Digitization

Jump-starting resilient and reimagined operations

Jump-starting resilient and reimagined operations

Jump-starting resilient and reimagined operations 2400 900 Xcelpros Team

Jump-starting resilient and reimagined operations

Based on a wonderful piece from our friends at McKinsey, describing the effort needed by businesses moving forward after COVID disruptions. A reminder that businesses able to maintain a certain level of speed during the transition can create a significant long-term advantage.

Get a free consultation to learn more about building resilient operations for your company.

Get Started

lift and shift cloud migration

Migrating to the cloud through lift and shift

Migrating to the cloud through lift and shift 1202 451 Xcelpros Team

Introduction

Most businesses had never heard of cloud computing before Google CEO Eric Schmidt introduced the term on Aug. 9, 2006 even though it originated in the 1960s. During an industry conference, Schmidt was talking about the potential of network-based computing. “It starts with the premise that the data services and architecture should be on servers. We call it cloud computing,” Schmidt said.

Now, more than 15 years after the term “cloud computing” was born, the numbers show its effectiveness. A report from Hostingtribunal states:

  • 94% of enterprises (i.e., companies with more than 1,000 employees) are already using a cloud service
  • 66% of enterprises already have a central cloud team or cloud center of excellence
  • 50% of enterprises spend more than $1.2 million each year on cloud services
  • 30% of all IT budgets went to cloud computing in 2018
  • By 2025, data stored in cloud centers is expected to top 100 zettabytes (i.e., 100 trillion gigabytes)

A majority of these end-users prefer to “lift and shift” their applications into dispersed cloud server banks. Lift and shift gained prominence in the early days of cloud computing when organizations used this approach to shadow on-premise applications into the cloud.

Lift and shift is a common and simple first step toward embracing the power of cloud.

In simple terms, lift and shift means moving an application without changing the workload framework or software architecture from the existing hardware and operating system when it moves to the cloud. It is essentially rehosting your software on someone else’s distributed computing network. This approach helps companies save time, money and resources required to redesign the applications.

In this article we will touch upon the merits of the lift and shift approach and in the process find out whether moving to the cloud is worth it?

Advantages of Using Lift and Shift

The lift and shift approach is designed to help companies wanting to explore cloud computing without replacing their current software. This method is cost effective, rapid and has higher acceptance from its users because the functionality of the application remains the same.

Advantages of the lift and shift approach include:

  • Application familiarity – Moving an existing application to the cloud means the functioning and usability of the application to end users does not change.
  • Low migration costs – The program is not modified, eliminating the need and cost of rearchitecting the application.
  • Faster deployment – Since there is no need to rebuild the application, speed of delivery is higher compared to building an app from scratch.

For example, consider a Plant Manager in charge of Production Scheduling. This person has a lot to do. They need to maximize their productivity. When the company is expanding and needs to scale up its software, some form of cloud computing—public, hybrid, private or multi-cloud—is the more efficient method than doing it on-site. Replacing an existing program with a newer, unfamiliar one is likely to be met with resistance from staff unwilling to learn new methods of performing the same tasks.

Lifting a familiar program from in-house computers and shifting it to remote servers reduces the fear of change while balancing the need for agility and scalability. According to a 2018 study by IDC, 66% of the end users preferred to lift and shift their production scheduling application to the cloud for higher efficiency compared to 33% who favored keeping it on-premise.

Figure: 1Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) perceive lift and shift.

Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) perceive lift and shift.

How do Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) perceive lift and shift?

When IDC conducted its 2018 survey, 45% of independent service vendor customers preferred the lift and shift cloud migration method for moving business applications. Combined with cloud computing, 69% of end customers understand the positive implications of using cloud-based software. These include agility, scalability, cost effectiveness, efficiency and others.

Is Cloud Computing Worth the Cost?

The most important reason to move company software to the cloud, even at an initial infrastructure as a service (IaaS) level, is cost reduction. Companies save money by lowering hardware maintenance for servers, adding computing power and virtual machines plus the expense of managing the infrastructure on-site.

Using managed services can significantly lower a company’s operating costs, directly impacting its bottom line.

In terms of actual savings, the combined benefit of minimal hardware support, higher efficiency, better manageability of resources could result in a 20 – 30 % average savings on virtual machine (VM) resource configuration alone.

Upgrading an existing application on the cloud provides an integrated platform. Other resources—such as Microsoft’s ecosystem—can be leveraged, adding agility and improving speed by up to 33%. Savings can be much higher.

For example, a multinational insurer was able to save 80% on the cost of a specific development testing environment in an application suite by lifting and shifting it to the cloud. Achieving similar results demands meticulous planning and the ability to gauge savings beyond dollar value. The wider definition of savings must also include intangibles such as the value of time and money from the faster rollout of products enabled by new cloud-enabled capabilities.

Why Microsoft Azure is best suited to lift and shift your applications

There are many cloud computing platforms to choose from. Organizations looking to adopt a cloud model need to ensure everything works correctly after the move. This means interdependencies that exists between applications, data in the system and the workload continue to function even though they are now remote.

