ERP

chemical warehouse management

Warehouse Management in a Chemical company: Challenges & Solutions

Warehouse Management in a Chemical company: Challenges & Solutions 1200 600 Xcelpros Team

Introduction

1.Storage requirements in a chemical company are complicated. As far as hazardous chemicals are concerned, the need for caution and adherence to safety guidelines is a must. Manufacturers need to optimize their warehouse operations to maintain the plant profitability while providing competitive pricing in the face of outpouring competition.

2.A sound chemical warehouse management system makes sure everything in the industry runs in the most optimal way possible. The usual warehouse activities may include arranging the inventory, managing new material stock, running and maintaining appropriate equipment, shipping orders, tracking and improving overall warehouse performance, etc.

3.Optimizing Warehouse Management processes is higher on the list of priorities within a chemical company involving planning, organizing, directing, and controlling resources.

Below are a few challenges distinct to an industry and reasons manufacturers must address them proactively.

Labeling Hazardous Products for Inventory and Shipments:

The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS 2012), per OSHA), requires chemical manufacturers to classify produced or procured chemicals hazardous data. They must also inform employees about the chemicals their exposure through a hazard manual, product labels with chemical hazard information, safety data sheets, and workforce training. Maintaining chemical information and printing Product Labels ensures compliance with HCS 2012. The regulations give importance to the consistency and content of chemical labels. Product Labels are standardized and must include these six elements:

Figure: 1Chemical Label in Microsoft Dynamics Finance and Operations with Key Elements

1.Signal Word – Indicates a hazard, such as “Warning”/”Danger.”

2.Pictograms – To identify hazardous products, grouped by health risk, chemical risk, and environmental risk. Given below is an example.

3.Manufacturer’s details: Identifies the manufacturer’s company name, address, and telephone number.

4.First aid and precautionary statements: Describes preventive, response, storage, and disposal precautions.

5.Hazard statements: Describes the nature of hazardous products and the degree of hazard.

6.Product name: Identifies the chemical name.

Warehouse Inventory Accuracy

Inventory has to be stored appropriately in the right locations per set location directives and labeled correctly. Inventory inaccuracies can occur due to several reasons. Not having real-time inventory counts, inability to track inventory in the said location, moving inventory without recording the transfer. Most of these issues are attributed to time factors, breakdown in process or non-compliance to process and insufficient training on the chemical inventory management system. When workers face such tricky problems in operations, they will most probably bypass it in favor of the interest of time. More than often, these flaws can accumulate, leaving behind confusing values in the chemical inventory tracking system.

Figure: 2Inventory Tracking in a Warehouse

Revisit your warehouse management strategy

There are various solutions to mitigate the above problems. Let us discuss a few:

  • Every warehouse personnel starting from manager to workers must adequately train to resolve different types of errors.
  • Build a healthy work-knowledge environment about the entire system to assist each other with information, accordingly, whenever any issues turn up.
  • Reliable technologies like cloud management software and machine learning applications can produce higher accuracy and transparency to the entire warehouse operation.
  • Chemical warehouse optimization is possible by human resource management solutions, material management solutions, and monitoring key performance metrics to track the warehouse’s overall efficiency. Order picking accuracy, warehouse capacity, on-time shipment to customers, etc. are a few such measures that will improve overall warehouse productivity.
  • Chemical companies can use new technologies such as especially mobile devices, to improve end-to-end functioning. Mobility in Supply Chain Management is imperative since it leads to cost reduction, escalates productivity, and better improves operational efficiency.

The Role of Picking Optimization within the Chemical Warehouse

Picking is a critical process within a warehouse, and if not optimized, can turn chaotic – particularly with a large volume of warehouse transactions. A majority of chemical warehouse management issues occur while picking an item.. The problem is often a result of ‘receiving’ or ‘put-away’ tasks. Despite radiofrequency and voice-directed systems becoming widespread, some operations continue to rely on a manual-driven systems. A critical piece of the overall management is to ensure full compliance with you ERP system, even when situations arise that make compliance seem unreasonable. Exceptions such as offering an approved substitute item or finding an incorrect product in a location must have a record to allow a complete and precise account of the inventory.

Numerous errors can manifest during picking. These include viewing the physically available on-hand quantity of an item and reserving inventory on previously confirmed backorders—the delta then shows an available amount after allocating material to existing orders. Additionally, picking operations can easily deceive a planner who is viewing inventory. A well-functioning warehouse management system should detect – allocated, picked, and shipped stock to avoid overbooking for quantity to multiple orders. If an inventory count leads to inaccuracies, sufficient inventory adjustments through mobile devices can dissipate inventory errors. Chemical corporations prefer proactive planning to avoid mistakes in reporting on-hand inventory; however, they are often trying to accelerate operations to fulfill demand and ship goods out the door ‘on time and in full’. The tasks planned daily sometimes compromise the GMP (Good Manufacturing practices) to meet the customer’s dynamic demands. Diligent scrutiny of inventory record tracking can support more reliability and inventory accuracy.

Recall Management

In case of a product recall, a chemical company needs to trace back every batch of the product shipped, which means retrieving all customer details who received the specific product batch. To unfold the product’s traceability, a chemical plant must function on a system that keeps track of all the process operations, raw material order batches, product-related data, and supplier-customer related data. Transaction details at a granular level effectively handle tracking inventory history from purchase/production to specific shipments. A well designed Supply Chain Management (SCM) will keep track of inventory aging with the ability to drill into details. All the essential data enables the system to trace products during different processes: manufacturing, in staging, on-hand, products in transit, products in shipping locations, and under quarantine. The traceability must also act as a tool to identify suppliers of defective materials so that the entire supply chain runs safe and sound. If needed, making decisions to switch suppliers is recommended by the system when inventory defects from a specific supplier are consistently surfacing throughout the product life cycle.

Role of Technology

An ideal information system for running a warehouse in a chemical plant must manage the inventory and address supply chain visibility to respond quickly to an emergency. The system includes handling counteractions, compliance issues, audits by date, reviews by the person responsible, associated yields, and documents required by specific regulatory bodies such as OSHA.

Ultimately, an ethical business practice is necessary for sustainable and constructive growth. An efficient warehouse management system (WMS), an intelligent set of operational strategies, and a system to drive user behavior can hugely profit a chemical company.

Figure: 3Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations with embedded chemical information system

Key Takeaways

  • In an immensely competitive market scenario, a potential warehouse set up needs a consistent, quick to learn and easy to follow process. The process will aid towards overall performance improvement.
  • In a short span, the major industries have been through several technological transformations such as barcoding, Radio Frequency Identification (RDFI), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), etc. Applying all these technologies contributes to a real-time surge in authenticity, acceleration of general warehouse operations, and faster conveyance with other supply chain partners.
  • All growth-oriented chemical companies in the market leverage a common platform to manage their end-to-end operations. Comprehensive planning and an excellent supplier-retailer relationship can help avoid unpredictability and other inventory risks involved. The objective is to create opportunities for supply chain surplus and gross value addition for end customers that ultimately contribute to its success.

Book Your Free Consultation on Chemical Warehouse Management.

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About XcelPros

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

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

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

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

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

5 Reasons Why You Need An ERP Transformation For Business Success

5 Reasons Why You Need An ERP Transformation For Business Success 1200 600 Xcelpros Team

Introduction

Have you seen a dip in your ERP system performance? Is your system breaking down every now and then? Is your current ERP able to support your rapidly growing business? As business transactions increase with time, you may notice spikes in system inefficiencies. You cannot expect to improve the company’s overall productivity with a legacy system that is barely functioning and outdated. You cannot report actionable insights while dealing with bad data and inefficient processes. By now, you have enough indications that your business is outgrowing the current ERP system. However, like most companies, you probably hesitate to transform your ERP, as there is an inherent fear about the cost of transformation and the company’s inability to accept change.

