build operational efficiency. Having software helps you bring products to market faster and reduce your operational costs while adding flexibility and responsiveness to any future market changes.

About XcelPros

XcelPros is a Chicago-based company delivering transformation through technology. We offer business and technology solutions with deep industry experience in Chemical, Pharma, Life Sciences (including Medical Devices, Bio-Medical & Biotech), Insurance, Discrete Manufacturing, Process Manufacturing, Distribution and Food & Beverage.

XcelPros is a Microsoft Gold Partner, Direct Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) and a Systems Integrator (SI) offering software licensing, implementation and consulting services for Microsoft Dynamics 365, CRM, Microsoft Dynamics AX, Business Intelligence & Analytics (Power BI), SharePoint, Office 365 and Azure (Cloud, IOT, Microsoft Flow amongst many others).

Our mission is to provide integrated technology solutions that amplify impact and empower our customer’s businesses. We believe technology is the key enabler of exponential growth for us and our customers.

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

Call us toll-free – 1.855.411.0585 (or) visit www.xcelpros.com

How to Choose the Right ERP Platform

How to Choose the Right ERP System for your Business Growth

How to Choose the Right ERP System for your Business Growth 700 500 Xcelpros Team

Introduction

Imagine your company’s software vendor has just announced it’s no longer supporting a program your staff uses, one that over the years has helped you grow your business. Processes continue to get more complicated with data continuing to expand at astronomical rates leaving older systems behind. Your company is left with no choice: It’s time to pick a new enterprise resource planning (ERP) system for your organization.

There are two major questions that need to be answered: Which solution best suits your company right now? Is there a different solution that will help your pharmaceutical or chemical company grow from a small or medium business (SMB) to a level able to challenge the industry giants?

Choosing the Right ERP System

Before your company can evaluate products on the market, you need to understand what will work best for you. ERP News suggests that if you do nothing else, it’s important to understand the needs of your business.

Before starting the ERP selection process, it is a good idea to analyze the business processes correctly and reveal the areas that you find incomplete or that need to be improved. Source: ERP News

Figue: 1 ERP selection process

ERP selection process

There are 10 critical steps to selecting the right ERP software package:

1.Ensuring it fits your company’s business needs. It’s important to understand what your organization’s needs are now and in the future; short, medium, and long term.

2.Planning an effective budget. You want to get the most effective business ERP system for your organization. What’s the total cost of ownership? What kind of return on investment (ROI) can you expect? Which is most likely to help your company profit and grow?

3.Verifying flexibility and scalability. Just because a package is a top-rated ERP solution today doesn’t mean it can keep up as your needs grow or as market conditions change.

4.Ensuring it can adapt to new technologies. Can your solution of choice support internet of things (IoT) data? Is it compatible with cloud computing? Does it allow work from any location? Is it usable with tablets, laptops and even mobile phones?

5.Is it compatible with your existing business software? Can the new system communicate with your legacy software and devices? Will your users access old data alongside new orders and processes easily?

6.What do similar-sized competitors use? Is there a standard ERP used in your industry? What do your clients, suppliers and business partners use? What do they like and what would they change if given a chance to start from scratch?

7.Research your implementation partner. How much experience do they have in your industry? How flexible is the software and how capable is your partner? Can your implementation partner customize the software to meet your specific, demanding needs?

8.Will it grow with your business? Can the enterprise resource planning application expand, not only in terms of users but into other areas you don’t need today, but might in the future?

9.Does this project have support from upper management? If not, going through all of the other steps is an exercise in futility. Effective research will make it impossible for top management to say no.

10.Does it have a familiar look and feel? Don’t underestimate the effect changing ERP systems will have on your worker. If you don’t have user support, making it work will be tough. One way to achieve that goal is by using software similar to other programs they already use.

One last question to continuously ask along the way might be “What do we have that works well right now? What do we need to function better?”

Top ERP Systems in the US

All of the software giants have ERP systems. Depending on who you read, different companies will be on top. The dominant players are well-known software companies: Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, Salesforce and others. In no particular order, the most frequently mentioned top ERP systems are:

  • Epicor ERP
  • IFS
  • Infor
  • Microsoft Dynamics 365
  • Oracle JD Edwards
  • Oracle NetSuite
  • Sage X3
  • Salesforce CRM
  • SAP Business One
  • SAP ERP
  • Syspro
  • Workday Financial Management

Researching offerings from each one of these major companies will take time and manpower. At this point, you’ve moved on to the next stage: evaluation.

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Evaluating ERP Software

According to SelectHub, choosing the right ERP system includes evaluating criteria based on your company’s needs. Typically, evaluation criteria includes:

  • Customer Relationship Management / Account Management
  • Accounts Payable Reporting
  • Bank Reconciliation
  • Benefits Administration
  • Capacity Requirements Planning
  • Material Requirement Planning
  • Bill/Build of Materials
  • Logistics Management
  • Inventory Management
  • Module Integration
  • Installation Type
  • Network Flexibility
  • Employee Training

Companies in the pharmaceutical and chemical industries should add:

  • U.S. Regulatory Compliance
  • International Regulatory Compliance

Not included in this list is one other critical criteria that can help determine if your company would be vulnerable to attacks: data security.