Microsoft has a transparent lift and shift process that give you a heads-up on the cost estimates before a company makes the decision to migrate. Microsoft offers a cost calculator that assesses all dependencies and variables involved in the lift and shift process. It helps better assess the migration from a complexity and cost perspective. After analyzing your requirements and determining the effort involved in the lift and shift process, the calculator determines the cost and sequence required in migrating to Azure.

Microsoft’s Azure Migrate can help plan your cloud migration with ease, ensuring you are on top of every move. The service details the mechanisms involved in the process. It provides guidance and insights to smooth your cloud journey.

Benefits of using Azure Migrate include:

  • Discovery and assessing on-premises virtual machines
  • Inbuilt dependency mapping for high-confidence discovery of multi-tier applications
  • Intelligent right sizing to Azure virtual machines
  • Compatibility reporting with guidelines for remediating potential issues
  • Integration with Azure Database Management Service for database discovery and migration

With Azure Migrate, you can be assured that your workload and application will smoothly be lifted and shifted to the cloud without any adverse impact on the business. With the right guidance and tools from Microsoft, the ROI can be maximized, while your application performs seamlessly with the highest security and reliability.

Summary

Companies unwilling to make wholesale changes to their computer software environment can still take advantage of many cloud computing benefits: they can move their existing programs to the cloud using the lift and shift method. Working with Azure Migrate allows the software and data to move with minimal impact on daily operations.

Book a free assessment to know more about Azure lift and shift cloud migration abilities.

Book Now

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 system

Choosing the Right ERP System for Increasing Business Outcomes

Choosing the Right ERP System for Increasing Business Outcomes 1200 450 Xcelpros Team

Introduction

While demand for an effective ERP system is the highest in the manufacturing industry, more and more companies are leveraging the right ERP software to increase collaboration and streamline operations. Here’s an overview of how helpful a modern ERP software can be.

Choosing the Right ERP System for Increasing Business Outcomes

Looking for the right ERP system to boost your profits? Get a free assessment with XcelPros!

Register Now

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

4 KPIs that impact the growth of a Chemical company

4 KPIs that impact the growth of a Chemical company

4 KPIs that impact the growth of a Chemical company 1200 600 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

  • Quantifying progress is important for any industry to know they’re on the right path. The chemical industry should focus on specific KPIs to measure its growth and to make sure it is moving in the right direction.
  • Continuous improvement is important, understanding which KPIs to focus on will ensure that companies are able to assess their performance and make adjustments wherever necessary.
  • KPIs should be communicated by upper management so that employees fully understand their tasks and everybody has a clear set of goals.
  • While the chemical industry might be seen as having fairly standard KPIs, it’s essential to understand that every company is different and will likely focus on different information.

The chemical industry has always operated within certain conventional settings and boundaries. With digital technology advancing so quickly, however, more and more chemical companies are thinking outside of the box in an effort to become more agile. These thought leaders are looking for better ways to quantify their manufacturing KPIs, generate insights and boost revenue.

According to the American Chemical Council (ACC), the US economy is expected to grow by up to 3.7% in 2021 and that chemical production will rise by as much as 3.9%. With this kind of growth expected, it’s more important than ever for chemical manufacturing and distribution companies to recognize and prioritize the most important KPIs for the chemical industry. While every performance marker is important there are a few KPIs that can have a greater impact on the overall production and aftermarket aspect of the business. C-level executives from these companies need to look closely at which performance measures make the most sense for them. Below are 4 KPIs in the chemical industry that could have a huge impact on a business’s bottom line.

1.Operational KPIs

It’s important to be able to measure the operational performance against benchmarks to achieve the desired results in manufacturing, including both quality and maintenance. Measuring important KPIs like scheduled uptime vs. total scheduled operational time lets organizations to calculate things like manufacturing schedule compliance, percentage of quality compliant products, and production rate per product type against the planned demand. This helps organizations achieve a high Overall Equipment Effectiveness(OEE) and optimize costs.

2.Regulatory KPIs

Adherence to local and global regulations is one thing chemical companies should never compromise on. KPIs for regulation compliance enable chemical manufacturing companies to record, measure and maintain records required for various rules and requirements. It’s imperative for chemical companies to set up and follow KPIs related to Regulatory Affairs (RA) in order to determine the long-term efficiency of their compliance processes.

Figure: 1 Primary Areas with Impactful KPIs: Chemical Industry

Primary Areas with Impactful KPIs: Chemical Industry

3.Inventory Utilization KPIs

While maintaining higher than usual inventory levels adds to overall costs, stock-outs can create even greater bottlenecks in production. This is the main reason it’s so important to maintain optimal inventory levels. Adhering to throughput rate and buffer levels can help chemical companies consistently achieve the inventory levels required to keep production going without increased inventory costs. Inventory KPIs also help in maintaining consistent inventory turnover rates.

4.Customer Experience KPIs

This measurement is now growing extremely popular in every industry, including chemical. More and more companies are looking to connect directly with their end-users in order to understand buying habits, trends, and ultimately determine what their customers want. This lets companies focus on producing the right products for their target markets.