Three-fourths of ERP transformation projects fail to stay on schedule or within budget, and two-thirds have a negative return on investment.Source: Mckinsey

Interestingly enough, the above stat also forces companies that desperately need an ERP change to be better planned and prepared for the transformation. Companies that cannot transform quickly soon become irrelevant.

The only thing harder than transformation is, failing to transform.

ERP transformation SWOT

Many industry insights have proved that the rate of failure is significantly higher when organizations are unable to embrace change. There are various reasons to move on from your existing legacy systems. Read on to know more about the five reasons you need an ERP transformation.

1.Your current ERP system does not have systemic collaboration capabilities Most old-age ERP systems run in silos and process transactions independently for each department. Some don’t even have cross-functional capabilities. This can pose an issue when you are trying to eliminate inefficient business processes. Archaic ERP systems rely on manual/paper-based methods for inter or intra-departmental collaboration. You rely on your team’s verbal communication and expect them to be on top of their tasks, especially while handing them off to other departments. Most of the process inefficiencies arise due to poor communication. For example, your manufacturing and finance departments interact manually or through paper. As the volume of work orders goes up, the teams quickly lose track of operations that need to be verified and closed out. These delays can cause inventory inaccuracies and bad data.

Figure: 1A real life manual production process prior to transformation

Production Process before ERP Transformation

Notice the number of failure points in the above figure. Now imagine many of these failure points across different production scenarios. While some organizations are very good at tracking manual communication, the onus is always on the team to communicate effectively and move work orders forward. Secure, streamlined, efficient collaboration is the focus of most modern-day companies. Businesses that want to succeed will empower their team to collaborate from anywhere effectively.

2.Your ERP system does not have embedded advanced analytics and BI dashboards Most Agile companies prefer Analytics and BI dashboards within their operational ERP systems. Organizations with profitability as their primary objective always favor tracking efficiencies and inefficiencies. Success or failure depends on the ability to respond to aberrations instantly. BI applications are separate from an operational ERP system by design. A powerful BI application collates data and provides analytical insights. Integrating an obsolescent ERP to a standalone analytics application is cumbersome and does not offer real-time analytical reports. You may lose the capability of embedding a quick and easy BI dashboard onto your ERP that provides real-time progress reporting.

Ultimately, the more visibility you have of operations, the better equipped you are to make accurate business decisions. Once you notice an inability to report actionable insights, it is time to move on to a new ERP with better systemic capabilities and real-time reporting.

3.Your ERP system cannot leverage the power of AI and process automation It is a known fact that various industries have embraced AI to enhance their ability to predict user behavior. The prediction criteria include historical data, continuously improving processes, day-in-the-life activities, and adaptability to process improvements. On a similar token, many modern companies have adopted process automation to increase overall operational efficiency. AI and process automation are not just fancy technologies for larger companies. They are active enhancers that also help small and midsize companies to grow their businesses. Without your ERP integrated into AI, the system will not have the capability of continuous learning-to-enhance productivity. If you are still on an out-of-date ERP system, the chances are that you cannot leverage the power of AI and process automation. When combined with advanced analytics, AI improves your supply chain’s end-to-end visibility and predicts possible disruptions before they occur. It now calls for a business decision if you are willing to decommission a legacy system that cannot utilize AI’s potential and plan your move to a modern platform.

4.Your current ERP system is less secure and more susceptible to data breaches Companies that are functioning on legacy systems tend to be more vulnerable to security threats and data breaches. You may not have the ability to protect your data and audit ‘who did what’ in the system. Most businesses store sensitive information like customer pricing, credit card numbers, employee records, company’s intellectual property, formulations, etc. If you are on an aged ERP, it may be challenging to ensure data privacy and security. Losing Information can be daunting, especially if you have no secure backups of data. How do you ensure that unauthorized access has not occurred and your information is not compromised?

Responsible companies do not risk customer information. They agree that short term pain and cost of an ERP transformation will any day benefit them, eventually leading them to long-term business gains.

5.Your current ERP system is not Agile and cannot accommodate incremental business needs An interesting question to ask yourself is if your technology can adapt to business process changes without customizing the system and violating industry best practices? Antiquated ERP systems are equivalent to following age-old processes. Enough research is done on this subject to help companies move away from outdated business practices and procedures. Companies are now choosing to be more nimble with changing times and stay afloat in a highly competitive market. Many companies within your sector may have already made the shift to newer, agile technologies – giving them the potential to outrun you in competition. Agile companies have the flexibility to function with higher efficiency, better ways to interact with customers/business partners, manage tasks smartly, and optimize resource utilization.

Research shows that agile organizations have a 70 percent chance of being in the top quartile of organizational health, the best indicator of long-term performance.Source: Mckinsey

As market dynamics change, the way you run your business should adjust accordingly. If you want to move out of working exhaustively, it is high time your company transforms towards being agile.

Why do companies move slowly to initiate the ERP implementation?

Below are a few hindrances that stop companies from moving forward with a technology transformation that will drive organizational change –

1.Cost of the changeover.

2.Businesses have difficulty following an implementation methodology that may challenge their current way of functioning.

3.Companies don’t have an internal change agent who can set end-user expectations, make tough decisions that may impact job descriptions and trigger a reorganization.

How do you overcome these challenges to move forward?

1.Have a set budget. Take a crawl, walk and run approach to the transformation.

a. Crawl – Lift and Shift. Map your current business processes and convert them to the new system.

b. Walk – Stabilize in the new environment, including handling issues, fixing them and maximize business operations.

c. Run – Leverage all the additional optimization features on the application to boost the business.

2.Agree to a methodology that works for your company and doesn’t create too much resistance to convert.

3.Look for the right internal champion who understands the business and can manage user expectations effectively, especially when it comes to business changes that make users uncomfortable.

Final Thoughts

  • If you cannot move out of an old ERP system, your business challenges will continue to persist – further increasing sunk costs and lost time in the battle of quality vs. efficiency vs. cost of transformation.
  • Chalk out your organizational goals for the next five years to clarify why you should transform your business into a modern – agile ERP system and list your transformational goals.
  • Prioritize your ERP transformation into different phases by starting with lift and shift – to move your core business functions into the new system, and eventually implementing process optimization to utilize the real power of your new ERP.

Begin Your ERP Transformation With Free Assessment.

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About XcelPros

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

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

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

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

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

Rapid ERP Implementation

Understanding Rapid ERP Systems Implementation- Challenges & Benefits

Understanding Rapid ERP Systems Implementation- Challenges & Benefits 1920 1080 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

  • ERP implementations are transitioning from being just a business choice to a necessity. Companies are now seeking ways for faster, smoother, and more economical implementation strategies.
  • An expedited ERP implementation strategy involves rapid methods that bring must-have features from legacy systems into a newer, agile and modern system.
  • Enterprises face many issues with rapid implementation, such as stringent scope, change management, limited customization options, etc.
  • Latest technologies and methodologies can make rapid ERP implementation a possibility for companies that want a higher ROI on their technology investments.

95%

of respondents improved some or all of their business processes after implementing a new ERP.

Source: Panorama Consulting

If enterprises were asked about their ERP implementation strategies a decade ago, the responses would vary widely. Many were skeptical, some were eager yet unsure and almost all who were positive opted for steady onboarding into the new ERP. The continuing implementation model meant that employees were trained at a slow pace in the ERP, customizations were done as per requirements, and the budget was spread out. However, in the current day changeover to a new ERP is lot quicker and turn enterprises to be agile and dynamic. Companies are lot more informed about the various technologies in the market and all they need is to plan the right time for the implementation and choose the right partner.

According to the report published by Allied Market Research, the global ERP software market accounted for $35.81 billion in 2018 and is anticipated to reach $78.41 billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 10.2% during the study period.

