Current biotechnology issues

Top Concerns of Biotechnology Industry Current Issues

Top Concerns of Biotechnology Industry Current Issues 1920 1080 shahid.anis

At a Glance

  • The world has turned its hopes towards biotech companies to reduce the spread and impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • The biotech industry is working continuously towards fortifying healthcare systems, enabling serosurveillance to gauge the spread of disease in a community and to aid in the development of a vaccine.
  • With governments across the globe funding research and production costs to enable biotech companies to win this battle against time, there are various operational, technological, and workforce concerns that these companies face that need to be addressed with strategic maneuvering from the apex.


The Biotech and Life Sciences industry is one of the most sought after sectors this year in conjunction with the pharmaceutical industry as a solution to the current Covid-19 pandemic. Health experts across the globe have agreed that highly effective treatments, including the development of a vaccine, would be needed to reduce and eventually stop the spread of novel coronavirus, allowing cultures around the world to get back to normal activity. While some countries have fared better than others in handling the Covid-19 health crisis, there are still looming fears of new waves. Current Biotechnology issues are expected to normalize with an effective antidote or vaccine.

While the biotech industry sprung into action to begin developing a solution almost immediately, there’s still a long way to go. Challenges faced by biotechnology have been as real as the crisis itself. While the biotech and life sciences industry has a primary role in addressing pandemics like that of COVID-19, it’s not immune to economic downturns, supply chain disruptions, workforce shortage, or any other challenges.

Below are some of the pain points that the Biotech and Life Sciences industry are facing:

01.Roadblocks and Hurdles

All over the world, various biopharma companies, both privately and through government-funded efforts, are performing clinical trials for different potential vaccines and drugs. In 63 days after the genome sequence of the novel coronavirus was shared with the world, USA’s Moderna Biotech Inc. had developed its mRNA candidate to battle the pandemic. Being able to move at a pace never seen before requires immense talent, robust AI-enabled software setup to perform bioinformatics processes, and exceptional R&D infrastructure.

The journey from vaccine development to approval and administration on a global scale is wrought with numerous additional steps and hurdles, requiring mobilization of assets and task forces, recruitment of volunteers, conducting clinical trials, collation, and analysis of humongous amounts of data, smoothly operating supply chains, enormous monetary investments, and a well-equipped production and distribution infrastructure.

02.Collateral Delays

The spread of the coronavirus pandemic brought most of the world to a screeching halt, with many businesses having been forced to close. A result of this is disruptions to major clinical trials and research work on drugs and vaccines for other life-threatening diseases like cancer, HIV, autoimmune diseases, etc. These are collateral delays, and the biotech industry is now challenged with not ignoring existing health issues while still focusing on developing a solution for the ongoing pandemic.

03.Global Distribution

Health experts and top executives at significant biotech companies agree that even if we succeed in making an effective vaccine for Covid-19, there would be a need for immense strategic and operational changes in the current global and local supply chains to ensure that it’s produced and distributed to everyone around the world. With disruptions to most supply chains, only adding to challenges faced by the Biotechnology industry, it will be interesting to see how these organizations address these issues.

Figure 1Covid-19 Vaccine Development in Phases: The Role of Biotech and Pharma


A global health crisis of this scale requires a humanitarian approach to ensuring treatment is available to all. This is why most pharmaceutical and biotech companies have agreed that the first or even second batches of any drugs or vaccines they produce(should they prove to be valid) will be distributed at non-profitable rates. We shouldn’t, however, neglect the current biotechnology issues who are investing millions of dollars in rising to the occasion. These organizations will need a blueprint for steady business growth and monetary returns in the post-COVID era.

05.Remote Solutions

Now more than ever, biotech companies need highly skilled and experienced scientists, health experts, and paramedical personnel who can make this journey towards vaccine development smooth. With most businesses still not fully operational to support new workplace requirements, more remote access solutions will have to be developed and embraced to keep operations moving forward.

Role of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Tools in Biotech Companies

We have spoken about some ongoing challenges faced by the biotechnology industry in the war against Covid-19. It is important to note that current biotechnology issues are handled with strategic realignment and robust Enterprise Resource Planning tools. An ERP tool such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain enables biotech companies of all sizes to optimize their supply chains, mitigate costs on manual labor, avoid redundant efforts, automate billing cycles, and other enterprise-level processes.

Key Takeaways

These are challenging times for organizations in the Biotech and Life Sciences industry. They now, more than any other sector, continue to work at unprecedented speeds to help the world end this global crisis. Billions of lives are at stake, waiting anxiously for a solution to the ongoing pandemic. There are many challenges that the biotech sector needs to address from disrupted supply chains to the need for multi-layered coordination for clinical trials. With strategic intervention by strong leadership and the use of modern robust tools, these challenges and more, can all be overcome.

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

CRO Strategic Partnerships

How life sciences cros are changing to strategic partners?: the covid-19 effect

How life sciences cros are changing to strategic partners?: the covid-19 effect 1920 1080 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

  • The biotechnology and life sciences industry is at a cusp of major changes due to COVID-19. There is a lot of fluidity built up due to the pandemic and a huge dependency on government rules, FDA regulations, intricate drug production, and overall research and development at this time.
  • These firms are looking for CROs who can take the role of strategic partners that can manage their life sciences research & development. The preference of CROs has already shifted from traditional to technologically adaption that can handle the rapid pace needed due to the existing COVID-19 emergency.
  • The call for innovation and increased collaboration amongst the CROs have led to the onset of a new, evolved era of project management that is more comprehensive improving customer engagement and experience.