Bonus – Environmental impact and sustainability KPIs

A lot of conventional chemical manufacturing methods and processes are still highly resource-intensive, with the potential to cause serious damage to the environment. Moving forward, chemical companies need to research and invest in greener, more sustainable models of working. This can be achieved by setting up KPIs and ensuring proper governance.

According to their website, BASF (the largest chemical producer globally) has the goal of growing CO2 neutrally until 2030.

Similarly, the Dow Chemical Company has plans to stop the waste by 2030, by enabling 1 million metric tons of plastic to be collected, reused, or recycled through its direct actions and partnerships. The company invests and collaborates with partners who have similar interests and can provide infrastructure and technologies to accelerate global recycling.

Focusing on these performance markers and goals not only helps in showcasing strategies for chemical companies to go greener but can also set an organization on a much shorter path to success. By protecting the environment and offering a better customer experience, along with producing and managing products much more efficiently will help companies in this sector achieve new heights.

Key Takeaways

  • Utilizing customer experience KPIs can help companies better understand their customers’ buying habits along with market demand and the impact of their efforts.
  • Chemical manufacturers need to set up KPIs not just for the production chain, but the entire lifecycle- from procurement of raw material to end-user.
  • Organizations need to be more conscious of resources and the impact on the environment. Chemical companies are taking note of this and the right step in this direction is to set up environmental goals and KPIs.

Planning on restructuring your chemical operations for streamlined processes? Get a free assessment with XcelPros!

Register Now

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

Challenges of Biotechnology

Challenges of Biotechnology to Resolve in 2021

Challenges of Biotechnology to Resolve in 2021 1200 600 Xcelpros Team

Introduction

With the new strains and mutants of the COVID-19 virus being reported from countries all across the globe, the biotechnology industry is facing immense pressure to churn out the right vaccinations and provide effective medical assistance. While the industry had been booming exponentially before the pandemic, new challenges arise as they move to the ‘new-normal’. Here are the top biotechnology industry challenges to solve in 2021

Need help overcoming these biotech challenges? Book a free consultation!

Register Now

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 Modern Digital Tools Can Help Transform Biotech companies

How Modern Digital Tools Can Help Transform Biotech companies

How Modern Digital Tools Can Help Transform Biotech companies 1200 600 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

Technological changes are impacting the biotech business sector now and in the future. New-age companies are leveraging modern biotech tools to aid business productivity and growth. Some of the key aspects involved in transforming the biotech sector are:

  • Machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing and ERP systems residing on a unified platform.
  • The combination of these technologies is reducing the time it takes to create and produce diagnostic procedures and medicines.
  • The impacts of these technologies on operational excellence is reducing failure rates and permitting the production of therapies tailored to specific patients.

A Short History of Vaccines

According to The History of Vaccines, the first polio epidemic struck the U.S. in 1894. The poliovirus wasn’t identified until 1908. Jonas Salk’s first vaccine tests started in 1952. Polio wasn’t declared eliminated from the Americas until 1994.

Using modern biotechnology, Operation Warp Speed was announced on March 30, 2020. Moderna published its initial Phase I/II trial data on July 14, 2020, followed by Pfizer on Aug. 12. The previous record for vaccine development was four years for mumps, a BioSpace article states.

Machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing and other next-generation computing tools are among the changes expected to have a big impact on the biotechnology manufacturing processes now and into the future.

How will improvements in computing technology impact the biotech sector? By reducing the time it takes to bring new products such as medicines and testing methods to market, an article on Northeastern University’s Graduate Programs Blog states.

The advent of other digital tools such as Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) means sensors on various biotech production devices are now measuring and adjusting the rate of chemical flows, temperatures and other variables previously monitored by people.

“Robot scientists using AI can test more compounds and do so with improved accuracy and reproducibility and exhaustive, searchable recordkeeping,” Steve Oliver, a systems biologist with the University of Cambridge said in a Nature article.

Using AI, scientists can create and analyze large quantities of outcome data, highlighting differences between healthy cells and those damaged by diseases such as cancer. “We are turning the drug-discovery paradigm upside down by using patient-driven biology and data to derive more-predictive hypotheses, rather than the traditional trial-and-error approach,” Niven Narain, co-founder of Berg, a biotech firm near Boston, said in the Nature article.

The bottom line of using AI and machine learning is improving biotech firms’ profits by dropping the failure rate from its current 90 percent and reducing the cost of developing new drugs.

Cloud computing and virtual meetings permit sharing information and making informed decisions. In terms of analyzing data, the physical location of a scientist, manager or worker is no longer a barrier to their contributions to a biotech effort. Online collaboration also allows smaller firms to share information and gather insights from academic organizations and government research organizations, permitting access to many more stakeholders, the Northeastern article states.

The strength of a company surfaces when all of these different applications work together through seamless integration with an ERP platform, without creating security threats or data integrity issues.