Many organizations are now opting for a cloud-based, rapid ERP implementation method, as they understand the benefits of the approach. The new decade demands companies to be more adaptable with a workforce that can quickly adjust to changes. In the past decade, companies that tried to get their employees be more nimble faced many challenges. Workforce could not promptly understand the market’s changing needs and adjust accordingly. They were usually overwhelmed, confused and unmotivated to move quickly. However, the new-age has limited choice to stay stuck in the same method of functioning, as many companies have already transformed to agile ERPs. The initial changeover may be painful but is necessary. Companies have to provide the right technology platform and help employees adjust to the new system. Once employee training and onboarding to the new system is done, they become accustomed to a continuous improvement procedure that drives growth.

The benefits of an expedited reorganization through quick ERP changeover makes enterprises go with a rapid transformation methodology.

Figure: 1Benefits of Rapid ERP Implementation

Why do companies move slowly when it comes to deciding on a new ERP? CIOs look for some general points such as ERP system with proven business benefits, technology roadmap for the future, company’s ability to move into a new ERP rapidly, etc. Let us have a look at some of the most prominent challenges that slow down the decision making process to get started with an ERP transformation.

Challenges in Rapid ERP Implementation:

1.Reduced Scope of Customization: Any ERP that is suitable for a rapid implementation has templates for users to easily fill in their data, and tools that can easily help users move to the new system. This eliminates the need for customized codes and also simplifies the use of the tool. However, some companies may find this method constricting, especially when they wish to customize the application to fit their current business processes. Predefined templates allow companies to go with out-of-the-box functionality. The newer system may follow all industry best practices out-of-the-box and may restrict you from overly customizing the system to fit the historical business practices. To aleviate the discomfort of user adoption to the new system, companies tend customize the system to look and feel like the old system. Rapid implementations restrict customizations, creating some discomfort in change averse users. 

65%

of new implementation budgets go above plan due to customizing the ERP system during the project.

2.Challenges in Faster Change Management: Rapid ERP implementation process requires setting up a system that can manage the end-to-end processes. The system however should be designed to scale and accommodate system updates or future releases without too much effort. However, an expedited change management timeline can be tough on users especially if they are unable to adapt quickly. Aligning all the stakeholders, making them privy to the to-be changes, avoiding communication gaps, managing resistance, and sticking to the budget are some of the challenges organizations face when moving to an agile cloud-based ERP.

3.Data Migration Challenges: Moving from legacy to ERP requires collation, classification, and systematic migration of legacy data. In the case of rapid ERP, moving to the cloud calls for thorough data scrubbing within a limited time to ensure data is accurate. To avoid a drain on budget, companies engage an internal resource to clean up legacy data. The data migration process goes smoothly when data is cleaner and in the right format.

4.Managing expectations: Lastly, companies often look at ERP as their be-all-end-all solution. However, rapid ERP tools are made with reduced implementation time as a primary objective. There can be certain discrepancies in managing expectations with stakeholders. A proper internal champion or change agent who can spearhead the transformation can make the transformation easy on the company. Furthermore, managing employees’ psychological resistance and expectations can also be a hurdle for companies in the initial period of implementation, especially if the company has been on the legacy system for many years. An implementation needs an internal change agent who knows how to set user expectations and take a tough stance on situations, especially the ones that can spiral the implementation out of control. Without an internal champion, no matter how good your implementation partner is, you will see a drain on budget, time and a continuous blame that will make your project a failure.

With these challenges ahead, how are the systems integrators ensuring that companies can still benefit from rapid ERP implementations? The answer lies in setting the right expectations with the customer and leveraging the native tool kits of the ERP. For example, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations comes loaded with features that can give companies worth their money. The reliability, industry-standard templates, relevant functionality, and more such hallmarks make Dynamics 365 the go-to solution for faster cloud-based ERP implementations.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations also enables step-by-step e-learning for its applications like the Task Recorder Resources that can run as a guide for users to learn the functions. With this app, users can record business processes for various scenarios and replay it as a guide. The feature speeds up change management and removes the user’s discomfort of not knowing the system.

The bottom line is that rapid ERP implementations are highly successful when companies go with native functionality and leverage the strength of the base system, rather than customizing the system. At least for the initial lift and shift, it is always recommended to stick with out-of-the-box functionality. Today, the digital era requires enterprises to become agile while leveraging newer technologies like cloud, process automation, etc. Rapid ERP implementations are a start to help a company become more nimble and adjust to market conditions quickly. So it is not always about ‘this is what I am used to doing’, it is about ‘what do I need to do differently to be successful’. Saying that we cannot change and resisting the change will only push your company’s progress further. Companies will also need to help their employees understand the benefits of going rapid so that the implementation and execution can be done on time and within the allocated budget.

Key Takeaways

  • Organizations need to be aware of challenges about the rapid ERP implementation and be prepared with strategies to overcome these challenges.
  • It is crucial to remember that rapid ERP is highly beneficial to contain project costs and onboard users quicker into the new system. However, the chosen ERP should be able to handle most if not all organization’s needs.
  • Choosing the right tool for rapid ERP implementation is ‘half battle won’ for companies in their journey towards becoming agile.

Book Your Free Consultation for Rapid ERP Implementation.

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About XcelPros

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

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

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

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

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

electronic signature for compliance

Role of Electronic Signatures in Pharmaceutical Quality Control

Role of Electronic Signatures in Pharmaceutical Quality Control 1500 844 Xcelpros Team

Introduction

Many life-sciences companies struggle to ensure stakeholders’ revenue growth due to low performing, paper based systems. Furthermore, they deal with challenges related to operational efficiency, productivity, product quality, return on investments, and compliance-related issues. Another key challenge is managing humongous data in paper systems or disintegrated systems that are hard to access, analyze, and report. If any of these challenges ring a bell, your primary focus should be on redefining your current business proesses and standard operating procedures. Rapidly growing companies are quickly revisiting their business process and procedures as the industry is evolving. They are moving towards simple, agile and powerful electronic business management systems to stay ahead of competition. Your ability to grow the business is directly related to your openness to change.

A cross-functional pharmaceutical organization has departments such as Procurement, Receiving, Quality, Inventory, and Shipping that may be disjointed. Business processes tend to be more reactive when visibility of operations is low. Rapidly growing companies embrace a paperless environment to improve operational efficiency, cut down costs, meet regulatory standards, and, most importantly, maintain complete visibility. Switching to a system with electronic signatures can help cope up with evolving quality conditions, and make your company more relevant in the current market conditions.

Life sciences companies need digital systems to support their core business procedures and make sure they are implemented accurately to pass all computer systems validation requirements. Having electronic signatures embedded in the technology they choose will be a strength to the process. It provides the additional validation and visibility of authorized personnel who approve the movement or release of inventory after passing the right quality standards.

Most modern pharmaceutical companies are moving towards electronic signatures to track their business activities. This gives the additional relief that there is no manual circumvention of any activities or violation of procedures.

The global e-signature market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 34.7% during the forecast period, to reach $9,073.1 million by 2023.

The following are a few processes considered for computer systems validation:

1.Purchasing – Raw materials and packaging materials purchased from approved suppliers.

2.Receiving – Incoming inventory received with the right paperwork requires validation by a supervisor of the receiving department or a Quality manager.

3.Batch Production – While verification of raw materials consumption, operations, and yields.

4.Quality – This is an absolute requirement for inventory on hold, waiting for batch quality testing before releasing material for consumption or shipments.

Figure: 1 Electronic signature in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations – Production order release function

One of the primary FDA regulations called ‘Title 21 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 11’ states that “Persons may use electronic records instead of paper records or electronic signatures in place of traditional signatures, in whole or in part, provided that the requirements of this part met, and that a docket stating a company’s intent submitted to the FDA.

The transition from a paper-based quality management documentation to a comprehensive digital record system is not simple; it involves an array of challenges. Below are a few:

1.Poor Data Management: Data is a key component of a CFR 21 part 11 compliant system. Poorly managed and stored data can cause havoc when an auditor comes to your doorstep. How intuitive you want the Digital systems ultimately depends on how well the data is stored in the system. Information that is all over the place without a proper arrangement will only increase more audit issues and compliance issues. It is a good practice to conduct a periodic data review to ensure that all of the necessary steps are executed within different departments or when interacting with 3rd party systems.

