Modern ERP

How to Choose the Right ERP Platform

How to Choose the Right ERP System for your Business Growth

How to Choose the Right ERP System for your Business Growth 2400 900 Xcelpros Team

Introduction

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

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

Choosing the Right ERP System

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

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

Figue: 1 ERP selection process

ERP selection process

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Top ERP Systems in the US

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

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

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

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Evaluating ERP Software

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

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

Companies in the pharmaceutical and chemical industries should add:

  • U.S. Regulatory Compliance
  • International Regulatory Compliance

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

Where to Start

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

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

Our Recommendation: Microsoft Dynamics 365

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

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

Final Thoughts

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

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

About XcelPros

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

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

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

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

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

Time to Explore Pharmerging markets

It’s Time to Explore Pharmerging Markets

It’s Time to Explore Pharmerging Markets 2400 900 Xcelpros Team

Introduction

A relatively new term making waves in business is “pharmerging markets.” What does the term mean and why should pharmaceutical manufacturers care? The short version is these markets are expected to grow at a faster rate than the rest of the world.

Add in potentially catastrophic supply chain issues and it’s now a great time to invest in markets closer to where active pharmaceutical ingredients are produced. This includes China, India and those in Southeast Asia.

One definition is, “a group of countries having a low position on the pharmaceutical market, but having a fast pace of growth. Those are China and India and to a lesser extent, Brazil, South Africa and other countries,” IGI Global states.

Imarc adds Russia, Mexico, Indonesia, Turkey and others, placing them into three tiers. China is the lone Tier 1 entry.

Tier II contains:

  • India
  • Brazil
  • Russia
  • South Africa

Tier III pharmerging countries include:

  • Argentina
  • Mexico
  • Poland
  • Ukraine
  • Turkey
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Egypt
  • Algeria
  • Nigeria
  • Thailand
  • Indonesia
  • Pakistan

All of these countries share two important characteristics:

  • They have a per capita gross domestic product (GDP) threshold of $25,000.
  • They saw a spending increase of at least $1 billion from 2012 – 2016, though only part of that was in medicines.

Growth Rates

Figure: 1 Expected Growth Rate of Pharmerging Markets by 2025

Integrating the Purchase Order Process

Key Changes in the Outlook

  1. 1.2020: -1.8% (-$23Billion)
  2. 2.2021: +0.6% above pre-COVID-19 growth; +2.3% above 2020 growth
  3. 3.Current outlook including vaccines +4% over outlook that excludes vaccines due to ~$50-55billion vaccine spending in both 2021 and 2022, later reduced as volume shifts to biennial boosters and price drops over time
  4. 4.Expected budget pressures will emerge from longer-term pressures of sustained pandemic
  5. 5.Vaccine spending declines as biennial boosters and costs decline in endemic phase, followed by overall growth returning to expected levels

The 6-year cumulative delta on 2020-2025 spending excluding Covid-19 vaccines is -$4 billion globally.

Sources: IQVIA Market Prognosis, Sep 2020; IQVIA Institute, Mar 2021

Pharmerging markets are expected to have a combined annual growth rate (CAGR) from 6% -9% through 2025, reaching $1.4 billion by 2024. By comparison:

  • Developed nations will grow at no more than 3%
  • The rest of the world will grow 2% to 5%
  • The overall global growth rate is anticipated to be 3% – 6%
  • The U.S. market will grow no more than 3%, possibly less

Pushing the need for prescription drugs and targeted medical therapies in these countries are aging populations, more public hospitals and a heavier burden caused by chronic disease, Pharmaceutical Processing World states. The result is increased pharmaceutical spending since 2016.

A key note, industry research firm IQVIA states, is this growth excludes spending on Covid-19 vaccines. The cumulative spending on Covid-related vaccines, treatments and related products should hit $154 billion.

Get a free consultation to learn more about the essential factors to consider when exploring pharmerging markets.

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Fueling Pharmerging Growth

Access to healthcare has historically been a driving force in the use of medicines within the Tier II and Tier III countries. However, IQVIA sees a slowing trend with volume decline across many markets.

However, China’s use of non-Covid pharmaceuticals is expected to accelerate, especially once the pandemic dies down. Changes in the use of medicines, with demands for new vaccines plus shifts in demand for existing therapies and patient behaviors, will also have an impact on the global pharmaceutical market.

These same countries with lower incomes also have dramatically lower access to medicines. The result is an increased demand, especially in those countries where access to quality healthcare is improving.

Highlights of IQVIA’s report include:

  • The largest aggregate contributors to growth in the next five years are immunology, oncology and neurology.
  • Oncology and immunology are forecast to grow at 9-12% CAGR through 2025.
  • Oncology is expected to add 100 new therapies for migraines and possibly Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s along with other, rare neurological diseases.

Selling in pharmerging markets may sound like a “no brainer” to some corporations but it comes with a critical catch right now: Covid-related issues have the world’s supply chains on the brink of collapse.

Supply Chain Failure?

In areas that pre-Covid rarely saw more than one or two ships waiting to dock, the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach had 72 ships at sea on Oct. 4, 2021, an Oct. 6, 2021 story on CNN.com states.

Before Covid, most ships went straight to a berth. Now? There’s an average 10-day wait to get in, unload and reload.

“It’s like taking 10 lanes of freeway traffic and moving them into five when the cargo gets here to the port,” Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, told CNN International on Oct. 5. “We’re having difficulty absorbing all of that cargo into the American supply chain,” CNN states.

Adding to port woes are a lack of truck drivers to move containers along the supply chain into warehouses. Delays in unloading also cause problems with getting empty containers where they are needed. Manufacturer’s can’t send large volumes of goods overseas when they don’t have containers to ship them. It’s either not enough empties or having empties in one port when they are desperately needed in another.

The effects of these supply chain issues are quickly reverberating back to consumers.

“Say hello to your pandemic price increase,” the headline of an Aug. 12, 201 column in SupplyChainDive states.

Gaps in the supply chain cause buyers to look at smaller suppliers to meet raw and unfinished materials demands. The result is procurement professionals are finding new suppliers, sometimes at a better price than their old standbys, the article states.

Now comes the question many pharmaceutical companies need to ask: Can they keep production on schedule even with a uncertain supply chain?