The Role of a Contract Research Organization

Project management is considered to be the backbone of any Contract Research Organization be it for biopharmaceutical development, commercialization, preclinical research, clinical research, clinical trial management, or pharmacovigilance. Pharmaceutical/ life sciences companies outsource R&D works to CROs for better time management, test data maintenance, and focus on concrete results and help address the current pandemic.

While the role of CROs was not very well defined in the early 2000s, there has been a gradual evolution of CROs moving from being mere project management vendors to strategic partners for life science organizations. Contract work in various steps of the life cycle from R&D to commercialization and sponsored clinical trials have become a necessity for the research and development wings of any biotechnology or pharmaceutical company.

Active engagement with CROs has proven to help in accelerating the process while managing the details efficiently and now these Contract Research Organizations need to be prepared to streamline their project work without a process breakdown.

CROs have evolved from a target-based model to become more a strategic partner to life sciences and biotechnology companies.

For any pharmaceutical company, conducting sponsored trials to drive their products safely and quickly to the market is an important aspect of overall project success. Earlier, these projects were outsourced to CROs with a limited scope of time and budget management. However, now the CROs are expected to manage risks, apply newer tools and techniques to maintain transparency throughout the clinical trials and related processes. The Rapidly expanding industry is posing a demand on CROs to keep up with market conditions.

The global market for clinical trial services to biopharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device companies is forecast to grow at 12%
year on year up to 2021. Contract Research Organizations Global Market Report

This stat is quickly becoming obsolete due to the current state of affairs and the need for contract research and development services have already grown tremendously to aid the life sciences companies in their quest to find a vaccine for the pandemic.

FIGURE 1 Steps for Right Partner Selection

The growth and general technological disruptions in project management have led to a progressive change in the roles that CROs play while managing the sponsored clinical trials.

What are some of the major areas reflecting this rapid and definite evolution?

  • End-to-End Strategic Partnership: CROs are no longer just outsourced vendors for life sciences companies to carry out Pharma research, or conduct clinical trials in a stipulated amount of time. As the intricacies of the current world have already changed every aspect of project management, CROs are now expected to take complete ownership in the strategic moves of a Pharma company and transform into a strategic partner to make their clients successful. End-to-end coordination with pharmaceutical companies gives Contract Research Organizations enough time and stability to focus on core research. This aids towards capturing the right kind of clinical data to help move the drug forward to commercial markets.
  • Bringing Innovation to the Table: CRO project management is not just about completing given tasks while sticking to some fictitious timelines. The needed collaboration between CROs and their life sciences customers has increased, giving rise to a need for better project management methodologies. These Organizations now handle the ‘cradle to grave’ process of the contract research work. Pharmaceutical companies expect innovative, out-of-the-box solutions to manage risks, cut down costs, and push the boundaries of paramedical science while complying with the government’s rules and regulations. CRO project management has changed from being reactive (problem-solving) to becoming proactive (anticipating the problems and providing feasible solutions for them well in advance).

FIGURE 2 Key Parameters CROs are Assessed on

  • Being Technologically Ahead: Companies can start with 3 main technology initiatives – transitioning to cloud, strong workflows to moving processes/procedures forward, and to use online collaboration tools embedded with the overall infrastructure.

All of these above points are leading to a cumulative phenomenon of faster results, lesser errors, better team management, and overall improved communication between the client and the CRO for the entire project life cycle.

Customer Experience and Engagement

A crucial part of Project Management is to actively engage clients on various projects that require constant collaboration. Customer experience and engagement were given less importance in the past and can no longer be ignored. In order to make the strategic partnership a tactical success for both parties engaged in the contract, proper customer experience and engagement has become a crucial step in the life cycle of the project. If we were to take a 2 pronged approach on how customer experience can be handled, one is through the processes and procedures laid out in the engagement, and the other is through the slew of technologies and tools that can be used to make it a seamless experience.

Connect your processes, customer data, and tools with Dynamics 365 and the Microsoft Cloud

Customer Experience (CX) and Customer Engagement (CE) can be made better for a CRO

01.Process and Procedures

Making some minor tweaks in existing processes and procedures is needed to enhance the customer experience and engagement during a project lifecycle. Below are some of the areas to consider for better CX and CE:

  • Improving team management
  • Quick onboard of experts for clinical trials
  • Effective cost management due to tightened budgets
  • Proactive management of risks in the clinical trial process
  • Mitigation strategies of probable risks
  • Project monitoring and reporting with detailed analytics to better understand research data
  • Effective resource planning to optimize resources for multiple projects.
  • Simplify milestone-based billing
  • Improve deviation-tracking methods to remove unknowns that are notified earlier rather than later in the project lifecycle.

There is a need for a next-generation CX/ CE platform in life sciences organizations: a disruptive platform capable of replacing old generation CRM systems to accelerate development and drive demand. Microsoft Dynamics 365 is one such system that offers all tools and capabilities within one comprehensive ecosystem.