2.Managing Digital Signatures With companies’ transitioning to digital systems, regulatory agencies have formulated several policies to safeguard electronic signatures. Poor document control is a significant reason for companies’ failure of regulatory audits. A ‘hard to audit’ digital system creates more manual documentation changes by end-users. Companies need to have robust security control with hierarchical approval procedures to preserve electronic information and avoid regulatory penalties. It is hence imperative that your ERP system has the necessary infrastructure to manage electronic signatures at different steps. These acceptable electronic signatures can then easily be audited and reported.

3.Mitigating Quality Management Issues The purpose of implementing an electronic signature software is to grow collaboration across departments in your company, not only in quality control. How your end users adapt to quality management processes plays a crucial role in realizing a software’s true potential. The digital system helps to generate faster resolutions to pending requests by auto-reminding end users. Adopting good documentation practices in the pharmaceutical industry is essential to drive away quality management issues to make your company more stable, reliable and growth-oriented.

4.Changing Complacent Corporate Culture electing an intuitive, easy-to-use system and overall organizational change management are two critical parameters to ensure a swift transition to a digital system. It is essential to make end-users understand the workflow benefits of digital document management systems. If issues get ignored before the transition to a more compliant system, the legacy system’s inefficiencies will transfer to the new system. Even though there could be initial resistance to switch to such a controlled system, the long term benefits will outweigh the short term user adaption issue. Being prepared and setting an expectation of what the change will be like and what sort of issues to expect will be the first step to help users understand that the changeover may feel difficult at first but ultimately will help them be more successful.

Companies, therefore, require a digital system that demonstrates both regulatory and functional electronic signature compliance. A system that

  • helps in customizing levels of authentication
  • provides scalability and flexibility to customize workflows
  • supports bulk approval of all artifacts which are duly reviewed and signed off from a regulatory perspective
  • supports test management processes such as test plan, test lab, etc.
  • provides detailed audit trails for stakeholders and regulatory organizations.

Figure: 2Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations – Quality control transaction with digital signatures

Below are some common requirements for electronic signature within a Pharmaceutical ERP system:

1.The employee should have the appropriate security role in the system to create an electronic signature.

2.The employee has to be individually recognized by the system with their signature.

3.The employee should have a certificate on the system that is used to generate the electronic signature.

4.The signature should be able to detect if there were any susceptible violations.

5.If a signature violation occurs, it should be easily audited.

Electronic signatures can be possible with different levels of security, which allows you to verify a user, data and attest a signature on certain set processes. Only those individuals with access to view the transactions and have the ability to sign off electronically will be able to create the signature. The system will have a log to track the individual, the associated transaction event, date and time of the signature.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations (F&O) is a CFR 21 Part 11 compliant system that gives you the ability to record an electronic signature on different Quality-driven transactions. F&O maintains the necessary audits of approvers authorized with a secure certificate from the system. The certificate provides you with an encrypted key using a password only accessible to the user. The system allows users only with the appropriate security credentials to access the transactions and once all the verification is done, lets the authorized personnel create a signature on the transaction.

Get Free Consultation to Learn More About Using Electronic Signatures with Microsoft Dynamics 365.

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For more information on Prebuilt Electronic Signatures for your industry, contact us at contact@xcelpros.com.

About XcelPros

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

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

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

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

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

Migrating to cloud based erp solution

Migration from On-Premise to Cloud based ERP System

Migration from On-Premise to Cloud based ERP System 1920 1080 Xcelpros Team

Introduction

If you are dealing with a legacy ERP system that is slowing down your business productivity or limits your ability to grow, its time to start planning the changeover to a new system. Moreover, if you are struggling to get a grip over the exceeding maintenance cost, it’s no longer an option then, rather an absolute must have to upgrade your legacy system to a cloud-based ERP. Upgrading an ERP system is a critical business decision and involves in-depth research and planning. A scalable cloud-based ERP solution capable of managing a comprehensive set of business functions is what you need.

76%

of enterprises have a formal cloud strategy and 74% of organizations will increase cloud spending to over 20% by 2020.

Source: Per a prediction by Forrester and IDC

2020 has come and gone, with higher cloud adoption than expected. Many company were struggling to adjust to the new normal with their archaic tools. Companies that transformed prior to the pandemic found it comparitively simpler to work remotely and still keep productivity up, in some cases productivity of a company has gone higher than expected due to remote work. If you take a look at the marketplace of today’s business, it’s a data-driven environment. Any decisions business leaders take based on numbers and insights to get the best results.

If you are operating on legacy systems, your business landscape is not up-to-date to provide real-time analytics or meet a modern business’s requirements. To enable a data-driven organization, you need to revamp the foundation from which you are operating.

The result is innumerable complexities in business operations such as gaps due to multiple database handling, duplicate manual data entry, broken data flow between departments, missed deadlines, etc. On-premise ERP systems require a series of hardware updates that make the total cost of ownership (TCO) even higher. Security concerns, regulatory compliance, policy necessities add to the complexities.

60%or more companies still use outdated ERP systems, per Microsoft survey.

59% of respondents expressed they will prefer an upgrade to cloud-based ERP in their next implementation, per the Microsoft survey.

80%of organizations are allocating budget for cloud projects. However, more than half are burdened with legacy systems and lack in-house expertise, per IBM

The journey from ERP 1.0 to ERP 2.0

The evolution of ERP didn’t happen over a brief period. It has taken organizations more than 10 decades to reach the current shape of ERP. The root of modern ERP lies in older production management models like EOQ (economic order quantity) and MRP (materials requirements planning). After years of relying on old inventory management procedures, the manufacturing industry gets its upgrade, MRP II, a software solution enabling computing power to manage different business aspects. Further scrutinizing the broadened scope of MRP II, Gartner coins the term ERP. Later addressing the key market shifts, Gartner calls the software ERP II, a solution capable of tracking real-time, web-based data.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 offers Tier 2 ERP solution that offers superior functionality in minimum complexities and cost. It makes the upgrade and integration easier to the latest technologies and provides a transformative experience.

A switch from ERP 1.0 to 2.0 opens innovation areas by increasing your current IT landscape’s flexibility. Also, cloud migrated mainframes produce an approximate 47 percent lower cost of operations spread across five years than on-premise mainframe platforms.

A popular Cisco survey in 2017 showed that 83% of the best performing US businesses planned an effective SaaS strategy and have started collaborating with cloud vendors. Cisco’s Global Cloud Index for the period 2013-2018 showed that 59% of all cloud workflows would be delivered as SaaS by the end of the year. Moreover, Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) will decline to 28% compared to 44% in 2013, and that only 13% of workloads will be delivered as Platform-as-a-Service(PaaS).

A survey report of Harvard Business Review Analytic Services reveals that 36% of 560 marketing professionals reported legacy systems to be one of the biggest roadblocks in implementing real-time analytics.

Legacy systems may offer you a high horsepower and set customer experiences, but upgrading to new software to keep up with the technological and generational growth is essential for ensuring better performance.

Regardless of the advantages of staying in your comfort zone and managing business processes with your legacy ERP system, these factors drive you to switch from legacy to cloud –

1.Operational inefficiencies:When your business expands, migrating to the cloud is an effective solution to keep track of all the real-time data and increase collaboration across your company’s different departments. Clinging to legacy software during business expansion decreases benefits of cloud ERP systems.

2.Growth of business:Growth of a firm often refers to the global expansion, reporting and compliance requirements and expansion of financial services. New opportunities like market growth, acquisitions and disinvestments require stabilized systems with smooth processes to be in place. As mentioned above, streamlining various departmental functions that deal with them for development and growth requires an agile cloud-based platform.