Tech and Clinical Trials

As clinical trials migrate to better service levels for all patients, clinical trials become more about converting data into actionable intelligence, Michael Kleppinger of Syneos Health said in an XTalks article.

Other biotech leaders stated that clinical trials are now using master protocols, basket design and adaptive trial design, all of which require computing power to make it work. This includes virtual trials that expand the potential patient population, Ken Light of OmniComm Systems told XTalks.

“If you think about it, if you’re only getting partial data, be it from a CRO (contract research organization) or EDC (electronic data capture) system or CTMS (clinical trial management system) or your financial systems or wherever that data is housed and sitting, how are you able to make informed decisions on partial data? In my mind, it’s like trying to throw darts with a blindfold on,” Joe Erline of Saama Technologies told XTalks.

Modern Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems combine data from departments such as purchasing, inventory and finance. The software allows chief financial officers and other top executives to make better decisions by seeing a larger picture using multiple data streams.

Non-traditional data sources are also broadening access to some data types

Among the recent products cited are internet-connectable smart watches including Apple iWatches ™ and Fitbit ™ exercise trackers, all of which obtain and record physiological data. Running the data through machine learning algorithms allows top executives to predict how well certain therapy molecules will work and determine the molecules’ toxicity and treatment effectiveness, all much faster and more economically than in the past.

Figure: 1 Medicine at FDA: The Scope & Significance of Progress in 2020

Medicine at FDA: The Scope & Significance of Progress in 2020

Tech and Personalized Treatment

One area directly benefiting from computer advancements is the cost of personalized genetic testing to consumers. These tests are now down to the range of $100 -$2,000 depending on the nature and complexity of the test, MedlinePlus states. For comparison, the 1990’s Human Genome Project cost $2.7 billion.

In terms of biotechnology companies, this major price reduction means personalized treatment plans are now realistic options. Using drugs based on a specific patient’s genetic and molecular makeup, the theory is these individualized medicines should be more effective at treating that patient than a more broad-spectrum drug, a different XTalks article states.

More than one-third of all new drugs approved in 2020 were personalized. This was the third time in the last four years this approval level was reached, the Personalized Medicine Coalition quoted in PR Newswire.

In 2020 alone, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved 19 personalized therapies, one cell-based immunotherapy and eight diagnostic applications the agency’s Personalized Medicine at FDA: Scope and Significance of Progress in 2020 states. One of them was the first chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell-based immunotherapy for treating patients with refractory mantle cell lymphoma. This method holds promise for better cancer care.

The FDA also released seven guideline documents related to the manufacturing and clinical development of gene and cell-based therapy products. Another highlight of the 2020 report was the approval of a pan-tumor liquid biopsy next-generation sequencing-based test as a companion diagnostic device for multiple biomarkers in cell-free DNA isolated from plasma specimens. The method permits testing without using more invasive methods in some patients.

Updated Biotech Can Boost Food Production

Variations of the same general gene-editing tools of biotechnology used to develop therapies for treating humans can also be used to create more robust crops. Among highlights cited in a 2020 Businesswire review of the “Agricultural Biotechnology: Emerging Technologies and Global Markets” report is that DNA sequencing, RNA interference, synthetic biology tools and gene editing will all have an impact on growing that market through 2024 and likely beyond.

The effect will be the ability to provide higher yields with equal nutritional value for humans and livestock in smaller spaces. At the same time, improved biotech methods applied to agriculture will permit growing crops in harsher climates than those currently farmed.

The Bottom Line

Emerging and evolving computer technologies such as AI, when combined with enterprise business applications, are helping biotech companies work faster, creating new products in less time and with dramatically lower costs, than ever before.

Leverage the power of digital tools to stay on par with the competition. Start your digital transformation!

Register Now

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

Importance of Robust ERP in Sustaining Manufacturing

Importance of Robust ERP in Sustainable Manufacturing

Importance of Robust ERP in Sustainable Manufacturing 2500 1250 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

  • ERP has been critical to the manufacturing sector, from business strategies to meeting increased demand for specific products.
  • While the manufacturing industry has long been reliant on ERP systems for effective business operations, recent events have highlighted their importance.
  • Experts are looking at comprehensive ERP products that can help them meet rising demand and elevate their business platforms for success in the future.

If the manufacturing industry had to describe 2020 in one word, most might go with ‘unprecedented’. Things like disruptions to Supply Chains, wildly fluctuating changes in demand, and shortages of materials have led to a state of disarray for organizations of every size. These organizations are looking to maneuver efficiently through these challenges and meet changing demands while remaining in compliance. This means that manufacturers’ top management bodies weigh options to reshuffle their business processes and strategies to accommodate sudden changes.

Going forward, businesses will need to change their production plan from top to bottom as the demand for certain goods like automotive, non-essential goods, and construction materials have gone down. In contrast, things like chemicals, ventilators, sanitizers, hygiene products, PPE, and various pharmaceutical raw materials have dramatically increased. This shift in demand calls for realignment and systematic operational implementation of business processes with a fortified ERP system.

53%

of the manufacturing industry expect COVID-19 to impact operations.