Technology is Part of the Solution

Enterprise Resource Planning products like Microsoft Dynamics 365 and its Supply Chain Management module can help. It makes tracking essential precursor materials pharmaceutical companies much easier. It can track APIs from the time they leave a factory in India to the moment they land in a production warehouse. From there, accurate labeling using barcodes and QR codes lets these companies know where every item, batch, lot and pallet goes.

Other software equipped with artificial intelligence can quickly produce usable supply chain information. When did we order this? Was it delivered in time to meet our needs? Is there someone else closer, either to our production facilities or our customers, that can ensure we meet our contractual obligations?

ERP software can also help forecast not only supply but demand and where that demand might be the greatest. If demand is in a pharmerging market close to where a company gets its raw materials, there might be a justification to build a new facility. Not having to cross oceans will reduce shipping costs and extensive delays.

Final Thoughts

Businesses don’t run in a vacuum. Supply chains that affect cars and consumer goods also impact pharmaceutical companies. Keeping very close track of where raw materials are produced, how long it takes for them to arrive are just as important as the time spent producing finished goods and then shipping them to the customers.

Implementing a solution like Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management goes a long way to removing the guesswork.

About XcelPros

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

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

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

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

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

How Sustainable Operations Helps Manufacturers Grow

How Sustainable Operations Helps Manufacturers Grow

How Sustainable Operations Helps Manufacturers Grow 1202 451 Xcelpros Team

Introduction

Every business leader has heard the term “sustainable manufacturing,” but not all know that practicing methods that help the environment can also grow their business.

“Sustainable manufacturing is the creation of manufactured products through economically-sound processes that minimize negative environmental impacts while conserving energy and natural resources,” the United States Environmental Protection Agency states. These same practices enhance employee, community and product safety in part by producing less waste that pollutes the air, water and soil.

According to the EPA, companies that use a methodical, planned approach to sustainable manufacturing processes:

  • Increase operational efficiency by reducing costs and waste
  • Respond to or reach new customers and increase competitive advantage
  • Protect and strengthen brand and reputation and build public trust
  • Build long-term business viability and success
  • Respond to regulatory constraints and opportunities

Fostering Growth

These environmentally friendly sustainable manufacturing practices help companies grow by reducing production costs long term. For example, instead of paying thousands of dollars each month to an electric company to light and cool a 300,000 square-foot manufacturing plant, consider covering a flat roof with efficient solar panels.

The average payback time for a home solar electric installation (industrial estimates were not available) is roughly 6-10 years, though it varies depending on the climate and other factors. Solar panels also tend to last 25-40 years meaning roughly three-quarters of their useful lives is spent generating free electricity. The most recent designs are much more efficient, producing more power in a smaller size, than those made 10 years ago. The result is greater efficiency, allowing manufacturing facilities to cover less of their roofs while producing as much or more power than the older models.

Production plants can also reduce their massive electrical bills with skylights. The waterproof domed coverings help illuminate work areas, reducing the need of electric lighting. Extended exterior shelves can reduce sunlight, cutting cooling costs.

Figure: 1 Sustainable Manufacturing – a Big Picture

Sustainable Manufacturing - a Big Picture

Turning Trash Into Treasure

Other sustainable methods look at ways to reduce waste, especially by converting some “trash” into new products or using it for new methods.

One website alone lists 35 artful ways homeowners can recycle wooden pallets. These new uses include making tables, bed frames, stairs, mounting frames for heavy electronic display monitors and a host of other uses. Many of these same methods work for industrial companies in terms of outfitting conference rooms and other non-work areas.

From an industrial perspective, worn pallets can be repaired, cleaned and reused. They can also be sold, recouping some of the cost. Other uses for worn pallets include chipping them, turning them into wood pellets. The pellets can then be burned, generating heat and electricity.

Get a free consultation to discover more about building sustainable operations for your manufacturing company.

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Cascading Chemicals

Recycling is a large part of the sustainable “green” economy. Industrial chemicals can be recycled. They can also be reused through a process known as “industrial symbiosis,” greenbiz.com states. One example cited uses ferric chloride, which is a byproduct of steel pickling in hydrochloric acid, to treat water.

“Frequently, recycled chemicals are not only cheaper than newly produced ones, but they also reduce resource consumption, waste generation and greenhouse gas emissions. The carbon emissions through solvent recycling are 46 percent – 92 percent lower than those of new solvent production,” the website states.

When the article was written in 2019, industrial giants Siemens and Evonik were conducting research to convert the most common greenhouse gas—carbon dioxide (CO2)—into common industrial chemicals such as ethylene.

Other methods used to reduce chemical and industrial waste cited by greenbiz include swapping what might be one manufacturer’s trash with a different nearby business. That business can use these materials in its products.

Another environmentally friendly industrial method is “leasing” chemicals. In this model, a manufacturer sells the functions performed by the chemical using functional units, not the chemicals themselves.

Large manufacturers with their own wastewater treatment plants can redesign those facilities in ways that help the company turn a profit and grow. Companies interested in practicing sustainable manufacturing practices can modify existing equipment to produce energy, clean water and chemicals because, “the future of sewage is power and profits.”

The greenbiz.com article ends with a quote made in 1848 by the former president of the London Royal College of Chemistry, R.W. Hoffmann: “In an ideal chemical factory there is, strictly speaking, no waste but only products. The better a real factory makes use of its waste, the closer it gets to its ideal, the bigger is the profit.”

Technology Can Spot Opportunities

One way a company can practice sustainable operations management is by using its data wisely. Especially in forward-thinking firms that use internet of things (IoT)-enabled devices, they have access to mountains of information.

Combining a well-thought plan with the right software lets these firms look at everything coming into their warehouse—including packaging—as potential profit sources. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) products such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 and its Supply Chain Management Module let companies of any size keep accurate track of their inventories. Add in the Integrated Chemical Management component and chemical manufacturers have an accurate label management solution that also produces safety data sheets.

By understanding the chemicals involved and working with sustainability experts, plant managers can evaluate their current conditions.

Executives interested in sustainable production and consumption—and being more competitive—will want to ask questions similar to these: What current waste products and materials can we use for secondary purposes or repackage and sell to someone in a different industry? Can we reuse packing materials we receive to pad and protect outgoing shipments? Are we using our raw materials effectively or are there ways we can become more efficient? How much power do our plants use? Are there affordable ways of reducing that consumption while also generating some of our own power all while meeting our long-term business goals?