3.Technological Transformation:Unlike the expectations from previously used legacy systems, today’s users demand collaboration and ease. Today’s ERP systems’ expectations incorporate essential operational functions like real-time analytics with customized dashboards, social collaboration with increased mobile access, and quick updates. This is easily achieved using cloud ERP systems.

Legacy to Cloud – Data migration challenges

Many companies operate on home-grown legacy systems, comprising both hardware and software. These systems were the foundation of working business systems and managers might hesitate to switch to other alternatives without a transformation plan. Though it is tough to make ERP implementation decisions, every business needs to upgrade to stay at par with its competitors. Some of the fears are also related to Data migration.

Per a report by Bloor Research, 31% of cloud data migration projects fail. Following are a few hurdles faced by organizations today, resulting in migration failure.

  • Insufficient knowledge of source data – A knowledge gap leads to problems such as lack of source knowledge, spelling mistakes, duplicates, missing information and erroneous data. This gives users a false perspective of data into the new system resulting in an incorrect design. Know what data is a business need vs. a system constraint. Such situations make it essential for you to understand the source of data.
  • Unstructured processes – The process of data migration involves disparate technologies used by disparate people. Manual data migration increases human errors resulting in inaccurate, incomplete and outdated information. The outcome of such errors is the lack of technologies and resources to correct data. It is essential to perform an advanced analysis while planning and designing to help you recover these hidden errors.
  • Failure in implementation validation – Ineffective testing during the initial stage of deployment and lack of knowledge on the data sources results in its implementation failures. Running a few tests using the full volume of the data helps estimate the worst-case scenario missed using conveniently available data.
  • Late final result evaluation – This issue usually occurs at the testing stage, where users see only the final data compiled into the system at the end of design and development. Problems like data incompatibility with the new ERP system arise at this stage, which can be avoided with effective testing during the migration process saving the company time, money and delayed data migration time. Users can get involved in the evolving test cases to show them data output’s actual prototypes.
  • Lack of full usage of expertise – Most companies do not use the management’s expertise. They face issues in decoding large codes, obtaining access to these codes and other functional challenges. Introducing such experts to your project helps make sense of the disparate data for effective data migration techniques.

Figure: 1Benefits of moving ERP to the cloud

The bigger question – What does the cloud have to offer?

Even though migrating to the cloud might look like a hefty expense, it saves you from the shackles of operational inefficiency, effective demand forecasting, poor customer service and reduced ROI.

A few characteristics and advantages of a new and advanced cloud-based ERP would be –

  • Improved ERP Performance – The switch from on-premise to the cloud helps free up computational power and resources that are essentially necessary while deploying an effective ERP solution. This is one of the most significant advantages offered by the cloud, which eliminates any infrastructural costs, helping smaller businesses flourish and the only necessity is a well-established internet system.Microsoft Azure offers you a flexible cloud platform that quickly adapts to your business’s needs and requirements. It is simple to adjust and provides a host of building blocks that allow you to customize the cloud according to yourself.
  • Reduced Operational Costs – An on-premise ERP software requires a workforce to maintain it. The extra costs on human resources and the ERP software cost can increase operational costs for the firm. Using cloud ERP software gives you benefits like a monthly subscription tailored to the customer’s needs at a low outlay cost. As the implementation costs are much lower, the overall operational costs also reduce.
    The cloud’s added benefit is that it provides a common platform for developing various solutions, negating the developing time for constructing programs from scratch. The aforementioned helps in the allocation of resources for other activities that add a higher business value.Due to its large customer base, Microsoft offers a large volume of discounts to their customers. Azure usually works as a pay-as-you-go model, reducing the input costs for smaller companies. Larger enterprises who sign contracts are offered a more considerable discount as well.
  • Higher Security – The input and output of the ERP systems’ data is generally confidential and requires a well-established and secure maintenance system. Cloud ERP offers superior quality security systems that ensure that the information is effectively protected and encrypted. The user access to such data helps in the effective correction in the areas needed.Microsoft Azure offers you a multi-layered security system helping you detect threats earlier with unique intelligence.
  • Real-Time Analytics – Contemporary software-based solutions make it necessary for industry models to offer real-time data for the process optimization and business intelligence based on which decisions can be made. Cloud ERP software comprises API links to the platform, helping users scale reporting and analytical needs. The instant access to the data on the cloud makes information readily available, which benefits industries like manufacturing, where real-time data tracking helps in process optimization.
  • Enhanced UAT and API testing – An effective User Acceptance Testing and API beta testing has become a more common approach. In opposition to testing in isolation in an engineering setting, UAT and API methodology are more conducive to finding and more responsive to real-world problems.

Figure: 2 Variety of functions offered on the cloud

Cloud for ROI

The two main components of calculating ROI for an ERP software are –

  • required investment and savings
  • efficiencies & goodwill

The calculation of ROI for the software does not have a predetermined methodology as the software brings a variety of intangible values with itself. The benefits are primarily in reducing operation cost, optimizing inventory levels, labor cost and improved production.

The ROI is often masked in reductions of operational costs of running the company using transparency in the organization and the activities taking place in it. The benefits can also be reduced administrative costs by reduced paperwork and time information exchange using real-time data tracking. Inventory costs are reduced by optimizing material stock and by tracking the inventory health in turn increasing the ROI of the software.

Azure is the only major cloud platform ranked by Gartner as an industry leader for both infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS).

What does Azure have to offer to you?

As per a Forbes study, enterprise adoption of Microsoft Azure increased significantly from 43% to 58% in 2018, attaining a 35% CAGR.

Raising cloud ERP adoption rates by such a high margin shows the increasing popularity of the software gained from features like increasing flexibility. Azure adopts and adapts other operating systems’ standards and embraces competing for software platforms to ensure it stays relevant to as many people and companies as possible.

Here are a few advantages of Azure –

  • Widespread customer support as Microsoft spreads over 19 regions across the globe and offers support plans in a variety of languages.
  • Offers a hybrid environment that helps you gain benefits from both on-premise and cloud software solutions without any added cost burdens.
  • Visual studio online and application insights helping in developer collaboration and increased options.
  • Offers you virtual systems like Linux and Windows servers, increasing your ability to run virtual machines.
  • Ability to scale on demand
  • Reliable back-ups in case of data loss
  • “Set it and forget it” scheduling
  • Increased automation
  • Reliable data storage and increased security

Figure: 3Cloud benefits to your business

Key Takeaways

  • In most organizations, legacy systems are still hovering around because the cost of refurbishing them is too high till they are in working condition and the management sees this as business overhead. On the other hand, the IT department sees it as a can of worms. Due to reeling communication, responsibility and financial problems, the organization are unwilling and initiate this migration.
  • The best thing the organizations can do in such a case is to hire an external vendor or an SME who can assess the situation and make this difficult decision and formulate a pragmatic approach to convince the stakeholders else they will pay for the opportunity cost of losing.
  • Finally, we can’t undermine having a proper cloud alliance that can help the organizations lift-and-shift their legacy systems to the cloud and reinvent these systems’ performance and makes all stakeholders see ERP cloud migration’s long-term gains.

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About XcelPros

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

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

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

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

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

Batch Processing In Manufacturing Of Pharma Industry

Unifying Pharma With Batch Manufacturing Process for Simplified Formula Management

Unifying Pharma With Batch Manufacturing Process for Simplified Formula Management 1500 844 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

  • Batch manufacturing or batch processing in manufacturing are conventional methods used by chemical, pharmaceutical and related sectors. These methods pose various challenges when it comes process management, formula simplification, quality checks and more.
  • Formula management is the core of process manufacturing to manage ingredients and related raw material, making it audit prone and a validated process.
  • Manufacturers are looking for solutions and software to allow the R&D and production team to work together on formulations. Manufacturers need to simplify Formula management and track changes to maintain an audit trail.

The pharmaceutical industry faces many challenges related to formula management in manufacturing. Maintaining formula, formula lines, cross-checking the data, managing raw material supply etc. can be a daunting task for the people on shop floor. Any change in formula needs to be communicated and cascaded down to production line operators to make necessary changes while running the manufacturing process smoothly.