Source: National Association of Manufacturing (NAM)

Shown below are some of the biggest concerns the manufacturing industry has at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic:

  • Disruption of supply chains due to travel restrictions
  • Low or no availability of raw material
  • Skeleton crews on the production floor owing to the fear of exposure to the virus
  • Loss of revenue due to stalled production all over the world
  • Realignment of the workforce to accommodate working from home
  • Rapid change in demand patterns for certain consumer goods
  • Downward or backward fiscal growth.

The future sustainability of organizations of all sizes in the manufacturing sector will depend on current investment in tools, software, and systems to streamline, realign, and effectively manage business and production operations. Sustainable manufacturing practices can surely help companies boost their profits.

Figure: 1Challenges Faced by The Manufacturing Industry Due to Covid-19

Challenges Faced by Manufacturing Industry Due to Covid-19 Pandemic

The resulting wake of Covid-19 has compelled decision-makers from businesses in the manufacturing sector to reevaluate their business processes and automation to deal with supply chain bottlenecks effectively. This is where the implementation of an effective ERP system comes into play.

Listed below are just a few key strategic ways that a comprehensive ERP system like Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Supply Chain and Finance can help fortify the end-to-end manufacturing life cycle for companies in this industry.

1.Addressing Bottlenecks in the Supply Chain ERP systems have proven essential to optimizing the supply chain and providing top-to-bottom visibility of production cycles to avoid situations like stock-outs, inventory glitches, and logistical issues. Enterprise Resource Planning tools have become highly critical to businesses as global supply chains are disrupted. ERP systems help mitigate damages by overhauling the demand-to-supply strategy and optimizing the supply chain accordingly. ERP systems are also highly crucial in collating and classifying production data for complete visibility to workers on the shop floor and beyond.

2.Boosting Automation to Compensate for Skeletal Workforce Thanks to restrictions still in place, many factories continue to operate at 50% workforce or even less to maintain social distancing to mitigate exposure risks. This means that more manual operations are becoming automated, requiring planning, changes in hardware and software, training, and proper deployment of automation protocols. This can all be managed with the help of a robust ERP system.

3.Managing Change in Demand Since the pandemic, there has been a swing in need for certain commodities, such as automobiles, sanitizers, hygiene products, and ventilators. These rapid changes in the market require an ERP system that helps streamline raw material purchases, billing cycles, payroll solutions, last-minute logistical changes, generating a bill of material, and much more.

Boosting Manufacturing with Microsoft Dynamics 365

Comprehensive platforms like Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance or Supply Chain help Improve efficiency and productivity for businesses in the manufacturing industry. The systematic tools assist with planning, logistical management, change analysis, data collation, capacity requirement management, and responding to rapidly changing needs.

Figure: 2Boosting Manufacturing with Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP System During Covid-19

Boosting Manufacturing with Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP System during Covid-19

Key Takeaways

The numerous changes that developed since the onset of Covid-19 have created significant setbacks for any business in the manufacturing industry; Savvy organizations that can use the right ERP software while investing in intelligent solutions will be in the best position for growth when this is all over. Here are some final points to remember when you think of ERP in the manufacturing industry.

  • The top executives and decision-makers in the manufacturing sector need to invest in smart manufacturing ERP software solutions to combat the changing demand and supply patterns.
  • Analyzing global and local goods and commodities requirements will be essential for running a manufacturing plant.
  • Manufacturers need to rethink their supply chain and inventory management strategies and implement proven and systematic resource planning tools.

Book a free consultation for all your manufacturing process needs.

Register Now

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

Three actions CEOs can take to get value from cloud computing

3 actions CEOs need to take to get benefits of cloud computing

3 actions CEOs need to take to get benefits of cloud computing 1500 750 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

  • The decisive role of C-suite executives in a company’s digital transformation is crucial in driving business towards success.
  • When it comes to the goals and benefits of cloud computing, CEO’s need to take charge and be involved in the strategies to make sure that the blueprint matches the company’s requirements.
  • CEOs need to align with the CTO’s and CIOs to get the maximum advantages of cloud computing and make sure that the digital transformation journey is a smooth one.

The last decade has seen accelerated growth and transformation in various industries as they embrace the digital thread. There has been a pressing need for companies to streamline their processes and optimize their operations to go agile. However, the Covid-19 pandemic left a mark on every industry and made agility (along with flexibility) an inevitable aspect of business growth. To that end, companies are now looking to go for. This pandemic made remote working the new normal and thus advantages of cloud hosting became quite apparent. The benefits of cloud computing are many. Top executives are looking for ways to move their practices and applications to a better tomorrow.

These strategic moves have to start at the top to be cascaded down for maximum efficiency. This is where CEOs come into the picture as they can accelerate growth and take their companies on the path of agility and digital transformation while exploring the benefits of cloud computing.

32%

of IT budgets will be dedicated to the cloud within the next 12 months.