The seamless integration between Dynamics 365, robust cloud and AI offerings, and familiar tools such as Office 365 enables companies to rapidly develop a powerful, intelligent platform. It is a class-leading life science customer engagement platform that functions across mobile devices – which is a large market need.

02.Digital Advancement

This point was covered briefly in section 2 and taking it further, companies would absolutely require the below to enhance their customer experience and engagement:

  • Move from legacy systems to the cloud
  • Use advanced analytics for risk prediction and mitigation
  • Systematically manage their R&D database with digital applications
  • Improve collaboration with clients through collaboration tools
  • Reducing human intervention and semi-automate project management workflows
  • Customer self-service and supplier self-service portals to better manage the engagement from both the customer and a subcontractor’s end
  • In-line reporting through key project milestones to customer to build trust and visibility

03.The Inevitable Evolution

The evolution in the role of CRO to manage R&D through project management is leading to greater expectations by their life sciences clients. Pharmaceutical companies are looking for CROs that are not afraid to push boundaries and are adept at the latest tools and techniques. Since pharmaceutical firms are aiming for greater customer satisfaction, use of latest technologies, and overall better project management, they are engaging with CRO’s at an integral level.

This in turn is causing CROs to be more innovative and agile in their approach when it comes to project management. This interdependent relationship will not only be beneficial for clinical trials, but it will also improve the overall research and development process of a pharmaceutical company. A well-managed and organized workflow-based environment will be of great benefit to both the CRO and their life sciences customers who engage in a contract with them. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain would make a good comprehensive system to aid a CRO to become better strategic partners to Pharma and Biotech companies.

Figure 3How to Create Successful Sourcing Partnerships?

Modernize Finance & Operations: Increase your speed of business with unified processes and predictive analytics

The speed of doing business is increasing. As companies seek to stay competitive, they must rely on technology to provide agility and the capabilities needed to excel. However, many organizations are still running on ERP systems that are complex, inflexible, and impede their ability to innovate and grow.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 F&O helps you to

  • Elevate your company’s financial performance and streamline its supply chain management
  • Innovate with connected operations in an extensible platform
  • Drive HR operational excellence through organizational agility and centralized data
  • Unify the processes listed above with predictive analytics and intelligence
  • Track and trace inventory management
  • End-to-end customer project management

Key Takeaways

  • Throughout the world, CROs are transforming from a time-bound project management role towards a more performance and results-oriented role in order to keep up with the current state of the market conditions.
  • As technology is evolving, so are the tools of project management. CROs are equipping themselves with these tools for better time management, budget management, and risk mitigation.
  • Technology that allows smoother onboarding of customers and suppliers to handle clinical trials will be a need of the hour. Pharmaceutical companies are looking for CROs who can be their end-to-end project execution partners while providing innovative solutions for seamless research and development or testing processes.
  • While time management and cost management will always be top priorities for CROs when it comes to any project, they will also need to develop adjacent digital competencies to offer more ROI for funds spent by pharmaceutical companies.

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

Agility in daily operations using the Power Platform

Agility in daily operations using the Power Platform 1500 800 Xcelpros Team


COVID-19 is testing the supply chain and manufacturing operations around the world. Companies have their hands full dealing with workers who have become ill or those who are required to be home due to lack of raw materials delivery and limited work hours. Now more than ever, businesses are evaluating how to improve efficiency, lower cost, and increase operational performance. The immediate question on everyone’s mind is, “how are we coming out of this crisis”?


of Fortune 1000 companies are seeing supply chain disruptions from COVID-19

Fortune , February 21 2020

While employees’ safety is a top priority during this pandemic, mitigating the impact on the day-to-day operations is top of mind. CEOs and CFOs are facing the unprecedented challenge of pivoting product demands and preserving cash flow that has grown over the last few weeks. Implementing a do more with less attitude while gaining a few quick wins in the process can build the momentum needed to keep companies moving forward.

FIGURE 1 The Ecosystem of an Integrated Supply Chain

Pivoting the Plan

The role of the CIO is critical in risk mitigation strategies in numerous ways. First, drafting a plan to determine how the COVID crisis is affecting the infrastructure short term and keeping operations running as smoothly as possible but also long term as projects and roadmap budgets will most definitely be affected. We’ve seen in the last 30 days, moving as many employees to remote work without disruption has been at the center of many organizations. Tools like Microsoft Teams and Skype have allowed organizations to continue communication, and their integration with Office 365 is allowing familiar tools to ease the transition.

Keeping the Lines Open

Not all employees of production and distribution companies are working from home. Due to increased demand for products, thousands of workers have been deemed essential, many having to operate on a 24/7 model. These facilities are finding themselves adding shifts, ramping up capacity, and working to keep warehouses stocked with both raw materials and finished products. Service providers for equipment maintenance and repair are another industry with workers ensuring that machines stay online and working correctly.

FIGURE 2 Microsoft Power Platform: An Integrated Solution

It is during this time that having tools in place can help to expedite communication between facilities and these providers. The Microsoft Power Platform is a creative solution; this low code-no-code platform can be implemented in a matter of hours to generate a quick win. A no-code solution can be valuable when needing to make rapid or immediate decisions while maintaining critical operations.


of all App Development will be low code by 2024 as estimated

Source: Gartner

By using PowerApps, workers can get access and insights into machines that may be headed for trouble before they experience downtime, or even be alerted to scheduled downtime for cleaning to comply with the CDC’s Expected Business Response Plan. Power Apps can connect to hundreds of business systems and databases, making it easy to connect workers with the existing processes and data are easily integrated with Microsoft Outlook to keep those within the supply chain informed.