We currently live in a modernized, connected world and it is thus essential to bring these modern hi-tech solutions to pharmaceutical formula management. After all, advanced technologies will dominate pharmaceutical manufacturing patterns, trends and changes in the coming future.

According to a survey by The Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, 68% of biopharmaceutical companies think that advances in technology will significantly impact their organizations.

Before we understand how manufacturing software can help in formula management, let us first consider the challenges in this area.

Challenges in Batch Manufacturing and the Need to Simplify Formula Management:

1.Formula Consistency:As stated earlier, pharmaceutical manufacturers need the formulations to be maintained. This would affect the quality and result of the drug (or other pharmaceutical product) being manufactured. In batch manufacturing, formula consistency plays an essential role in getting consistent results. The challenge lies in maintaining this consistency across multiple locations for different batches.

2.Communicating and Implementing Formula/Line Changes:A formula or formula line is subject to change based on batch history, planned vs. actuals, potency values or other unpredictable factors. When changes are not communicated and implemented correctly, pharmaceutical production can be challenging, especially while producing multiple lots. The cost and labor lost in such scenarios is tremendous. Communicating formula changes to all the stakeholders in the process is equally crucial to avoid quality discrepancies.

3.Maintaining and Managing Data:A pharmaceutical manufacturing facility deals with numerous formulations. Bill of Materials (BOM), ingredients, coproducts, byproducts, different formula lines, 3rd party manufacturing within a formula line, vendor management list, supply chain tracking etc. are all interrelated to formula management. This indicates extensive data generated daily, which needs to be collated, documented, and even analyzed, making it a daunting task prone to errors.

Leveraging Technological Innovations to Address Formula Management Challenges:

Today, digitization and automation have paved newer paths for conventional methods. Tools and systems developed for productiveness and superior performance can address the challenges faced by manufacturers. Speaking particularly of formula management challenges in pharma batch manufacturing, organizations can adapt batch manufacturing ERP software to facilitate:

  • Centralized record maintenance of formula, items, formula lines etc.
  • Formula management
  • Automated change communication
  • Data collation, systematic classification, report generation in the system and more
  • Track and tracing of the lot/ batch
  • Effective supply chain management
  • Production line management
  • Cost sheet maintenance and cost management

These and many more such benefits have turned pharma manufacturers’ attention towards integrating ERP in their batch manufacturing process to simplify formula management.

Figure 1:How ERP Software Can Simplify Formula Management in Batch Manufacturing

How Does Batch Manufacturing Software (ERP) Simplify Formula Management?

With the benefits mentioned above, subject matter experts and CXO’s in pharma companies know how to achieve formula simplification through an ERP software for batch manufacturing. The answer lies in the design and programming of the software which is built to

  • Manage item variants
  • Maintain purchase order sheets for scheduling, re-ordering, etc.
  • Inventory management, forecasting and order management
  • Formula recording, process control, change management and more

The payoffs of investing in batch manufacturing ERP software are numerous. With the increase in globalization, it is all the more important for pharma companies to reduce the time to market while ensuring that the product quality is not compromised. Managing the formula and how it scales for different sizes is probably the first step towards meeting those needs. With the help of high-end software, batch processing in manufacturing can be carried out effectively while simplifying formula management.

Key Takeaways

  • Pharma companies need to go digital to manage formulas for their product lines.
  • Batch manufacturing is a complex process with many factors such as scalability of batch sizes, scrap percentages, potency calculations, by product yields, etc. By simplifying formula management, pharmaceutical manufacturing companies can effectively track their batch production process.
  • There are currently many software tools/ solutions available for pharma companies to integrate into their manufacturing processes. By recognizing their requirements for formula management and batch manufacturing, they should invest in the ones that offer maximum ROI.

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About XcelPros

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

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

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

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

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

Biotech Industry Challenges and their Technology-Powered Solutions

Biotech Industry Challenges and their Technology-Powered Solutions

Biotech Industry Challenges and their Technology-Powered Solutions 1440 810 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

  • In the biotechnology and life sciences industry, the product’s end quality depends on the product lifecycle management process. It is essential to optimize and streamline these processes while making automation an irreplaceable component.
  • Apart from the need to expedite adaption of modern-day technology across the board, the biotech industry also evaluates tools that ranks high on ROI.
  • The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has put the biotech industry at the front and center in terms of the need for faster tests and development of a vaccine and/ or therapeutics. This unprecedented set of events has brought forward even more pressing challenges in biotechnology manufacturing.

The biotech industry is synonymous with cutting-edge research for drugs, better health products, and more. This means the industry needs to evaluate itself for its technological quotient continually. The evaluation will also enable biotech and life sciences companies to know their exact challenges and pain areas. If we look at recent times (past decade), one of the prominent areas that require companies and researchers’ attention is biotechnology manufacturing. While the industry itself is projected to thrive, it is not devoid of some pressing issues that need to be addressed with robust IT reframing.

The global biotechnology industry growth is estimated to reach $727.1 billion by 2025, and at a CAGR of 7.4%.– Grand View Research

These numbers are both exciting and intimidating. Now is the time for the biotechnology sector to invest in fortifying their IT infrastructure to overcome their challenges and stand tall in the coming era of growth in demand.

Let us dive deep into the biotech sector’s five major problems in biotechnology and discuss technologies, tools, and systems to enable manufacturers to overcome these issues.

1.Challenges Pertaining to Funding/ Investments:Yes, the challenges faced by the biotechnology industry begin even before scientists step inside the lab! Venture capitalists are highly cautious in investing in biotech firms. Part of the reason is that the biotech/ life sciences/ pharmaceutical industries are slow-moving industries tied with many regulations. There is a fine line between drug/process acceptance and rejection. Another challenge in this area is the lack of a proper channel that can facilitate precise tracking of funds and generate insightful reports to make investors aware of the money spent. Lack of analytical insights also means that the current or potential investors do not get future predictions, which are readily available in other industries such as software and automobile.

How can Technology Answer These Challenges? Biotechnology companies should look into comprehensive Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems that will enable them to track expenses and tie them back to their funding. An advanced ERP system equipped with advanced analytics features can help leverage data to generate insightful predictions and statistics.

2.Lack of Skillset:Across the board, there is a drying of talent pool for biotech experts who are adept in core subjects and technological applications. This creates a hindrance in quality production. Companies often struggle to keep their employees up-to-date with the latest happenings in the biotech industry. Personnel on the ground are not always aware of the industry trends as they are busy moving the day-to-day processes forward. Also, arranging skill upgrade training is a costly and time-consuming affair. However, the skill gap is a significant issue. Experts stress the perils of obsolete skillset and the importance of recruiting and retaining a highly-skilled workforce in biotech companies.

What Technological Solutions help Overcome Skill Gap?First off, it is crucial to choose agile, easy to use, simple to onboard applications to run everyday operations without losing the ability to capture the power of data. You don’t want to compromise the system in the effort of keeping it simple. Secondly, there are various learning and development platforms available that include individual training tools for employees. The ideal ones are embedded into the ERP system that behaves as a task recording guide. These automated platforms enable ease of access and ensure training completion without the need for individualized supervision.

3.Disconnect with Customer Expectation and Lack of Market Reading:Like any other industry, the biotech industry also faces challenges if there is a disconnect with its customers. Many companies also rely on conventional methods to read the market and gauge demands. Often there is a disconnect in the market demands vs. the in-house standards. However, this type of disconnect leads to poor customer satisfaction and misplaced product placements.

What Role Does Software Play in Establishing Better Customer Relations?A newer, more advanced AI-based customer relationship management (CRM) system tied to an operations system or ERP system can enable biotech firms to enhance their customer outreach and expedite response time. Moreover, CRM is also used to make better market predictions through thorough data analysis and trend studies.