Where to Start

A great place to start your search for a flexible, versatile, secure and ultimately valuable ERP software package solution is by connecting with an experienced consulting service with a thorough understanding of highly-regulated industries. This should include upgrades and migration, which are commonly ignored.

There are many partners that can suggest a modern upgrade path including an in-depth migration assessment that is risk-free and cost-effective. Whoever you team with, you’ll want to make certain they have extensive experience in your industry with respect to project planning, risk management and strategy.

Our Recommendation: Microsoft Dynamics 365

Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP solutions are easily expandable, extremely secure, and backed by Microsoft’s Azure platform. Microsoft Dynamics 365 (D365) modules include Finance, Supply Chain Management, Business Central and other related—and integrated—products. D365 can be customized and enhanced with other functionality, including products specifically designed for chemical and pharmaceutical companies. Integrated Chemical Management is a perfect example as one of Microsoft’s preferred solutions for these industries.

As a Microsoft product, Dynamics 365 has an advantage over every other competing product: a familiar look and feel. Office 365 and its many predecessors are used by millions of people worldwide. This familiarity helps your staff learn new software without having to learn an entirely new method of working.

Final Thoughts

For every business, Selecting the right ERP system for every business starts with an honest evaluation of your company and its needs. Determining where you are and where you want to go are the first steps towards ensuring your investment ultimately turns a profit and helps your organization grow.

It’s a big job, selecting the right partner along with the right software package. Thorough research and proper planning will be key to a smooth transition, but the result will be a much better implementation of a much better product. Are you ready to get started?

About XcelPros

XcelPros is a Chicago-based company delivering transformation through technology. We offer business and technology solutions with deep industry experience in Chemical, Pharma, Life Sciences (including Medical Devices, Bio-Medical & Biotech), Insurance, Discrete Manufacturing, Process Manufacturing, Distribution and Food & Beverage.

XcelPros is a Microsoft Gold Partner, Direct Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) and a Systems Integrator (SI) offering software licensing, implementation and consulting services for Microsoft Dynamics 365, CRM, Microsoft Dynamics AX, Business Intelligence & Analytics (Power BI), SharePoint, Office 365 and Azure (Cloud, IOT, Microsoft Flow amongst many others).

Our mission is to provide integrated technology solutions that amplify impact and empower our customer’s businesses. We believe technology is the key enabler of exponential growth for us and our customers.

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

Call us toll-free – 1.855.411.0585 (or) visit www.xcelpros.com

The Role of an ERP System in Handling Hazardous Chemicals

The role of an ERP System in Handling Hazardous Chemicals

The role of an ERP System in Handling Hazardous Chemicals 700 500 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

  • The chemical manufacturing industry is constantly scrutinized for its impact on the environment. Organizations in this industry are required to maintain numerous documents including safety data sheets and hazard labels with pictograms.
  • Hazardous chemicals produced and used by the industry must be properly tracked and managed in compliance with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) and others.
  • The right ERP systems can help companies keep accurate records of these hazardous chemicals, in order to meet changing requirements.

Chemical Manufacturers – Managing Compliance

The chemical manufacturing industry is required by law to responsibly use, transport and dispose of hazardous chemicals.

According to a 2016 Harvard University report, “There are currently more than 85,000 chemicals in the US that make up the products in our daily lives and few, besides medications and pesticides, have been assessed thoroughly for safety.”

While prescription drugs and pesticides are carefully examined for their effects on humans and the environment, few other chemicals were not. That changed in 2016 with the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act. The Act gives the EPA, “the authority to ban new and existing chemicals that pose a risk to human health and the health of the environment.”

Manufacturers are an integral part of the chemical value chain. The overall supply chain— from raw materials to finished products—now requires hazard visibility that was lacking until recently.

How can manufacturers meet these compliance standards and document what happens to hazardous chemicals?

One way is through the use of an enterprise resource planning (ERP) software system that makes record maintenance, compliance and visibility easy to maintain. A reliable ERP system is no longer an option but a requirement for chemical companies wanting to act proactively and avoid environmental or human mishaps.

Adding Xcelpros’ Integrated Chemical Management solution to the One Microsoft Ecosystem provides a comprehensive way of ensuring compliance. ERP components cover Supply Chain, Finance, Manufacturing, Quality, Document Management and Chemical Data and Documents.

Being proactive

Business processes would be simpler for bulk chemical and toll manufacturers if they could regulate hazardous substances using inventory receipts from a purchase order or production order system. Dangerous chemicals can be monitored more closely, though, when using an integrated chemical management system that tracks each chemical in every stage from raw material to finished product and wastes.