Increased development agility

Automate and simplify repetitive and time-consuming processes to launch faster and reduce errors across your organization.


Speed and savings

Reduce time & cost building web and mobile applications, enabling you to get through your development backlog.


Do less but achieve more

Fully managed, with preset data models and common entities, out of the box business logic and rules, that is fully customizable to your business needs.


Meeting the Demand

Using forecast planning during normal operations helps to predict the flow of material through the supply chain. However, in times of crisis, using a demand planning model is essential. By conducting a daily “What-if analysis,” scenario planning, and Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP) using a Consumption Driven Model along with industry and customer knowledge, companies mitigate as much risk as possible. As we have seen in the past few weeks, carmakers like Tesla, Ford, and General Motors have been able to quickly adjust their production lines from automotive parts to assist with the shortage of ventilator parts.

Executives are continually evaluating sales and budget plans. Power Automate can help to reduce the number of tedious manual processes when decisions cannot wait for lots of analysis and provide a creative, cost-effective strategy for businesses to connect their existing legacy systems. A perfect example would be the workflows for approvals that are activated in a matter of hours instead of days. As the workforce is becoming a hybrid of remote and on-site team members, this can reduce the time spent tracking down approvals and keep things moving. For managers who are used to adjusting production lines and need to approve adjustments on the fly, all while staying compliant, getting the right notifications is critical. Using Power Bi for current and future analysis will also lend a hand when developing future emergency response plans.

Staying Ahead

In addition to machine maintenance, keeping facilities clean and informed based on CDC guidelines is critical to keep operations running and employees safe. The Power Platform has deployed several new tools ahead of the April release.

  • Crisis Communication – It is a solution that combines Microsoft Power Apps, Microsoft Power Automate, Microsoft Teams, and SharePoint to coordinate information sharing and team collaboration in response to evolving conditions. Employees can report work status and make requests, and admins can use the app to push updates and news including RSS feeds from the World Health Organization (WHO), The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or local authorities, or emergency contacts to different locations—all accessible on the web, mobile, or in Teams.
  • Power Virtual Agents Crisis Response Bot – the Power Virtual Agents team has released instructions to build a Virtual Agent Crisis Response FAQ Bot that helps people get to the information they need quickly in a chat interface you can embed on your company website.

Power Apps Drives Business Transformation

The recent study conducted by Forrester Consulting shows how businesses reduced development costs and increased overall efficiency using Power Apps. Results are for a composite organization based on interviewed customers.

362%ROI over three years

70% Reduction in app development costs

3.2 hrsLine-of-business employee productivity improvement per week

Source: The Total Economic Impact of Power Apps commissioned study, March 2020

Extraordinary Challenge

The COVID-19 crisis may have unknown long term implications, so taking the time to plan is essential. Understand that putting out today’s fires is the most critical task, re-evaluating the existing roadmap and gaining a few quick wins in the process will help relieve some of the anxiety. Over the next few weeks, as we hope to get back to a more stabilized business environment, having tools in place to watch markets and consumer behavior and report that data back to your teams will help companies to move forward with more confidence. Tools like the Microsoft Power Platform will allow the runway of significant gains with little cost to get started.

We are all grateful for those companies that are quick to rise to the call to keep America moving forward. We extend a ‘Thank You’ to the countless pharmaceutical, chemical, and distribution companies who are working despite risks to keep us supplied with the essentials.

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

Enhance Supply Chain Planning within Pharmaceutical operations

Enhance Supply Chain Planning within Pharmaceutical operations 1600 1000 Xcelpros Team


The COVID-19 pandemic has created significant changes in market dynamics, forever changing the face of the global economy. Along with the pandemic’s impact on our daily lives, there has been a ripple effect in the day-to-day operations of Pharmaceutical manufacturing. As industries around the world continue to adjust to changes, Pharmaceutical manufacturers in specific, are noticing technology, process, and infrastructure gaps that are impeding growth and sustainability. Additionally, businesses that were forced to slowdown production during the initial stages of COVID-19 and are now getting back to full momentum, are finding it difficult to manage end-to-end operations.

Pharmaceutical companies cater to a customer base that is dependent on their products to manage patient health. This requires additional efficiency in everything they do, especially for planning supply-demand. The primary objective is to not halt manufacturing, as the dependencies can impact the entire Pharma value chain. Since pharma companies are quality controlled, there is an additional time factor that comes into the picture while determining the right deadlines to produce finished product and deliver to end customers. The entire process from drug discovery to packaging for delivery is a series of collaborations within the supply chain before the final product reaches the end customer.