4.Non-streamlined Supply Chains:A companies’ output is only as strong as its input – primarily people, process and software. This is also true in the case of maintaining a robust supply chain network. The Covid-19 pandemic saw disrupted supply chains because of grounded airlines and travel restrictions across various countries globally. There was also a major shift in demand of raw material, resulting in chain reaction of changes across supply chains. Such events need an agile, streamlined and optimized supply chain wherein different departments work in tandem and information is cascaded in real-time.

Figure 1:Leveraging the power of Data Science in Biotech

How can Biotech Companies Make Use of the Latest Technologies to streamline supply chain?The answer is an agile cloud-based ERP platform that includes the following feature set –

  • proactive planning and tracking workforce hours to a project.
  • providing supply-demand signals while procuring raw material and shipping samples.
  • process automation and approval workflows.
  • embedded training portals.
  • increased process visibility and data management.
  • real-time collaboration across various suppliers.

A robust application helps in better inventory management, communication and an overall optimized supply chain that can respond well to changes. The primary emphasis should be on moving towards newer systems and gradually letting go of legacy software. This will help the biotech industry leverage the full benefit of Industry 4.0 and make the most of its potential.

Key Takeaways:

  • Biotech companies need to rethink operations as a technology-powered ecosystem to expedite their process and ensure products are ready for quicker commercialization.
  • Modern-day AI-based ERP, SCM and CRM systems are crucial in enabling the biotech sector to become agile and more responsive.

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About XcelPros

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

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

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

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

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

erp trends

Top 5 ERP System Trends in 2020 to help plan for 2021

Top 5 ERP System Trends in 2020 to help plan for 2021 1920 1080 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

  • 2020 has been a rollercoaster ride for organizations. Companies are figuring out systems to handle remote work, disrupted supply chains, sudden changes in raw material prices, an onslaught of data, and labor shortage significant challenges globally. Many of these companies got their tasks streamlined and optimized in these times with ERP systems.
  • Going forward, ERP in 2021 will be a gateway towards more flexible and agile systems which will enable companies to aim for zero downtime, improved resource functionality, and overall better process optimization.
  • Innovation is the key to ERP’s growth, and the current trends are pointing towards organizations’ keenness for out-of-the-box ERP applications.

Organizations worldwide integrate ERP into their IT infrastructure for operational efficiency, data management, finance and accounting, and process automation. The digitization of an enterprise through newer ERP solutions raises an organization’s performance and dexterity.

ERP has come such a long way from its early inception days that the older versions are quickly becoming obsolete. Companies are moving from legacy to newer ERP platforms to gain traction in the digital ecosystem.

According to the Panorama Consulting Solutions’ 2018 ERP Report, 49% of companies (USA, EU and Asia) reported improved business after ERP implementation.

With such a tremendous success rate, it is no wonder that majority of companies have either implemented or are looking to implement ERP. However, like any other technology, it is essential to keep on top of ERP systems’ features and solutions. Here’s a look at the top 5 ERP technology trends that companies need to watch out for:

1.Integration with AI and its positive impact: Gone are the days companies would look at artificial intelligence (AI) and ERP systems separately. The upcoming ERP comes integrated with AI and offers smooth functionalities in various functions such as efficient accounting, report generation, warehouse/ inventory management, customer service betterment, and more. Another positive impact of ERP systems integrated with AI is that it helps process automation and can save manual labor efforts and cost. This can serve as a boon for companies struggling with workforce shortage due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

2.Cloud Acceleration: Another upcoming ERP trend is the much-talked-about cloud acceleration feature, wherein organizations (or individuals) will be able to expedite data delivery to respective nodes with the help of a smart ERP system. A cloud ERP system also enables organizations to seamlessly go along the digital transformation journey with real-time data feeds and verifications.

3.Agile ERP to Support an Agile Organization: Most companies are asked today if they are agile? To be agile and get away from the conventional waterfall method (where one function would complete the task before moving to the next), companies will delve into agile ERP. An agile ERP will support co-existence and concurrent working of multiple functions with a centrally accessible database. This will help companies reduce and expedite iterations, preempt and avoid operational glitches, and better manage their processes.

4.Customer-focused ERP: The business landscape is changing with digitization. Companies can now reach their customers directly and get honest reviews about their services/ products, thanks to various online platforms. Thus, in the year 2021, ERP will play an essential role in strengthening this connection and taking it in the right direction by generating alerts, reducing response time, and improving overall customer satisfaction for a company.

5.ERP aiding persona Marketing: Organizations worldwide are trying to make the most of their digital marketing spend by optimizing R&D about a customer/ prospect demographic. Cloud-based ERP systems can prove vital in that facet by serving as the data-gatherer and insight generator systems for a better, faster, and more accurate understanding of the customer’s preferences. Not many enterprises know the immense value that the current sales/ customer data provides to cross-sell/upsell/sell new products to existing customers or prospective customers within the same demographic. ERP systems can effectively streamline backend data and provide trends to aid digital marketing.

Figure 1: The Future of ERP: Comparing Features

The past year has seen numerous benefits of ERP in different business processes. A trusted ERP system such as the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations will be instrumental in helping companies manage operations efficiently. This ERP software is designed for today and the future, and it encompasses cutting-edge features that help fulfill your organization’s digital transformation quest.

New-age ERPs release updates to stay current in the market, and it is essential to upgrade by assessing the latest feature sets in the latest versions. Getting ERP consultants and experts on board can also help you in continuously improving your ERP system to adapt to the latest trends.

Key Takeaways

  • To stay ahead in the digital era, organizations need to keep up with the trends of cutting-edge software like the ERP.
  • The current and coming years will see further integration of various digital technologies into ERP to provide a comprehensive system that benefits both companies and customers.
  • The future and growth of ERP lies in digitization, agility, and enhanced process optimization features. Companies from various industries will need to upgrade their ERP systems to reap these features’ full benefits in the coming times.

Make the Move to Microsoft Dynamic 365

A Pilot program is risk-free and a good way to evaluate Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations. Team-up with us and protect your investment on a no-obligation engagement.

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About XcelPros

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

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

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

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

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

The Role of ERP in Improving Manufacturing Performance and ROI

How an ERP system can help improve Manufacturing performance?

How an ERP system can help improve Manufacturing performance? 1920 1080 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

  • Installation and modernization of ERP software comes at a high cost for manufacturing companies, and they are rightfully looking for ways to maximize their manufacturing performance from these software investments.
  • Manufacturers must embrace the comprehensive ERP model and let their production line and their vendors work in tandem with the software to streamline processes.
  • ERP systems are no longer a part of the business backend- newer tools and applications like Cloud, Internet of Things (IoT), and Machine Learning are changing ERP systems’ face, affecting the overall ROI of technology spend.

The implications and benefits of using a comprehensive tool like ERP are well measured in advance by large and small/ medium scale manufacturing organizations. However, there are still ways with which ERP systems can be used to better the overall operational efficiency in manufacturing, streamline existing processes, and improve the production line. These ways with which a solution like ERP can become the catalyst in generating ROI are usually the difference-makers for the manufacturing sector.

Mid-size businesses’ adoption of ERP software will grow at a CAGR of 7.9% from 2014 to 2020.– alliedmarketresearch.com

As the investments in ERP keep pouring in, manufacturers find themselves looking to adapt and manipulate their current practices to reap the maximum benefits from these investments above. Let us look at these practices that will improve ROI with ERP in the manufacturing industry. But first, let us learn how the ROI is calculated when it comes to manufacturing ERP.

Figure 1:Factors that Decide the ROI of Manufacturing ERP

 

Calculating the ROI for ERP Manufacturing- A Comprehensive Look at the Benefits of Installing the ERP System

Every organization has specific short and long term goals in mind while installing an ERP system. So, while the ROI might be a relative concept for every manufacturer, certain common areas can help you decide as to exactly how beneficial can your ERP system be for your company:

  • Does the ERP system help you in streamlining the processes and improving overall production line efficiency?
  • Does it minimize human intervention and the cost spent on intensive labor for data management and analytics?
  • Does it help you in managing your purchases, procurements, and inventory better?
  • Does it help you get real-time visibility across the production line for improved communication and faster response time?
  • What other tangible benefits mainly in terms of cost savings and profit gains can you see after installing the ERP system?