Asking questions like these, and then using powerful software to find the answers, help innovative firms generate more money. That in turn can use sustainable practices to fuel growth.

The Bottom Line

Sustainable manufacturing involves looking at everything a company has, from a different angle. More office employees are working from home, freeing up space. Can we use that space for a different purpose instead of looking at empty desks? Can we move items around and expand our production facilities or our warehouse without having to build or buy new facilities?

Operations managers wanting to fuel growth by reducing power consumption can use ERP software to find ways to save money and new ways to make money. All it takes is a little outside the box long-range thinking.

About XcelPros

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

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

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

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

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

Helping Your Company Fit into the Bioeconomy

Helping Your Company Fit into the Bioeconomy

Helping Your Company Fit into the Bioeconomy 1200 450 Xcelpros Team

Introduction

The term “bioeconomy” has begun gaining steam but many executives don’t know what it means or how it might affect their business.

Brain-biotech.com defines bioeconomy as producing renewable biological resources and then converting them plus waste streams into valued-added products. These include food, animal feed, bio-based products and energy, including fuels.

A related but different concept is the circular economy, “where the value of products, materials and resources is maintained in the economy for as long as possible, and the generation of waste minimized,” the article states.

Both concepts share the goals of increasing resource efficiency and lowering demand for new petroleum resources while creating more jobs. Tying into both of these is “cascading,” which promotes recycling and remanufacturing. An example of cascading is using fresh wood to build furniture. When the main product’s life ends, part or all of the wood is used for something else such as a different piece of furniture or a planter.

“The circular economy includes all kinds of material streams with different utilization routes. Organic recycling, which equals biodegradation, and even the capture and utilization of carbon dioxide from industrial processes or the atmosphere are included,” the report states.

One way the bioeconomy affects industry is by producing renewable carbon compared to fossil carbon such as oil and other fossil fuels. The bioeconomy and circular economy have a common goal: creating a more sustainable world with a low carbon footprint. Both avoid using fossil carbon. Using sustainable resources helps achieve climate targets, brain-biotech states.

Among the stated goals of the bioeconomy and the circular economy are:

  • Reducing the use of fossil fuels
  • Wiser management of natural resources
  • Continually reusing minerals, metals, and biomass from agriculture, forests and the seas
  • Creating biodegradable and compostable products
  • Generating ways to capture and reuse carbon dioxide in the Carbon Capture and Utilization (CCU) process
  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions such as carbon dioxide (CO2)
  • Reducing waste, especially anything going into landfills
  • Promoting research across disciplines and borders
  • Creating more jobs in rural and urban environments

Impacts of the Bioeconomy on the Financial Economy

Features unique to the bioeconomy include creating new products and better utilization of agriculture and forestry, Brain-biotech states. Among its examples are using genome editing to create products with lower toxicity and new functions plus more nature-compatible (i.e., biodegradable) and healthier consumer goods.

So where can we see the bioeconomy? “The U.S. bioeconomy is all around us: new drugs and diagnostics for improved human health, higher-yielding food crops, emerging biofuels to reduce dependence on oil and biobased chemical intermediaries,” the 2012 White House’s National Bioeconomy Blueprint is quoted as saying in youmatter.world.

Youmatter.world connects the bioeconomy and circular economy by referring to the circular economy as “the what” as in what are desired outcomes. The bioeconomy is “the how” as in how biophysical processes can be enhanced to achieve the expected result.

Transforming the U.S. economy from one based on hydrocarbons (i.e., fossil fuels) to a bioeconomy, will have the most dramatic effects. These effects will be felt most strongly in the energy, agricultural, chemical, industrial and consumer products and transportation industries, attorney Neil Belson wrote in 2016.

Among Belson’s conclusions are, “an economy that runs primarily on renewable, domestically produced bio based raw materials is inherently less vulnerable to disruption than one which relies on or is heavily influenced by the availability of foreign fossil fuel energy supplies.”

Among the biofuel resources are corn stalks and wheat straw, animal manure, household and industrial organic wastes containing carbon and dedicated fast-growing energy crops.

Belson also suggests a major target of opportunity is the $164 billion U.S. organic chemical industry.

By the Numbers

After several years of declining revenue caused by low fossil fuel prices, the Organic Chemical Industry is expected to resume growing in 2021, reports from IBISWorld state. Among the highlights are:

  • 13.2%: The 2021 increase in market size estimated by the Organic Chemical Manufacturing Industry (OCMI).
  • $106 billion: The 2021 market size measured by revenue of the OCMI
  • 1,107: Number of organic chemical businesses in the US
  • 75,441: Number of people employed in the organic chemical businesses in the US

Current top products and related manufacturing activities are producing:

  • Ethyl alcohol
  • Cyclic crudes, coal tar, wood chemical and intermediate products
  • Basic organic chemical products
  • Fatty acids
  • Synthetic organic alcohols
  • Synthetic flavor and perfume materials
  • Bulk pesticides

This list does not include forestry-related materials such as major wood products.

According to the Government

The US Department of Agriculture released the 128-page “An Economic Impact Analysis of the U.S. Biobased Products Industry” in 2015.

Using 2013 numbers, the US Biobased Products Industry:

  • Contributed 4 million jobs
  • Added $369 billion to the U.S. economy
  • Created 1.64 more jobs for every 1 biobased products job
  • 20,000 products in the BioPreferred program database not including traditional textile fabrics or forest products. The true number is closer to 40,000, the report states.
  • 300 million gallons of petroleum replaced by biochemicals and natural-based products replacing petroleum products such as Styrofoam.

Get a free consultation to learn how to get your company ready for the bioeconomy.

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Areas of Opportunity

Figure: 1Number of Installed Ethanol Biorefineries in the US

Number of Installed Ethanol biorefineries in the US

Statista states that in 2019, the US had more than 200 ethanol biorefineries. In 2015, the USDA listed 213 such refineries. Audi, BMW, Porsche and Volkswagen make diesel vehicles that can use biodiesel blends, edmunds.com states. As of 2014, most biofuel came from soybean oil. The US Department of Energy states that the B20 biodiesel blend contains 2% – 6% biodiesel mixed with petroleum fuel.