Roughly 66% of the surveyed were concerned that COVID-19 could result in a possible supply chain disruption for pharmaceutical products. The statistic illustrates concern levels on possible drug supply chain disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic as of April 7, 2020. Matej Mikulic | Statista

The Planner’s Panorama

Due to the rapid changes in the global supply chains, production planners at pharmaceutical manufacturing are now tasked with surveying inventory and operations with a new set of eyes. Organizations need to be more watchful of new safety standards related to inventory storage, retrieval, usage of material, and equipment maintenance. Tools like Visual Gantt Charts are becoming invaluable for planning and managing inventory. The ability to depict a weekly schedule of operations for different production jobs and a clear picture of resource capacity is a core requirement for any good production planner. The production planner’s prime focus is to ensure there are enough raw materials and resources (equipment or human resources) to ensure a near-to-perfect supply-demand ratio. An additional element that supports a planner is to have inventory visibility within their current warehouse and plan transfers of inventory from overflow warehouses.

Simple visual planning methods are no longer adequate to correctly manage all inventory-supply-demand processes and ensure proper movement of transactions across the company’s supply chain.

What planners need is a robust system that can track supply – demand by including a complex set of parameters such as lead times, working calendars, the capacity of equipment and capability of vendors to ship materials on a timely manner. Planners also need the ability to alert different departments of the next steps based on plans made for upcoming weeks or months. Any modern system should be able to offer required insights including the current state of batches manufactured and available equipment for future work orders.

A production planner often prefers handling the supply chain proactively rather than reactively by responding to the demands. The planner needs visibility of when the finished product will be ready, tested, and released for shipment. This type of planning helps overcome downtime and shortages in raw materials, which is a common issue in most companies. Responding quickly to changing inventory is one way for planners to be more proactive.

Even today, many small and medium-sized pharmaceutical companies continue to use a combination of excel sheets, inventory reports, and some old school methods when managing their supply chain. As industries continue to face changes related to the COVID-19 pandemic, only companies that have thought ahead and have invested in an automated AI-based planning system that can assess and predict future demand as well projected resource plans will be best equipped to handle their product delivery on time and in full. Companies now need a quicker and more streamlined process to take their products to market.

The Role of a Master Planning and Scheduling System

01. MPS Driven by Demand

The goal of a Master Planning and Scheduling (MPS) system is to provide suggestions to meet material requirements. If set up correctly, MPS systems respond to demand and plan supply accordingly. Demand usually comes from sales orders recorded in the Order Management system. Master planning ties Planned orders for Production or Procurement to corresponding sales orders. The supply requirements are then calculated based on settings for each item that is included in the Finished Goods Bill Of Material(BOM). The coverage settings of an item show precisely how and when to send feedback with a view of current stock levels or foreseen changes in stock levels from existing planned orders in place.

02. Planned Supply

MPS systems use algorithms for tracking the demand from sales orders, customer forecasts, safety stock levels, and calculating net-requirements for purchase and manufacturing. MPS also pulls together independent or groups of demands that trace back to the production of intermediate and raw materials to be consumed in different Manufacturing and Packout processes.

Determining the quantities required would depend on the inventory quantity setup of any single item. The requirement could be specific for a static batch size or dynamic quantities based on the demand needs. MPS systems provide planners the capability to either consolidate supplies across multiple demand orders, offering a comprehensive supply and demand management experience, or consider only the net change from the start of a full production run.

03. Lead Times

The ability to define lead times is critical to a master scheduling system. For instance, if a user enters a purchase lead time the system should account for the time it takes to receive raw materials after placing a purchase order.

I. Purchase Lead Times

Purchase lead times for a supplier can be set up based on different factors including

  • Pricing agreements
  • Time in days that a supplier can accommodate
  • Transportation time, and
  • Any other unforeseen coverage settings

Within Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain, a purchase lead time found for a specific supplier and item combinations takes precedence over general settings of an item. This applies when (1) no vendor is assigned to the item, and (2) the Find trade agreements checkbox is selected via Master planning parameters form > Planned orders tab.

II. Production Lead Times

Production lead times are the details that can be configured in coverage settings; however, these values are disregarded when items are produced via routes. Routes, defined in the modern Production control modules, consider available resources (people or equipment) and their working schedule. In this situation, production lead times needed to create finished goods do not have to be specified by a user, as they are calculated automatically.

Planning for the Unknown

There are still unknowns within pharmaceutical production and operations. Without the right system, planners will struggle to retrieve the data needed to better streamline the manufacturing process. To help with this, Production Planners can benefit from valuable information like –

  • Batch production history and patterns of user behavior that show actual production lead times
  • Quality standards of work-in-process production run based on raw materials that are procured from specific suppliers
  • Quantity yields of past batches, actual scrap percentages based on changes in production routes and resources
  • Accurate actual batch costings in comparison with estimates

These additional details provide supplementary insights to help improve production, downtime planning, maintenance, and most importantly, promise dates to customers. Production planners need to be equipped with a system that presents elaborate sets of insights and actionable suggestions on how to plan/schedule production operations. A well reliable tool empowers a company to drive efficiency and growth.

An AI-ML & Analytics Centric Approach

Eventually, and soon, a standard planning system will no longer be capable for the Pharmaceutical supply chain to operate efficiently. Systems that reduce human effort, learn from history, and improve daily operations will become necessary to overcome inefficiencies. At the same time reporting possible issues and roadblocks that impact orders as well as deliveries, improves the overall plan vs actual picture. Production planners are proving to be more efficient when they have real-time and historical analytics available during the planning process to make better decisions while managing inventory and orders. A guided method of operating and reporting through actionable data can make your company a powerhouse within the industry. An intelligent and optimized planning system can help eliminate guesswork for the production planners in build a competitive edge in the market.