Once you get answers to these questions, you can calculate the ROI for your ERP.

The Road to Better Manufacturing ROI: Improving Manufacturing Performance with ERP

01.Efficient Machine-to-Machine and Machine-to-Human Interaction

In the times of Cloud dominated software practices, everything is virtually connected. Manufacturers have a chance of enhancing their ecosystem where real-time connectivity between the workforce and machines is established efficiently. This will add transparency to the entire production line from the top floor to the shop floor; it will also help the skill base use smart manufacturing techniques to save both time and effort. Application of ERP software to adopt smart manufacturing techniques will help manufacturers avoid production delays, track material and equipment with better efficiency, and move faster. All of this will result in more significant revenue generation.

Figure 2:ERP in the Manufacturing Industry

 

02.Better Management of Inventory

Large-scale manufacturers can afford to hire a larger workforce to manage their inventories. Small and mid-scale businesses often suffer a loss due to glitches in inventory management and its usage. Even larger companies are looking for a centralized network that can keep track of all the raw material, incomings, outgoings, and maintenance schedules for their inventories. This is where a modernized, sturdy ERP system succeeds where older, legacy platforms fail. It allows companies to get real-time data on their personnel and material in the inventory, allowing them to better plan their management well ahead in time. Any manufacturing company- large or small- will vouch that a well-managed inventory is a must to avoid stock-outs and other related production delays. So a robust ERP system will help in improving ROI by assisting manufacturers to improve their inventory management.

03.Forming a Competent Skill Base

No advanced software or tool could provide a manufacturer with better ROI if their workforce is not fully acquainted and expert in using the said software or tool. Well, the ERP system is no exception to this rule. Especially with the modernization of many of the ERP systems and its integration with cutting-edge applications like Internet of Things (IoT), Machine Learning, Advanced Analytics, and Artificial Intelligence, it has become highly imperative for manufacturing companies to train their skill base in expertly using the ERP system to its fullest capability. This will not only ensure lesser glitches but also prove to be beneficial in long term profit gains.

These positive changes in your manufacturing ecosystem will not only help you gain maximum benefit from your ERP system, but it will also solidify your work standards and technical competencies in the long run.

Key Takeaways:

  • Modernization of ERP systems need not necessarily mean a costly affair for manufacturers if they utilize smart manufacturing techniques to improve their ERP ROI.
  • Large and small and medium-scale manufacturers need to look at ERP software as an integral part of their production line and get their workforce well-acquainted with all the details for a better profit model.

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About XcelPros

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

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

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

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

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

 

Key Role of ERP Systems in Pharmaceutical Industry

Key Role of ERP Systems in the Pharmaceutical Industry

Key Role of ERP Systems in the Pharmaceutical Industry 1440 810 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

  • Disruptions brought by Industry 4.0 and digitization in the pharmaceutical sector is undeniable, and thus pharma companies need to arm themselves with state-of-the-art software solutions and tools to stay ahead in the game.
  • Tracking, tracing, and serialization needs the support of automated tools that can not only reduce manual efforts but can also mitigate the errors leading to stock-outs, delivery issues, and callbacks.
  • Pharma companies need to be compliant with managerial and quality regulations. An ERP with Pharmaceutical and Biotech centric solutions help companies meet all the regulatory requirements.

Technology has taken over our way of life and way of work. All major and minor sectors are undergoing massive changes to adapt to these changing times, and the same goes for the pharmaceutical industry. Pharma companies worldwide face various challenges, such as increasing process complexities, changing consumer dynamics, healthcare reforms, an abundance of data without an infrastructure to leverage it, and more. These changing tides caused pharma companies to look at ERP as a panacea to solidify their IT framework and use the latest technologies (Cloud, Big Data, Automation, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Data Analytics, etc.).

However, merely adapting an ERP system will not give pharma companies value for their money.

In fact, according to a report by Gartner, by 2021, ERP cloud enterprise application implementation labor rates will increase by 60 percent due to high demand and a lack of skilled resources.

This indicates that, like other sectors, the pharma industry would need to invest in skill upgrading of their employees and get expert ERP consultants on board for a smooth implementation.

Now, let us talk about the need for an ERP software system in the pharmaceutical industry in today’s time (especially as it needs an ERP that is tailor-made for the industry’s regulations and norms). Here is a deep-dive into some of the key reasons for pharma companies to go the ERP way:

1.Manufacturing formulation and preformulation management:The drug manufacturing process comprises strict formulation and monitoring of raw material ingredients and finished product yields to produce a batch. The pre-formulation stage includes defining drug production procedures, stages, quantities, so forth. With a robust ERP system, such as the Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP, pharma companies can ensure automated management of these formulations without constantly monitoring productions and without the worry of manual errors.

2.Effective product costing:The costing of drugs involves various factors such as raw material master management, procurement cost, supply chain tracking, vendor cost management, so forth. In a legacy system, these departments work in silos, and the changes made in data or any variable takes time to get communicated to other branches. There is centralized access to data with an ERP system, and an interconnected network is established between various functions to develop concurrency. Well captured data helps in efficiently defining product costs, and any changes made can reflect in the system, enabling finance to accommodate those changes appropriately.

Figure 1:Benefits of ERP for Pharmaceutical Companies

 

3.Meeting Regulatory Compliance:Regulatory compliance is a big one for all pharma companies. These regulations affect the brand name and consumer’s trust, but there is a factor of safety involved. Regulations and norms also differ regionally. It is essential to stay on top of safety and healthcare protocols to maintain global standards, and this is where a comprehensive system like Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP can serve as a game-changer. Its flexible interface, centralized networking features, and automation solutions allow pharma companies to keep up with the changing rules and regulations and helps drug manufacturers to track these measures and stay compliant.

Pharmaceutical companies are also mandated to maintain CFR 21 Part 11 wherein it is a statutory requirement to record (or document- either in print form or electronically) the steps and procedures that comprised the production of a medicinal product. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations is compliant with this FDA regulated electronic signature and electronic record.

4.Systematic and Efficient Inventory Management with Real-time Tracking:Effective inventory management for a smooth supply chain and avoiding stock-outs or bottle-necks is always a concern for pharmaceutical companies. This concern has now reached the global level as governments across the world are looking to not only manufacture or procure enough potential Covid vaccines but to manage inventories so that the doses reach their population smoothly. An ERP system can help with real-time track and trace and serialization to manage the inventory and avoid plausible glitches. An ERP system can also effectively help in accelerating product recall with its high-end traceability solutions.

5.Managing Variability and Predicting Scalability:Manufacturing of drugs involves managing supply chain variability, understanding its sources, and gaining a hand over release failures. Another aspect is predicting the scalability of product demand to alter manufacturing capabilities/capacities effectively. Both these involve strong communication between different functions and the use of data to preempt change. With a robust ERP for the pharmaceutical industry, companies can achieve these goals through predictive analysis, data crunching, and supply chain visibility.

In summation, it is crystal clear that pharmaceutical companies can benefit a great deal from an effective ERP implementation. This will not only accelerate production but also help in streamlining operations and managing costs.

Key Takeaways:

  • A cost-effective and flexible ERP system such as the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations is proven to enable pharmaceutical companies to take the right steps in the realms of digitization, automation, and artificial intelligence.
  • ERP system is the need of the hour, and getting expert consultants onboard can help pharma companies in meeting their customized financial, operational, and regulatory requirements completed without complications.
  • The industrial dynamics are changing at lightning speed, and the pharmaceutical industry needs to keep up with these changes to stand the test of times.

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About XcelPros

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

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

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

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

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