Adding biodiesel improves fuel lubricity making vehicles easier to start and reduces ignition delay. It also reduces premature wear on moving parts even in concentrations as low as 1%, the Alternative Fuels Data Center states.

Chemical and pharmaceutical companies, take note: Modor Intelligence estimates the market for biochemical reagents will grow at a CAGR rate of 9.1% between 2020 – 2025. This market is defined by products such as cell and tissue reagents, electrophoresis and others plus geography. Asia Pacific is the fastest growing market while North America is the largest.

Chromatography reagents have the greatest demand with their use in many pharmaceutical processes such as separating chemicals and biomolecules, diagnostics and protein purification.

Market Research Future’s report on the Global Bio-Based Chemicals Market states the top products between 2019 – 2025 will be bioplastics, bio-lubricants, bio-solvents, bio-based acids, bio-surfactants, bio-alcohols and others.

Let Technology Help

What chemical wastes currently costing the company money to be shipped to a landfill can be reused to boost profits? Companies using technology like Microsoft PowerBi and Microsoft Dynamics 365 to organize their data can organize waste into its core components. Some of it might be easily converted into biofuels. Others might be broken apart with components becoming biodegradable solvents.

Another way tech can help is by looking at existing customers in growing markets and suppliers in areas where key crops are grown. Are they ways to piggyback shipments and reduce transportation costs while also cutting air pollution? Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management can combine and crunch data. While helping a business run much more efficiently, it can also offer insights into new ways to use existing products.

The Bottom Line

The bioeconomy is here to stay, as is global warming. Companies entering bioeconomy markets should look at new ways to use plant-based materials to replace petroleum products,like the chemical and pharmaceutical industries using plant-based solvents to develop new medicines because they are less toxic and better for everyone in the long run.

Alternate fuels, fibers, chemicals made from plants and other biological sources are just a few of the many potential products whose demand will continue to rise.

Using cutting-edge enterprise resource planning software can help a company more accurately evaluate its own products and resources. Who knows, there just might be the materials to build some bioeconomy products already sitting on a warehouse shelf. With the right tech, you will know what you have.

About XcelPros

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

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

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

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

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

How Microsoft's ERP System works with the Retail Industry

How Microsoft’s ERP System works with the Retail Industry

How Microsoft’s ERP System works with the Retail Industry 2402 902 Xcelpros Team

The Changing Retail Industry

With the rapid pace of changes in the retail industry, especially some of the more dramatic changes that have emerged over the past few years, it’s become increasingly important to have full control over your business. Now more than ever this means investing in software that supports the changes seen across the retail industry in recent times, and into the future.

Today’s retail consumers are much more informed, and looking for a safer, more streamlined experience regardless of purchases made online or in-person at brick and mortar locations, which are still very much in demand. The omnichannel shopping experience is quickly becoming a key point to longevity in the retail industry. This means offering a safe and consistent shopping experience, integrating your CRM, ERP and eCommerce systems for a more unified view of your customers, and being able to quickly scale and adapt to support new applications and services as they develop.

96%

of emerging businesses that excel in their respective industry rely on some form of ERP solution.

Source: Aberdeen Group

15%

of executives believe AI could fundamentally change which companies win and lose.

Source: UST SmartOps, 2020

36%

Small businesses with ERP systems can make decisions with 36% less time than they did without the solution.

Source: Aberdeen Group

This has become a great opportunity for retailers to modernize and streamline their operations which can lead to greater long-term profitability as the industry continues to evolve. For this, businesses need a complete solution like Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 Commerce, the evolution of their Dynamics 365 Retail product line, able to offer a complete and unified solution across different channels with maximum scalability.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Commerce

One of the first words when it comes to enterprise planning, Microsoft has been developing their Dynamics 365 products for many years, and the latest version of Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 Commerce offers unparalleled access to a lot of cutting-edge technology for businesses in the retail industry.

Microsoft’s newest retail ERP solution helps streamline many different areas like merchandising, inventory and order management, warehousing, financials and more. In fact, the exact same technology powering Dynamics 365 Commerce has been driving Microsoft’s storefronts around the world for years to deliver a secure, scalable, compliant solution that offers a world-class shopping experience.

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These are just a few more ways Microsoft Dynamics 365 Commerce supports businesses in the retail industry.

Figure: 1Microsoft Dynamics 365 Retail ERP Solutions

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Retail ERP Solutions

Omni-channel shopping experience

With today’s consumers focused on quality, the right software helps ensure the experience is the same across different devices online and in-store with the ability to offer more increasingly popular options like Buy Online Pickup In-Store (BOPIS), curbside pickup and next or same-day shipping. These trends are becoming staples for many looking to avoid long lines and queues.

Powerful customer insights

Even now, customer data has become extremely valuable for driving AI and ML solutions to create personalized experiences designed to boost sales and increase customer retention. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Commerce is built with AI and ML in mind to further enhance customer engagement along with the ability to integrate to other Microsoft products like Dynamics 365 Customer Insights and Dynamics 365 Fraud Protection.

Warehouse and inventory management

Growing to be equally important is the ability to more accurately predict and manage product stock levels along with up-to-date pricing. Today’s customers don’t want to chase phantom stock counts from store to store when they can easily give their business to another retailer, right from the comfort of their home.

Powerful Integrations

Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 products have always been highly adaptable and configurable, able to integrate with numerous existing applications and services offering a unified experience across different platforms. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Commerce is no different, able to directly connect to a multitude of modern and legacy systems for reporting, compliance, and more to help protect your investment in previous systems.

What’s Next

As emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and Augmented Reality (AR) continue to advance, the retail industry will continue to be fraught with the challenge of trying to keep up – including providing modern, personalized shopping experiences to today’s savvy consumers to help retain loyalty across different channels. More and more businesses in the industry are looking for technology partners that understand their challenges and can offer support for modern solutions.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Commerce is a scalable solution that can be made to work for anything from SMBs to larger multi-brand or multi-company organizations helping Increase your revenue and brand loyalty with better engagement. Better focus your operations to reduce costs and boost efficiency over your entire supply chain.