Unified systems like ERPs can help identify hazardous substances and evaluate them. Manufacturers are then informed of the risk levels regarding the use and distribution of their chemical products.

Identifying these hazardous substances early also allows manufacturers to act proactively, resulting in better safety.

Book your free consultation to learn how an ERP system can help handle hazardous chemicals.

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Developing a Prototype/ Standard Operating Procedure for Worker Safety

Even after manufacturers implement hazardous chemical safety procedures, theres still room for error. Mishandling and mismanaging these chemicals can jeopardize workers’ safety. Since working with these chemicals is a part of the job, production and distribution becomes a serious business challenge. Documenting safe handling steps and ensuring dangerous products meet all current regulations helps protect the companies when accidents occur.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 and its suite of business tools integrates into SharePoint and OneDrive. SharePoint is a document collaboration system. OneDrive is more storage oriented. Combined with Dynamics 365, they provide the ability to develop a standard operating procedure or prototype process to handle chemicals. The result is a series of documents that help avoid chemical accidents and enhance worker safety on the shop floor.

Better Equipment Maintenance

Documenting equipment maintenance in a chemical plant is a tedious task. Microsoft Dynamics 365 boosted with Internet of Things (IoT) sensors eliminates much of this drudgery. It lets workers know when to take preventive actions. These maintenance “calls-to-action” are generated automatically by D365 systems. By removing the potential of errors from manual entry, the automatic notifications also boost regulatory compliance. This integrated system also lets chemical manufacturers create a complete equipment maintenance, repair and operations plan.

Figure: 1How an ERP System Helps Manage Hazardous Chemicals

How an ERP System Helps Manage Hazardous Chemicals

Systematic Record Maintenance

Many chemicals used by manufacturing companies require detailed labels. These labels include their chemical composition, risk factors, expiration dates, safety procedures and special handling instructions. Government agencies require a consolidated record listing the chemicals, their quantities, distribution, costs, etc.

Manually tracking the massive volume of data in legacy systems leads to errors. Microsoft Dynamics 365 with Integrated Chemical Management is one way to properly maintain that chemical data. Information is made visible at the individual chemical or consolidated level. Chemical companies are assured of safely using, distributing and disposing of their hazardous chemicals through an automated workflow that makes it easy to add and edit chemical data.

Meeting Compliance Standards

The ERP systems described earlier apply to regulations at many levels, not just those from the federal government. They can include notifications of additional requirements based on the shipping destination. That location can be one community within a nation or a different country.

Chemical companies looking for an ideal ERP solution that helps meet local and international documentation requirements should take a close look at what D365 and ICM have to offer.

According to the 2017 Hazard Communication Survey:

  • 70% of participants pointed to compliance as the single largest priority for their company.
  • 80% of them cited monthly obligations to create, print, or affix workplace labels to containers in their inventory as a challenge.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 and ICM provide an embedded chemical management solution for storing chemical data. That data becomes a globally harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) compliant labels and Safety data sheets. Using D365 and ICM is an ideal way to reduce GHS-related compliance issues.

Summary

An advanced ERP system like Microsoft’s D365 can easily become the backbone of an organization’s hazardous chemical record keeping. This sophisticated software system helps the company function and grow while also keeping the environment and communities safe. Microsoft’s Chemical Manufacturers Supply Chain solution provides a cutting-edge system to ease record maintenance, streamline the overall chemical supply chain, track inventory and warehouse management processes and create a platform for productivity and growth.

Key Takeaways

  • Integrating chemical data into an ERP system is necessary for chemical manufacturers to comply with rules and regulations from many sources.
  • Microsoft’s integrated ERP software working with ICM provides a smooth flow of records. It tracks hazardous chemicals, prints GHS labels and generates safety data sheets.
  • Chemical manufacturers concerned about worker safety, protecting the environment and avoiding government penalties will only benefit from the right ERP system.

Explore our Products page to learn about the different ERP Solutions available to jumpstart your evaluation process.

About XcelPros

XcelPros is a Chicago-based company delivering transformation through technology. We offer business and technology solutions with deep industry experience in Chemical, Pharma, Life Sciences (including Medical Devices, Bio-Medical & Biotech), Insurance, Discrete Manufacturing, Process Manufacturing, Distribution and Food & Beverage.

XcelPros is a Microsoft Gold Partner, Direct Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) and a Systems Integrator (SI) offering software licensing, implementation and consulting services for Microsoft Dynamics 365, CRM, Microsoft Dynamics AX, Business Intelligence & Analytics (Power BI), SharePoint, Office 365 and Azure (Cloud, IOT, Microsoft Flow amongst many others).

Our mission is to provide integrated technology solutions that amplify impact and empower our customer’s businesses. We believe technology is the key enabler of exponential growth for us and our customers.

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

Call us toll-free – 1.855.411.0585 (or) visit www.xcelpros.com