Final Thoughts

The supply chain within a pharmaceutical company is only as efficient as the ability of a planner to proactively coordinate supply, demand, and inventory. A robust planning system with an emphasis on analytics and guided user behavior can play a key role in building efficiency and moving shipments out the door, along with meeting the required quality standards.

Xcelpros has designed Microsoft’s offerings to enhance planning for Pharmaceutical, Chemical, or Biotech industries. For more information on Production planning and Scheduling tools within Microsoft – Contact us!

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

Maintaining an Integrated Supply Chain: Key Solutions

Maintaining an Integrated Supply Chain: Key Solutions 1280 720 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

  • Many organizations that fail to recognize supply chain as a strategic business function, tend to not move to a digital supply chain and lose out on the benefits that come with the transformation.
  • Traditionally, manufacturing companies have treated supply chain as a transactional function, a bargaining chip to reduce price and secure on-time delivery of raw materials. The modern supply chain is viewed as a strategic asset to the organization, integrated deeply with other business functions, aimed to increase customer satisfaction.
  • Companies unable to track hidden costs across the supply chain lose track of actual costs, damaging their bottom line. Proper supply chain monitoring can save anywhere from 20-30% of distribution costs.

The Supply Chain Challenge

Supply chain management is one of the most critical elements of success for any business in today’s global market. However, its application is undermined by many companies as business leaders face challenges to control the cost of a supply chain without compromising on its efficiency. Since COVID-19 we have witnessed drastic changes in methods and methodologies for streamlining supply chain operations. It, however, doesn’t take away some key fundamentals required for healthy functioning of a company’s supply chain and inventory management.

According to the Logistics Bureau, for companies running global operations, their supply chain cost could rise as high as 90% of their total expenditure.

The Supply Chain Slowdown

The problem lies in poor strategic management. Supply chain managers are focusing on cost minimization, most of them without having detailed field knowledge of how the system works, and the result is it is impacting other areas of the process such as inventory optimization, ‘on-time delivery in full (OTDIF)’ and customer satisfaction. Trying to improve one KPI is resulting in a cost spike in other areas of operations, which can have a long-term impact on revenue.

FIGURE 1 Where Business Leaders are Falling Short

A robust supply chain needs strategic alignment and planning in line with the overall business functioning. For example, in order to control cost, you need to first understand the key drivers of cost in the supply chain and most importantly how to measure the supply chain cost. While the strategy is important, establishing an integrated supply chain requires a synchronized approach to planning, execution, and application of technologies in order to create an end-to-end unified system across the entire organization.

FIGURE 2 Key Elements of an Integrated Supply Chain

In this article, we will touch upon some interesting facts that make an appealing case as to why the Supply Chain strategy needs to be digitally enhanced and properly integrated with other parts of the business.

Switching from Traditional to Next-Gen Digital Supply Chain

The rapidly evolving business landscape is disrupting the way companies function. Moreover, the advent of the latest technologies and growing competitive markets are driving companies to push their limits and redefine supply chain operations.

Is your business ready to embrace a digital supply chain as a key distinguishing factor for its competitive advantage?

Most SMBs are holding back the transformation due to the fear of possible risks that could surface. Per our industry experience, it’s due to the age-old perspective in which company leadership is analyzing their supply chain. In most of the cases, we found that they are way behind the entire purview and don’t realize the true potential of a well-integrated, technologically advanced supply chain.

Traditionally, business leaders focused on pricing and product quality, but priorities today have completely shifted. Major Objectives and Key results of organizations are geared towards optimized supply chain and operations to boost businesses forward. With Industry 4.0, advanced analytics, and robotic process automation rising, companies are realizing the need for an integrated supply chain. This has become even more true as the Covid-19 crisis continues. Demand planning and fulfillment, supplier-customer relationship, customer retention, on-time delivery are some of the major expenses of a company. An efficient supply chain not only helps with cost reduction in these segments but also ensures growth, profitability, and customer satisfaction.

Top Reasons to Upgrade Your Operations with a Next-Gen Digital Supply Chain:

Shifting from a plant-level production planning to a demand-driven focus with customer-centric mindset but not compromising with the product quality

Getting rid of outdated processes and technology to match the transforming global business landscape

Reducing cost to formulate a more efficient value chain to remain cost-competitive in the market

Ability to outsource parts of your supply chain process in order to reap economic benefits and superior supply chain network design

Achieving more efficient product lifecycle management

Collaboration with stakeholders to integrate business processes for increasing visibility throughout the value chain

The Impact of Supply Chains

An integrated supply chain influences the overall functioning and improves profitability of the business. Going digital and increasing interoperability across these functions sets a business up to accelerated growth. Let us discuss a couple of key areas that are impacted by a well designed supply chain.

FIGURE 3 Upgrading the supply chain will improve your bottom line

01. Supply Chain and its Impact on Customer-Centricity

When business leaders discuss improving their supply chain, their main focus is usually related to accelerating growth by cutting down costs, achieving better lead time, and ensuring on-time delivery; as all these factors contribute towards business development. What slips from their mind is what customers really care about. It all starts and ends with customer satisfaction. Delivering the right product at the right time improves your organization’s brand value and credibility to customers.