About XcelPros

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

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

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

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

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

The Power of Integrated Material Requirements Planning (MRP)

The Power of Integrated Material Requirements Planning (MRP)

The Power of Integrated Material Requirements Planning (MRP) 2400 900 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

Growing companies need to keep tight rein over inventories. Having too much in terms of raw materials means capital outlays will suffer. Having too little prevents them from meeting unexpected demands. Materials requirements planning (MRP) lets these firms plan their production, ensuring needed supplies are available without hampering other business functions. The benefits of using MRP software, such as that found in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, include:

  • Using MRP and supply chain planning as essential drivers for growth
  • Managing customer expectations and reality behind the scenes
  • Addressing real-life pain points
  • Planning production campaigns
  • Overcoming workforce resistance to change while adapting to newer, more efficient planning methods

Supply Chain Planning Methods Benefit All Companies

Whether you’re a bakery or a pharmaceutical manufacturing company, planning your inventory is an essential part of daily operations. If a bakery does not order enough flour, yeast, or eggs, it can’t meet customer demands. Order too much and the company loses money from spoiled or wasted materials.

In chemical companies, waste is not like throwing away a loaf of bread. The repercussions to unplanned operations in highly regulated industries are much worse. Bad batches of hazardous or volatile chemicals, plus constantly yielding unplanned co-products or by-products require storage or disposal based on quality tests.

For example, consider a pharmaceutical company. The production of batches with lower than planned potency can result in an over-extended campaign, over-consumption of raw materials and lower production yields. If a batch is planned for a certain potency, the production process is not complete until quality confirms it meets test specification. After reworking the batch a few times, it may be reclassified to a lower potency when it does not yield the desired results.

While the concept of MRP was originally only intended for manufacturing companies, it now extends itself into all industries, including those whose products are services.

Material planning becomes even more critical in small-to-medium manufacturing companies: the smaller a company is, the more precise allocating materials and resources must be. Planners and buyers need clear and precise signals that allow them to make informed decisions on when to buy and when to produce. The availability of materials and capacity of resources is everything in optimizing and streamlining a plant’s supply chain.

Understanding MRP needs is part of optimizing a company’s overall supply chain. That is why the once independent product is now integrated into Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software.

Combined with other parts of supply chain management, MRP lets companies serve their customers better while lowering inventory costs.

A Real-Life Example

Your “A” customer requests a quote for a specific product they need quickly. You know that your customer has already reached out to secondary vendors for quotes.

Pleasing this customer, especially with stiff competition, requires a thorough inventory evaluation. You need to know if you can meet their deadline.

Without a proper MRP system, you must build complex spreadsheets with sales orders, supply and demand forecasts plus production schedules. After that, you have to superimpose inventory availability and resource capacities into the same spreadsheet. If this process sounds complicated, it is.

Using this method may take 2-3 days to determine if you can meet their deadline. The work and precision required puts tremendous pressure on planners, alienates customers and impairs organizational growth. Competitors using an MRP system integrated into their ERP platform can provide a realistic promise date and close the sale while those using the manual method are still making calculations.

Meeting customer demands by a request date requires at least three inputs:

  1. 1.Planned supply
  2. 2.On-hand availability after all allocations and reservations are considered
  3. 3.Resource capacity

If you are unable to quickly provide an available-to-promise (ATP) date, then your customer will work with suppliers who can commit and deliver on time.

Meeting customer demands

What Happens on the Ground?

Preparing a production schedule is challenging without knowing inventory levels plus labor and machine resources availability. Even with a forecast in place, it is hard to schedule production while facing capacity issues in terms of machine time or labor. (Read “Standard Costing in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing – Industry Challenges and Solutions.” It has an example of batch manufacturing processes and the data inaccuracies that can occur while consuming inventory.) Add data inaccuracies to a lack of resource capacity and chaos ensues.

These problems illustrate the need for accurate production planning and scheduling. These plans are critical in any manufacturing or distribution company, especially those trying to streamline operations.

Not only do customers often expect 99 percent-plus service levels within 24 to 48 hours, but supply reliability is also becoming more tenuous as once local supply chains now extend around the world. Source – McKinsey and Company

Boosting production efficiency while having fast, accurate inventory plans are critical in today’s business environment. Companies face mounting pressure to perform, especially with growing competition when customer loyalty is related to a company’s perceived value.

Meeting Customer Demands

Can your planner meet a demanding customer’s requirements to provide important information such as:

  • Overall Customer demand
  • Worker availability
  • Machine capacity
  • Raw material availability
  • Stocked supplies
  • Quality requirements
  • Batch potency requirements

Dumping data into Microsoft Excel sheets from different sources, creating a supply chain plan and then generating a manual production schedule is a basic requirement. Companies who work reactively without these plans and schedules waste materials and have chaotic operations.

Even with basic planning, a company operating reactively will lose inventory and suffocate resource availability. The result is a waste of time and money.

Consider all the stress and cost a manual or reactive approach generates. Wouldn’t using a system that can use an algorithm to generate needed results in minutes be more efficient and ultimately cost less? That is what Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management can do.

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Cost of inaccurate inventory

Lack of capacity means waiting for one machine operation to finish before the next job starts. Knowing how long each process takes is crucial in providing a reliable promise date.

efficient planning and scheduling tool.

Companies who don’t meet or beat customer deadlines can easily lose any edge over their peers. Firms lacking proper supply chain planning—and those whose staff resist change—stunt their own growth. The resisters prevent the company from obtaining an effective, efficient planning and scheduling tool.

98.6%

Top-quartile FMCG companies still perform at 98.6 percent service level

Source: McKinsey and Company

Real-life Example #2

Your planner is proactively planning out the work orders, creating a schedule for the upcoming week. Lacking the ability to compare material availability and resource availability forces the planner to create a calendar schedule and then manually track the production plan.

This plan involves producing a batch and then packing it out to meet the customer’s deadline. Using the company’s older system, the planner assumes there is enough inventory on-hand. However, the inventory counts are wrong and the containers are actually empty. Once the planner spots the inventory error, they must find alternatives or push out the scheduled production start.

The lack of accurate inventory data causes a ripple effect. With production delayed, the sales team has to go back to the customer with a new delivery date.

Other problems occur, delaying the project even more: Skilled workers required for this project are required to re-do a high priority lot that failed quality testing, pushing out their scheduled jobs. Lack of scheduled maintenance causes an important machine to break down, adding more delays and altering production schedules.

Those are some worst-case scenarios. Not every pharmaceutical production plant manager has to suffer like this, though.