Source: IDG Cloud Computing

‘Above 30%’ of the budget is a huge amount. When such a big investment is made by a company, a lot rides on the shoulders of the chief person in charge- the CEO. So, if you are a CEO who is guiding the company towards a path of digital overhaul and you wish to harness business & economic advantages of the cloud, you need to take certain decisive actions! Read on to know more about this.

3 Game-changing Actions CEO’s Need to Take When it Comes to Cloud Adoption

First, it is important to understand why the role of a CEO in cloud strategy is so important. In order to make cloud adoption a success for your company, as a CEO you need to strategize the transitional moves and make sure that all the cogs in the wheel are functioning properly for a smooth journey.

According to David Cearley, Vice President and Gartner Fellow, “Organizations that do not have a high-level cloud strategy driven by their business strategy will significantly increase their risk of failure and wasted investment.”

So here’s what you need to do to ensure your employees understand why cloud computing is important and your company can get the benefits of digital transformation:

1.Communicate and Inculcate Behavioral Change in the Organization: As a CEO, this might be one of the most important actions that you would need to take in order to ensure successful cloud implementation. Any disruptive change creates certain resistance amongst the employees. While some might be worried about their skills becoming obsolete, others would be apprehensive about security when it comes to cloud-based systems. However, when the communication is direct and concise, employees can be in the know-how. The behavioral shift can also be supported through in-house communication campaigns, alignment with the heads of respective functions, preparing HR policies in place, and ensuring talent acquisition for smooth cloud implementation.

2.Keeping the Financial Flow Stable: The goals and benefits of cloud computing can be met only through proper funding. As a CEO, it is important to create a financial funnel that supports every step in the company’s cloud transition journey. It may take some time for your business to get complete advantage of cloud computing. It is thus important to make sure that the financial backing is stable and consistent.

Figure: 1Benefits of Cloud Computing

Cloud Adoption Strategy Drivers

3.Create a Business Strategy Blueprint for Cloud: A business transition is only as efficient as the planning that goes behind it. It is crucial to create a business strategy and a supporting technology operating model to get optimal value from cloud computing. Such a model harmonizes processes for collaborative interaction between IT and business and will unleash the potential.

In summation, the advantages of cloud computing can be reaped through a high-level strategy. A seamless harmony between the CEO, CIO, and CTO can turn a digital transformation journey into a profitable avenue for the business.

Key Takeaways

  • CEO’s need to look into cloud computing strategies from a long-term point of view and ensure that the company is allocated with the budget and resources for cloud implementation.
  • Right communication is the key in migration to the cloud: the employees should get these communications from C-suite executives in order to develop trust and ensure adherence to governance guidelines.
  • Simply implementing cloud is not going to generate value for a business. Higher-level executives (especially the CEO) need to take lead in the journey towards digital transformation.

Take your first step towards moving to the cloud with a free consultation from XcelPros.

Register Now

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

Enhancing Chemical Plant Operations to Make it Smart Factory Ready

Enhancing Chemical Plant Operations to Make it Smart Factory Ready

Enhancing Chemical Plant Operations to Make it Smart Factory Ready 1200 600 Xcelpros Team

Introduction

Creating an Industry 4.0 smart factory requires time, planning, money and employee buy-in. Companies are advised to develop a roadmap showing what they want to do before they start. Improving communication through a digital platform ensures alignment between people, processes, and technology.

Smart factories are facilities using computer technology to transmit real-time status of every machine to a central hub. The data is used to make decisions on the spot, avoid production delays, and provide opportunities to improve efficiency.

In these factories, a combination of electronic sensors connected to a computer network provides a constant flow of information. When combined with artificial intelligence software, the computers make autonomous decisions, improving chemical plant production.

In the United States alone, 86 percent of manufacturers believe that smart factories will be the main driver of competition by 2025.Source: Deloitte

How it Works

Enhanced communication between machines means: Receiving tells Procurement what raw materials arrived and when. Procurement knows what supplies are on-hand and what must be ordered. Machine A has the materials it needs to create products. Machine B is working on a different product instead of being idle while waiting on Machine A. Machines A through Z are programmed to perform their jobs and let human workers know when potential problems may occur. Sales knows what finished products are available for shipping and what is in the pipeline. Customers know when they can expect deliveries in the time and quantities they require. Best of all, this information is available in real-time, so everyone knows potential problems and how they can work around them.

Acquiring data from the industrial internet of things (IIoT)-enabled devices and rapidly analyzing it turns standard factories into smart chemical plants.

These plants can rapidly view their entire supply chain from inventory to production to sales. Having the ability to keep track of production flow and ensure the supply chain flows smoothly is the function of specialized software such as Microsoft Dynamics Supply Chain Management.

Converting an existing plant using older manual devices, though, takes time, effort and money. Thought and a lot of planning are required to bring an analog factory up to this level gradually.

Critical smart technologies include hardware components such as sensors, industrial internet of things (IIoT) connections, factory floor networking connections and cabling plus data storage for millions—possibly billions—of datasets. Company computers—either on-premises or connected via the cloud—require software able to organize and manage the data using artificial intelligence. One such product is Microsoft Dynamics Supply Chain Management.