What the customer cares about is receiving quality products on the promised delivery date without having to spend too much time or effort. This can be seen in Amazon’s announcement of one-day delivery. Late and inaccurate deliveries bear a significant impact on customer loyalty.


of industry professionals predict that their supply chain is going to be a key driver of improved customer satisfaction by the end of the year.

Source: Accenture

Your procurement division must understand the importance of cost-saving, but they need to be in line with the expectations of the customers and procure quality raw material for manufacturing the items. If expectations on raw material quality is not set, you could save money purchasing raw materials upfront, but end up spending more in the long run.

Let’s take a look at Kimberly-Clark’s journey to understand this better:

Kimberly-Clark is a manufacturing-focused organization that up to a few years ago did not have a supply chain division. Sandra MacQuillan, their first Supply Chain Officer, built a solid team to ensure the supply chain was focused on customer satisfaction. In the process, she integrated various functions such as procurement, quality (know more on quality management by clicking here), logistics, manufacturing, safety, etc. that are interconnected and delivered for one common goal – that is customer satisfaction.

Kimberly-Clark was able to achieve 25-30% cost savings by interconnecting various aspects of the Supply Chain, focused on better customer service, resulting in improved efficiency.

If you connect with the issues faced by Kimberly-Clark, or your supply chain is functioning in silos, it could be the best time to make a change. You can take this opportunity to update and integrate your supply chain with overall business functions and work towards a common goal like customer Satisfaction. A strongly integrated application will have the ability to incorporate holistic business functions including analytics, collaboration with notification, secure information sharing, control-based decision making using Artificial Intelligence, and more.

FIGURE 4 KPIs that are critical for supply chain monitoring

02. The Role of supply chain in sustaining business long term

According to the Logistics Bureau, nearly 50% of companies shut down within the first five years of operation. One critical factor contributing to these failures is an inefficient and poorly conceived supply chain. Supply chains in most organizations have evolved as a practice, rather than a well-designed process.


of companies with robust and high-performing supply chains are able to outperform their average peers in terms of higher revenue growth. This fact signifies the positive implication of a connected supply chain for a business.

Source: Deloitte

5 Steps to Integrate your Supply Chain

Break down organizational silos

For an effective, integrated approach to Supply Chain Management (SCM) the organization must operate end-to-end as a unified entity.


Define organizational objectives

Move beyond basic business and functional unit design and metrics. Look at the organization holistically and define the objectives as a complete entity.


Align business processes

Take a cross-functional approach to business process design. Start at a high level and map out the supply-chain flow with the goal of creating an end-to-end mapping of the business process.


Design the IT architecture to support an integrated approach

Leverage a cross-functional approach to IT systems design. As much as possible, standardize the organization in terms of the applications that are used. Seek to eliminate as many disparate applications as possible in favor of a common set of applications across the business.


Reshape leadership and culture

For most organizations, the major roadblock in delivering an integrated approach to supply-chain management is culture change. Change of this magnitude must be driven by solid leadership. There should be strong collaboration to drive the effort to deliver an integrated supply-chain organization.


Final Thoughts

There is no way the importance of an integrated Supply Chain should be overstated or undermined. If you or your organization have not prioritized your supply chain efforts, it’s never too late to take the first step.

An intelligent ERP software comes with a holistic supply chain module along with advanced analytics to support the following functionality.

  • A manufacturing execution system
  • Financial and cost accounting
  • Inventory and warehouse management
  • Purchasing and planning of materials
  • Product information management
  • Sales and marketing of the products
  • Transportation and logistics management

In order to push a company forward especially post-COVID-19, a sound digital supply chain strategy would be needed.

Do not let operational inefficiencies limit
your business, long-term 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


Upcoming Process Automation Trends That Will Transform Your Enterprise

Upcoming Process Automation Trends That Will Transform Your Enterprise 1500 1167 Xcelpros Team


The ultimate goal of any enterprise is that of speeding up processes, reducing errors, and increasing business output for better revenue generation. With the onset of the digitization era, companies have upgraded their technological prowess to adapt to process automation. It is important to understand that in the rapidly transforming world, process automation is not just a technological ability to speed up processes but a strategic movement towards better use of software to streamline workforce, introduce better work practices and mitigate cost inflations. Since COVID-19, process automation has turned into a need of the hour to improve operations that are built with adherence to process compliance and yield better outputs with a limited workforce. This means process automation will transform enterprises at a larger scale to increase agility and reduce dependency on manual work.

Manual Vs Automation

Is your business still operating through manual handoffs, excel macros, and cumbersome reporting? As businesses are integrating automation in more rapidly in different facets right from HR to Marketing, Production, Sales, and Information Technology; there is a considerable reduction in human intervention for mundane and simpler tasks. A component of efficiency will be introduced with the implementation of Robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in process automation. According to a leadership piece by Sogeti (1), enterprises will look into integrating robotics process automation (RPA) with AI to extract more business value. Read on to know why an enterprise should consider intelligent process automation for complete transformation and the latest trends that will help businesses along the path of said transformation.