Those with a well-integrated mobile supply chain and planning system can skip those pain points. An integrated ERP system with MRP functions automatically feeds data into each area. It keeps an accurate frequent cycle count on fast moving products. It generates a capacity schedule that can predict labor and machine capacities with a secondary backup in place.

Having that information readily available, plus planning an alternative route of operations, can remove or reduce the real-life problems mentioned earlier.

Benefits of an Integrated MRP and Forecasting System

An integrated materials requirement planning and forecasting system ploughs through the system. It uses coverage settings such as lead times and time fences for upcoming projects, and creates production signals based on material availability plus resource capacity and capability.

The system’s algorithm looks at all products that require planning while sharing the same raw materials and resources. It shows the planner schedules for all material requirements to meet supply and demand based on the calendar with working time.

The planner sees the same visual schedule similar to what they could create manually on a spreadsheet but with the ability to make informed decisions. The planner can decide how and where reprioritization needs to happen and then which lot production runs to schedule first.

A good MRP algorithm empowers the user to proactively plan. They can keep watch on raw material and resource allocations. Adding stringent production floor operating procedures with stop gaps will reduce or eliminate uncontrolled activities that can alter inventory projections.

Role of People

Having a well-trained, experienced workforce is invaluable. It is your biggest strength. But because some people are comfortable performing tasks a specific way, they may not be willing to adapt to changes designed to streamline your supply chain. How do you convert workers who are unwilling to change?

Some proven ways are:

  • Educating your workforce on how adapting to newer methods and tools to increase supply chain optimization benefits them
  • Explaining and showing them how the modern tools are actually simpler to use and follow standard execution methods
  • Creating a change management process
  • Involving them in the overall transformation from no planning or manual planning to a systematized planning and scheduling tool
  • Teaming your workforce with newer team members who act as change agents during the software implementation process

40%

More than 40% of financial services executives feel cultural or behavioral change is the biggest challenge they face in pursuing their technology transformation.

Source: Inference from McKinsey

Key Takeaways to Proactively Plan your Supply Chain

There are several steps any company can take to proactively plan its supply chain. They include:

  • Looking at current cycle count procedures and then re-categorizing the top items for better visibility
  • Using better clock-in/ clock-out and time management procedures to better allocate operators for the right jobs
  • Providing proper handoffs for machines and operators from one step in the production process to the next
  • Proactively scheduling jobs and finding more efficient operating methods

Finally, ask yourself this question: Is your company meeting your competition right now or are you lagging behind them? Could you gain more sales and improve customer service by delivering quotes faster and meeting—ideally, beating—deadlines?

If you aren’t beating your competition and meeting deadlines, take a close look at Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management.

About XcelPros

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

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

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

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

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

Advantages of Using an ERP System to Ensure Regulatory Approval

Advantages of Using an ERP System to Ensure Regulatory Approval

Advantages of Using an ERP System to Ensure Regulatory Approval 1200 450 Xcelpros Team

Introduction

Employing the right enterprise resource planning (ERP) system can help pharmaceutical companies gain regulatory approval of drugs and other new products faster and with fewer requests for missing information.

“One of the benefits of enterprise management systems is that much of the data these regulations require can be collected through automated means. Thus, enterprise systems can be used to ensure compliance with increasingly onerous federal regulations without taking personnel away from their essential customer service functions,” the University of Scranton states.

Other advantages of an ERP system include:

  • Real-time data access
  • Standardizing business processes
  • Secure data
  • Usable and shareable data

The FDA Approval Process

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) is the agency responsible for ensuring new drugs follow the regulatory approval process. CDER does not test drugs but its Office of Testing and Research performs limited drug quality, safety and effectiveness research.

CDER physicians, chemists, pharmacologists, statisticians and others review every piece of new drug application (NDA) data. This includes labeling, which follows specific FDA formatting and requirements.

The FDA currently has 12 approval steps that follow preliminary drug development. ERPs are designed to ensure pharmaceutical companies keep accurate track of every step from the purchase of raw materials to the labeling of individual samples.

Figure: 1FDA’s Lengthy Drug Approval Process in Twelve Steps

Regulatory Compliances

Gaining FDA Approval

Pharmaceutical manufacturers can easily invest years and years, and vast amounts of money developing a new drug therapy.

The regulatory approval process itself can take 6 to 10 months depending on how many benefits the medication provides. Changes to the FDA Standard Review process in 2002 defined a 10-month goal to look at drugs offering minor improvements over existing marketed therapies.

The FDA also offers Priority Reviews with the goal of completing them in six months. These reviews are applied to drugs offering treatments where none currently exist. Priority Reviews are also given to medications that offer major advancements in treatment.

Using the most recent update to the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA)—the sixth version—the FDA uses collected fees to hire more reviewers and support staff.

These fees are not cheap. In fact, according to the FDA, the 2021 application fee with required clinical data is $2,875,842, a change of -2.3% over 2020 ($2,942,965). The FDA can also issue additional invoices for program fees not previously invoiced.

User Fee 2020 2021 Change
Application Fee: Clinical Data Required $2,942,965 $2,875,842 -2.3%
Application Fee: No Clinical Data Required $1,471,483 $1,437,921 -2.3%
Program Fee $325,424 $336,432 +3.07%
Source: FDA

Regulatory Audits

The FDA inspects and assesses regulated facilities during a regulatory audit. Some of the audit information is released to improve the public’s understanding of how the agency protects public health, its website states.

According to the FDA, “Disclosure of a firm’s inspection information encourages firm compliance and provides the public with an understanding of the Agency’s enforcement actions and an ability to make more informed marketplace decisions… Laboratory records and logs represent a vital source of information that allows a complete overview of the technical ability of the staff and of overall quality control procedures.”

The FDA has 10 detailed inspection guides related to drugs alone. For example, the guide for pharmaceutical quality control labs has 21 sections, which includes laboratory management.

The Role of ERP Systems in Regulatory Compliance

The Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP platform seamlessly gathers data from different teams and stores it on Microsoft Cloud Servers. Researchers can review records during the development phase. Easy access to earlier successes and failures ensures work is not duplicated, increasing efficiency. Microsoft 365 has the ability to let information technology (IT) administrators apply labels to different documents. These labels let companies classify and protect sensitive data—like formulas—allowing access only to qualified, approved users. Sensitivity labels also apply content markings that can encrypt data, preventing it from being viewed by competitors and outside sources. Pharmaceutical companies can control who is able to view this data and for how long.