Figure: 1 Working of a Connected Factory

Connected Chemical Factory

Industry 4.0

As part of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, commonly known as Industry 4.0, smart factories build on computerization added to manufacturing processes in the mid 20th Century’s Third Industrial Revolution.

Above and beyond automating individual machines, Industry 4.0 smart chemical plants have:

  • Dramatically increased data collection, allowing more accurate decision-making.
  • Increased automation to encompass entire production runs. This produces goods more efficiently, including during times when humans are not present.
  • Improved flexibility allowing factories to mass-produce lots in any size from one unit on up.

5% Percentage of factories are fully “smart”.

30% Percentage of factories are being updated to smart status.

65% Percentage of factories are not making progress toward smart status.

Source: Deloitte Insights

Smart Factory Challenges

Factory owners face several potential barriers to converting an existing facility into a smart factory running more efficiently with minimal downtime and defects. These barriers may include:

  • Employees accepting ongoing training and developing needed skills. Deloitte estimates a 2 million worker shortage in the US alone over the next decade.
  • The cost of updating factory floor machines to include sensors and information sharing capabilities. Some existing machines can be modified, while others may require replacement.
  • Networking all data collection points to ensure a smooth, continuous information flow. The information can flow to a central server on the premises or remotely.
  • Accepting the concept that smart factories cover the entire company, not just the production floor.
  • Ensuring all updated devices are compatible and can be integrated into a complete network.

Leading the Conversion Change

Some companies appoint “change champions” to lead their company into the smart factory 4.0 era. These people are often tasked with making the technology updates relevant to workers.

Change champions, which Deloitte’s research suggests, should be from the top-down (e.g., upper managers) and bottom-up (e.g., factory workers), help gain employee buy-in.

Their chief focus is answering the question, “What’s in it for me?” from individual workers’ perspectives. For example, change champions explain how mastering automation gives workers the ability to head off potential problems before they occur. Fewer problems in the production process mean greater output—and likely more sales—which benefits the entire company.

Change champions also explain to staff how they will benefit by gaining the new skills smart factories require. Additional training equals more skills and that translates to more opportunities for improved pay and job security.

Chemical Plant Automation Devices

One step existing factories must take to become smart chemical plants is updating equipment. For example, valves that factory workers open and close manually should be replaced by semi-conductor enhanced valves that do it automatically.

Among the many chemical treating instruments required to provide a smart factory technology with the information it needs are:

  • Smart pressure transmitters equipped with microprocessors and semiconductor pressure sensors that can directly measure pressure in pipes.
  • Microprocessor-equipped differential pressure transmitters to measure flow rates, pressure and liquid levels of gases, fluids and steam.
  • Flowmeters for measuring gas, steam and liquid, including vortex models that permit correcting temperature and pressure.
  • Level transmitters equipped with microprocessor sensors for measuring levels in liquids.
  • Control valves such as eccentric three-way rotary valves for mixing or dividing fluids.
  • Temperature controllers to ensure temperatures are within a device’s operating range and notify personnel of potential equipment problems before they occur.

The combination of electromechanical devices such as these with monitoring software lets workers watch conditions on the smart factory floor from literally anywhere: an office in the plant or a laptop on the beach.

Computerized positioners lets trained workers know the deviation between a set valve opening and the actual valve opening. This knowledge helps workers detect signs of impending valve failure before it occurs.

Creating A Roadmap to Success

Companies wanting to update their factory to a smart chemical plant may want to follow a path similar to this one:

  1. 1.Map a smart manufacturing strategy based on each firm’s specific industry dynamics. Be agile and able to change direction when real values begin emerging.
  2. 2.Create a smart pilot project with proofs of concept that demonstrate the project’s value to the company. Embrace failure and learn from mistakes.
  3. 3.Define the required capabilities using a scalable data model. Ensure the technology used in one area communicates with that used elsewhere.
  4. 4.Identify smart manufacturing insights appropriate to the company, such as cross-functional data analytic teams. Share information between teams to avoid duplicating efforts while gaining additional insights.
  5. 5.Institutionalize new approaches to prevent older, less efficient methods from creeping back into the updated operations. Show the staff concrete examples of how the technology upgrades are making a proven difference in the chemical plant operations.

Figure: 2 Creating a Roadmap to Success

Roadmap to Success

Key Takeaways

  • Converting an existing factory to a smart chemical plant requires time, effort, money and patience. Factory owners and managers must overcome barriers on the way to achieving their goals.
  • One of the most important tasks is appointing Change Champions at the top (executive) and bottom (factory worker) levels who work together to get the entire workforce on board.
  • Advancing into the Industry 4.0 era means updating devices to provide a constant flow of data. Companies should create a roadmap showing how they will move from their current position to be a smart factory.

Get a free consultation on transforming into a smart chemical factory.