Why Embracing the Latest Process Automation Trends and Techniques is a Necessity for an Enterprise?

As an enterprise, you need to ask yourself a key question: Where should the business’ attention be?

While at face-value this question may seem trivial, the entire enterprise architecture revolves around this key aspect. The more attention your skill base gives towards the latest trends like the Internet of Things (IoT), Machine Learning, Cloud, Advanced Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, and automated-integrated workflows, the better streamlined and agile your workforce would be. Hence it is highly significant for enterprises to explore deep into the latest process automation trends and make their employees acquainted with these trends for a competitive edge.

There is no doubt about the fact that legacy systems need upgrades and modernization to encompass latest trends of digitization, modern technologies and to become aligned with the fast-paced, changing business demands. Process automation plays a key role here. If not for process automation, the IT systems would face the brunt of not being able to keep up with business process improvements (carried out usually at a large-scale), leading to lesser productivity and overall loss of revenue. Automation helps you form ‘bundles’ of data and migrate them to platforms for systematic records management. Process automation can help your enterprise reduce the error rate, and increase productivity at a lower cost. But one point to remember is that the process automation described above would only make sense if your company has already transformed into a modern ERP system.

Figure 1 8 Reasons to Automate Your Business Processes

The Up and Coming Trends in Process Automation That Will Transform Your Enterprise

1.Handling the Unstructured Data Challenge: While data on systems has been very much taken care of by current process automation tools, enterprises and their related facets still struggle with unstructured forms of data such as hand-written notes, bills, invoices, images, etc. With the introduction of machine learning and artificial intelligence, businesses are digging up automation solutions that will not only recognize this type of data (with the help of Robotics), but also assimilate and use it in processes similar to structured data.

2.Low-Code Solutions for Faster Results: Robotic process automation when integrated with low code solutions forms a golden bridge of zero human intervention and faster application development. These low code solutions enhance efficiency as well as help in transforming core processes like Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP).

3.Integration of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) with Business Process Automation (BPA): Interdependent workflows have always been a part of large enterprises and the IT skill set in an organization has mostly been at the helm of managing these interconnecting processes in a complex workflow system. The latest automation tools will help in integrating RPA with BPA resulting in the formation of intricate workflows and implementation of all the related processes.

4.Real-Time Automated Decision Making: Enterprises will see more and more management of big data with the help of artificial intelligence and this will facilitate the way for flexible tools for IT operations that will preempt glitches and provide real-time solutions. This will help in better resource-allocation, lesser communication gaps, and fewer outages.

5.A Chance Towards Skill Set Upgrade: When computers were introduced as a tool to reduce human effort, they were met with a lot of apprehensions. In fact, many considered them as machines that would make a human contribution to technology obsolete. Similar apprehension and even cynicism can be seen in the case of process automation tools and software. After all, process automation eliminates the need for human intervention, making many technical jobs outworn.

However, enterprises are now looking up to this advancement in process automation as a chance to upgrade the skill set of their current employee base and make them adept in the latest technologies and tools. This will not only help the IT personnel move from labor-intensive, monotonous jobs to skill-based, dynamic ones, but it will also create a learning curve in the industry resulting in more innovations. When put in perspective, automation is not the cause for losing jobs, it is instead an opportunity for companies to fill the skill set gap and enhance the expertise of their IT personnel for innovation and better strategic output.

By 2023, AI-enabled automation in data management will reduce the need for IT specialists by 20%Source: Gartner report

The Changing Landscape

An enterprise cannot deny the fact that adapting to the need of the hour with the latest process automation trends is going to work in favor of its core business value. Numerous users across organizations will gain access to data, automated workflows that will be systematically prepared, and actionable insight that will aid towards building an agile enterprise. In the current market being agile as a company will be your strong suit. As they say, the cards are laid on the table; it is up to the businesses now to play their hand wisely!

Figure 2 Robotic process automation (RPA) market revenues worldwide from 2017 to 2023 (in billion U.S. dollars)


Source : Statista

Remote work is becoming more prevalent post-COVID-19. Companies are looking for more ways to streamline operations, engage the workforce, and yet meet the needs of customers. Process automation plays a major role in volatile market conditions during COVID-19. A combination of Microsoft’s Power Platform, AI – ML, Dynamics 365 for Sales and Dynamics 365 ERP, integrated with Teams allows users to streamline their processes and build needed visibility for management to effectively view the progress of operations remotely.

In fact, a successful use case off-late within various companies is to integrate Dynamics 365 with flow, teams, planner, and SharePoint to enhance compliance of process, coordination with team members remotely, track processes that are running in each department and provide task execution clarity for each employee within a department. More companies are adopting this suite of tools to improve productivity and simplify workforce engagement. All major functions of a company – be it Procurement, Sales, Manufacturing, Quality, Finance or HR, when unified together help a business stay afloat during challenging market conditions and support the over well-being of a business.

Key Takeaways

  • Introduction of Automated workflows, Artificial Intelligence, Cloud, Big Data, Machine Learning, and Advanced Electronics has changed the face of process automation for better and faster results.
  • Enterprises will need to invest more in advanced process automation tools to stay ahead in the competition and to gain critical business value.
  • Evaluate low-cost solutions for process automation that is easily customizable for your business and build enhanced visibility of how your company is performing in a challenging market.

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