Regulators are allowed to see only the data they need, not private, confidential materials.

During the Investigational New Drug (IND) phase, the sponsor submits an application containing the drug’s composition and manufacturing and an outline of the human trials. Among the documents being reviewed in this stage are those related to informed consent and human subject protection.

The ERP Regulatory Advantage

ERP software has several advantages over using spreadsheets and external databases when dealing with regulatory compliance.

A key element is tracking the supply chain from ordering raw materials to delivering finished products to customers. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management is an example of an ERP product that uses a single, secure, cloud-based database to eliminate duplicate spreadsheet entries and transposed numbers. Additional key compliance benefits of using the right ERP include:

  • Visibility and transparency: ERPs have lot and serial number traceability, tracking material flow. This is a common compliance requirement.
  • Audit trails: This is included in D365, allowing administrators to know who accessed the system and when, what actions—including file deletions—were taken and where updates originated. Auditing can be enabled or disabled for an entity or specific fields within an entity.
  • Data access and security controls: these are built into Dynamics 365 products as mentioned earlier.
  • Encryption: Transactional data is securely stored and automatically encrypted when accessed by authorized individuals.
  • Electronic signatures: Secures transactions by confirming the operator is authorized while also creating a transaction summary and log.
  • Record Retention: D365 allows this to be set through the Privacy settings and elsewhere. For example, D365 Financeautomatically saves attached documents for 180 days. That number can be adjusted through the document management parameters > General > History > Enable document history settings
  • Inspection Controls: D365 allows companies to store and track test evidence, ensuring materials meet quality control standards.
  • Document Controls: Tracks and manages formulas, engineering specifications, material specifications, operating procedures and other document types.

Summary

Getting a drug approved by the FDA is a time-consuming, expensive proposition. The cost of regulatory approval for pharmaceutical products can easily exceed $3 million in government fees alone.

The right ERP can help companies track materials throughout the supply chain and product development. This enhanced tracking and secure data storage reduces the efforts required to navigate the drug approval process.

Book a free assessment to learn how an optimized ERP system ensures regulatory approval.

Book Now

About XcelPros

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

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

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

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

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

Homegrown systems to modern ERP System

From homegrown to modern ERP System: Transforming your business

From homegrown to modern ERP System: Transforming your business 2500 938 Xcelpros Team

Introduction

Homegrown enterprise resource planning (ERP) programs were created to use businesses’ information technology (IT) infrastructure to help grow and manage companies.

In the 1990s, the early adopters of homegrown ERPs spent millions of dollars to modernize their technology. Their goals were making it easy to run daily operations, increase competitiveness and find ways to be more efficient. The cost of developing such an ERP system was high, making Homegrown ERP systems a prized possession for larger corporations. Only those with a strong inhouse IT team and deep pockets could build and maintain them.

For some companies, the issue of deciding whether to use an ERP system and then picking one was deep rooted. Organizations that grew through mergers and acquisitions added ERP systems as part of the package.

Other companies dealt with classic cases of “Software Snowballing” where an ERP was mixed with other software, none of which was designed to share information. This method of mixing stand-alone products drastically raises the cost of integration. It makes sharing data more complex while also adding expensive software licenses and product maintenance costs.

The good news is that was the old day. Older ERP systems lacked the flexibility and rich features of today’s modern ERPs.

Industry Speaks

During 2019’s CPhI North America 2019 Convention on Pharmaceutical Ingredients conference held in Chicago, Xcelpros staff met with decision-makers from organizations who are neck-deep in older homegrown ERP systems. These companies find themselves having vital resources slowly but steadily drained.

The people we spoke with unanimously agree that ERPs of the past are adding inefficiencies and straining existing resources. These companies recognize the importance of an effective ERP. They want to convert their investments into a program that promotes growth, collaboration and efficiency.

Early adopters were encouraged by what their ERPs brought to their companies. They kept adding more resources to the system. Over time, some critical functions started unraveling. For example, the accounting module could not keep pace with global standards such as generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) or international financial reporting standards (IFRS). This inability to keep up leads to non-compliance issues.

From a maintenance standpoint, vendors of older systems started focusing on newer technologies. Companies with old programming tools and operating systems were left high and dry. In some cases, key personnel were tasked with maintaining an ERP on the verge of retirement. Most of our guests realized that updating a legacy system wasn’t practical since the technology is dated. With challenges outweighing the benefits, most of our guests at the CPhI were looking for a newer alternative.

Cost of Staying in Denial

One major issue for companies with homegrown legacy ERPs is the stack of standalone software. Each piece handles one part of the organization’s business processes. Licensing costs to maintain these programs often results in expensive bills at the end of every fiscal year.

The result, or what we call “the cost of staying in denial,” is severe. It grows with every passing day. Some of the common challenges faced by enterprises using homegrown ERPs are:

  1. 1.High costs to benefit ratio in maintaining legacy systems compared to modern products.
  2. 2.Incompatibility with popular business applications such as Microsoft Office 365, stifling collaboration.
  3. 3.Expensive integration required to perform regular tasks such as sales visualization. This often leads to high latency.
  4. 4.High people costs to maintain older tech that is already retired or will hit its end of life soon. In addition to the tech, the people who know to maintain it may also be leaving, putting pressure on newer staff who are hesitant to learn outdated products.
  5. 5.High costs of using a private datacenter to run the application, which is expensive. Many telecom firms worldwide are selling them to private companies. This includes Verizon and AT&T in the US.
  6. 6.Disruptions to normal business operations caused by upgrading the older ERP system. It is a time-consuming, expensive process.
  7. 7.Lack of collaboration because stand-alone applications limits growth opportunities and competitiveness.

To sum up the challenges, it is a typical case of application explosion with disjointed data sources also known as “the problem of too many.” Randomly applying partial solutions over time sucks up computing resources, increasing the overall cost of ownership.

It’s Time to Retire Legacy Systems

The companies Xcelpros spoke to at CPhI agree that their legacy systems are eating into their productivity and their limited resources. We wondered why, when chief executive officers and other top managers were aware of these issues, they had not already moved on to a modern ERP system.