Book Now

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

Reducing the Risk of Pharmaceutical Non-Compliance with Technology

How Technology Can Reduce the Risk of Pharmaceutical Non-compliance

How Technology Can Reduce the Risk of Pharmaceutical Non-compliance 1200 600 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

  • Pharmaceutical manufacturing companies are investing more money and resources to assure adherence to regulatory compliance.
  • Non-compliances need to be managed and tracked through their lifecycle, and using a digital platform eases the end-to-end process and follows it to completion.
  • The first step towards regulatory adherence is to thoroughly understand the compliance requirements and form a dedicated process to comply.

Many pharmaceutical companies have restructured their financial and resource allocation models to invest more in adhering to compliance. Compliance requirements around the globe have grown in past decades. Each country has differences in safety standards, and global companies have to ensure they meet local requirements. Companies need better management and tracking of non-compliance. This article discusses the ways to reduce risks of non-compliance in the pharmaceutical industry. Manufacturers and distributors have dealt with compliance issues in the pharmaceutical industry. Companies have to conform to multiple complex and varying regulatory norms and safety standards. All the stages involve detailed compliance requirements, from procuring raw material to producing finished goods and quality testing of the final product. These complexities have further multiplied in recent years because of:

  • Addition of several more regulations globally in the pharmaceutical and life sciences sector.
  • Differences in the rules and regulations related to pharmaceutical compliance across different geographical regions.
  • Absence of a viable infrastructure to manage and track non-compliance.
  • Unclear SOPs and redundant record maintenance practices often lead to pharmaceutical manufacturing non-compliance.

Apart from these, non-compliance can result from other various smaller factors like faulty equipment, maintenance issues, faulty formula controls/ lab controls, etc. All contribute to quality compliance in the pharmaceutical industry. This is the reason that pharmaceutical and life sciences companies spend a fortune to avoid non-compliance. The costs of non-conformity are very high and thus, companies want to make sure that they adhere to the rules and regulations.

40%

of the pharmaceutical IT budget is spent on regulatory compliance.

Source: Gartner

Figure: 1 Major Factors Affecting Compliance in Pharma

 Major Factors Affecting Compliance in Pharma

So how can pharma companies leverage technology to mitigate the consequences of non-compliance? Here are some ways that experts believe newer tools and innovations can help in better pharmaceutical compliance management:

1.Making use of the right tools: Documentation and record maintenance are a big part of the pharmaceutical industry’s compliance processes. Conventionally these documents have been manually maintained, which can lead to both errors and oversights. However, newer pharmaceutical software platforms come with the ability to gather and store data efficiently. It is essential to track user behavior and user audits to ensure compliance. A compliance management system with audit tracking and reporting tools can avoid non-compliance and improve overall product quality.

2.Leveraging integrated labeling: Pharmaceutical companies struggle to manage compliance as they enter newer territories and markets. There are different labeling practices and regulations which are challenging to manage. The labeling practices keep going through changes and updates even in familiar territories, making it essential for pharmaceutical companies to stay on top of these changes. To tackle labeling issues, companies can leverage the automated labeling platforms wherein the data can be auto defaulted from the different processes such as receiving, production and shipments. Inbuilt label printing within business process workflows avoids user errors and enforces process compliance. With integrated labeling within the ERP, users are equipped to manage changes and make the labeling process run smoothly.

3.Standardizing processes across the organization with a common technology platform: Major pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors are tying up with technologists to deploy a common technology platform and implement it across their locations. Companies that invest in business process uniformity will witness business improvement and growth. Quality issues often arise due to non-compliance of processes, undefined procedures, changing equipment and labels, etc. Many companies find that quality is impaired when processes vary from location to location. With the latest technology platforms, organizations can centrally assure that standardized practices are being followed across all locations.

4.Effective strategies to managing data: Non-compliance in the pharmaceutical industry is often a result of a poorly managed information loop. Systems supporting pharmaceutical manufacturing and distribution generate enormous data. When data is managed systematically, the right information is made available to appropriate users. The right system can notify regulatory changes, changes in formulations, or process variations. Every data point serves as a crucial piece of information that can guide users to be more proactive in conforming to business processes. Data management and analytics platforms are equipped to enable pharmaceutical companies to report anomalies as they occur. Dynamic reporting cumulatively helps in better quality compliance.

The Covid-19 pandemic has added impetus on pharmaceutical companies to adhere to regulations while working on therapeutics and vaccines at an unprecedented speed. Companies that leveraged the latest machine learning, analytics, and other IoT tools/ platforms, perform better.

Pharmaceutical companies are always looking for newer methods to balance quality compliance and productivity.

Johnson & Johnson, for instance, has a comprehensive quality management framework in place for continued focus on compliance and quality, amongst other essential parameters. The latest technologies and innovations back this framework.

All in all, reducing the risks pertaining to compliance issues in the pharmaceutical industry requires a well-planned and executed technological strategy. With the latest innovative platforms, companies can ensure adherence to quality compliance regulations in the industry.

Key Takeaways

  • ERP, automation, data analytics, and machine learning are imperative in enabling pharma companies to mitigate the risks of non-compliance.
  • To reduce the consequences of non-compliance, pharmaceutical companies need to strategize their technological moves.

Book a free consultation to get started with our pharmaceutical compliance solutions.

Register Now

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