Our research uncovered these issues:

  • Replacement costs and other economic considerations
  • A regressive mindset of, “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”
  • Resistance to change management
  • Emotional attachments

It’s Too Expensive to Replace

We found comments about the perceived cost of a new ERP system were interesting, mainly because they were inaccurate. However, costs associated with switching to a new system were the most frequently cited reasons by our guests at CPhI’19.

This mindset and myth challenges years of ERP systems providers showing that new ERP systems typically save them money.

A current ERP such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations actually costs up to 50 percent less than an on-site legacy system for a 100 employee company, business application provider Skyward Techno states.

When ERPs were first introduced about 30 years ago, their main feature was a uniform database that could sync information across business functions. It would ease decision making, the manufacturers claimed.

It was true … briefly. After ERPs came other targeted business applications. They include human resource management (HRM), customer resource management (CRM), product lifecycle management (PLM) and supply chain management software. Each program had its own unique database promoting “best of breed” software for their respective functions.

Companies that bought into that mindset then are now facing the problem of too many competing programs. A major issue is that specialization denies these firms the opportunity to harness the power of insights gathered by shared data.

A 2016 survey by Panorama Consulting found that nearly 65% of the organizations who implemented an ERP cited replacing outdated ERPs as the major driver for the change. The findings cited in the study matched with what we uncovered at the CPhI conference.

Figure: 1ERP Replacement Statistics

ERP replacement Statistics

With changing trends, best practices have morphed into more optimized processes that promote efficiency and shed workplace complacencies. At a time when profitability is stressed and finding a newer market is challenging, the right technology for your business can be the edge you are looking for.

Combating Resistance to Change

The adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is as archaic as legacy ERP systems. Delaying key technology decisions is costing companies every day they wait. Modern ERP systems such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 lowers operational costs especially when compared to older software.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates the wage for skilled labor is $17 to $25 an hour per worker. Using a median wage of $21/hr., production managers responding to sudden demand spikes need additional man hours to meet the demands. Not including overtime required by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the labor costs of dealing with these demand spikes can quickly exceed projections.

Modern ERPs such as Microsoft System Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management let companies forecast trends. This software helps plan resources, track jobs plus manage materials and scheduling. The result is a more efficient operation.

Panorama Consulting estimates that modern ERPs ability to integrate data and create accurate forecasts can lower labor costs by 20%. Reducing labor cost is just one of the many positive ways a modern ERP benefits your business.

Managing Change Effectively

Change is inevitable even with technology. Change Management has been underestimated when adopting ERP. The result is implementation failure.

Change management includes designing the right framework for transitioning from unlearning the old and accepting the new way of working. Applying change management requires careful planning, making the role of ERP consultants more critical than before.

Part of this was mentioned in the 2019 Panorama Consulting report. It states that 68% of poll respondents had intense to moderate focus on Change Management during an ERP implementation. The overwhelming response shows the importance of organizational change management. It must include key leadership buy-in, effective communication, a robust training strategy and hiring consultants.

Figure: 2Importance of Change Management in ERP Implementation

Importance of change management in erp implementation

At least 50% of ERP implementations are intended to make employees more productive. The importance of change management in erp implementation cannot be undervalued as it impacts nearly half of your organization’s strength. It is something that needs meticulous planning and must not be pushed as the last item on a long list.

Break the Emotional Attachments

Emotional attachments were never documented as reasons to stay with legacy ERPs. However, some of our CPhI guests defended them even though they also agreed that the cost of maintaining them outweighed their benefits.

Some of these people are averse to change. When an older system can’t scale up, they customize it without knowing what will happen. That method may have worked years ago. Today? Modern companies want optimized processes that promote efficiency. Having a complacent workforce is no longer acceptable.

Older ERP systems have hidden costs. Once they require that actions be documented and stored somewhere. If that information isn’t recorded, inefficiencies cannot be detected during a year-end performance review.

Old Systems Cost Money Today

Companies spent huge sums to develop or license a homegrown ERP a decade or two ago. They are paying more for its maintenance today than a modern system costs.

Newer, younger developers don’t know how to update older systems to meet modern needs. The technology in them is too old. This causes companies using them to be less efficient, reducing their ability to compete with modern firms. Older companies using stand-alone systems are unable to leverage analytics and consumer insights. They also lack collaboration between modules such as finance and inventory. Modern ERPs have these connections.

What can a modern ERP System mean to your business?

Modern ERPs are much smarter and efficient than their predecessors. They connect and unify processes and information across business functions such as Finance, Human Resource, Manufacturing, Supply Chain, Logistics, Procurement and Sales. Their connected d esign makes the system more agile, providing benefits that stand-alone systems cannot.

Some of the benefits are:

  • Making informed decisions
  • Driving collaboration and innovation
  • Increasing transparency
  • Promoting efficiency
  • Reducing dependence on human workers
  • Increasing productivity
  • Complying with quality and other government standards

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operation is one such ERP. It comes with cutting-edge technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Prescriptive Analytics and powerful visualization. Everything is unified under a single ecosystem. The ERP drives business results by integrating data across an organization. It provides meaningful insights easily accessible from a cellphone or handheld device. Backed by Microsoft, it is not only secure but flexible and scalable.

Most companies own at least one Microsoft product since Windows operating systems are on 87 percent of the world’s computers. Business applications such as PowerPoint, Excel and Word are a regular tool for most organizations.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 has a similar look and feel to popular products such as Windows and Office 365. It’s ease of use and familiar look which makes switching over a much easier task.

Conclusion

ERPs have undergone a metamorphosis. They are no longer backend record keepers. Instead, they provide a versatile powerhouse that aids in making impactful decisions accurately and quickly. Modern versions cost less than what many firms pay to keep older systems running.

Break the myth that ERPs are an all or nothing solution. Using Microsoft Dynamics 365, you can pick and choose the right modules for your business, adding more features and scaling up or down when situations change.

When updating to a modern ERP, consider using an established vendor whose product vision caters to your present-day requirements and your future needs. Firms that are part of Microsoft’s Independent Software Vendor (ISV) network have the extensive industry knowledge to guide you through your ERP journey.

Ask yourself a question: “Is my ERP system a roadblock to profitability?” If the answer is remotely “yes,” contact Xcelpros. We’ll bring the coffee.

Planning to transform you business with Modern ERP, book a free consultation with our experts.

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About XcelPros

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

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

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

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

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