Process Manufacturing

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

Jump-starting resilient and reimagined operations

Jump-starting resilient and reimagined operations

Jump-starting resilient and reimagined operations 2400 900 Xcelpros Team

Jump-starting resilient and reimagined operations

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

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

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mistakes that slow the growth of a chemical manufacturing company

Mistakes that slow the growth of a chemical company

Mistakes that slow the growth of a chemical company 1202 452 Xcelpros Team

7 Quotes

Companies need to grow if they wish to flourish and prosper. There are many quotes already related to business growth you might have heard before, including:

  • “Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth,” President John F. Kennedy
  • When you stop growing, you start dying,” author William S. Burroughs
  • “Every problem is a gift —without problems we would not grow,” motivational speaker and author Anthony Robbins
  • “Out of your vulnerabilities will come your strength,” neurologist Sigmund Freud
  • “Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle,” author Napoleon Hill
  • “The only way you are going to have success is to have lots of failures first,” Google co-founder Sergey Brin
  • “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu

Introduction

What do you consider growth for your business? How this is measured is up to each individual organization. Data points that highlight company growth includes:

  • Sales
  • Revenue
  • Profits
  • Company Value
  • Number of customers
  • Number of Employees

The next question to ask is, “Are you growing in a way that is sustainable and lets you achieve all of your company’s goals?” As they grow, companies can make several mistakes that doom their opportunities for growth.

According to Growthink, the most common growth-related mistakes are:

  1. 1.Ignoring the Ansoff Matrix—also known as the Product/Market Expansion Grid—that details ways to increase sales.

Figure: 1Ansoff Matrix: Product-Market Expansion Grid

Ansoff Matrix: Product-Market Expansion Grid

  1. 2.Failing to conduct market research, such as a SWAT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) assessment.
  2. 3.Developing weak financial models showing the impact of each growth opportunity.
  3. 4.Forgetting what worked in the past for your company.
  4. 5.Starting at the wrong place and lacking a clear vision of where you want to go.
  5. 6.Lacking focus, which can occur when a company lacks a clear growth plan.
  6. 7.Ignoring the human factor by not having the right people.

Chemical Industry Mistakes

The previous items apply to all companies wanting to grow, regardless of industry. The heavily regulated pharmaceutical and chemical industries face additional challenges when they want to grow.

According to Global Safety Management, these unique challenges include:

  1. 8.Ignoring jurisdictional regulations.
  2. 9.Costly errors from operations.
  3. 10.Failing to evolve into an intelligent enterprise.
  4. 11.Delivering products, not business outcomes.

Ignored regulations often result in hefty fines. For example, if your pharmaceutical company sells its products in Europe, and then decides to expand into the U.S., not following FDA labeling regulations is a major no-no. Violating Section 21 of the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act (aka, title 21, section 331) mislabeling a prescription drug for interstate commerce is expensive. Penalties include prison sentences up to 10 years, fines of up to $250,000 and civil penalties up to $10 million, the law firm of Wallin & Klarich states.

Problems often result from manufacturing errors and omissions. Many of these can be traced to the supply chain. For example, inaccurate inventory counts lead to starting a production run only to discover a key ingredient is missing, stopping production.

Evolving by using available technology as a way of moving forward can be done when company leaders are looking toward the future. Tools exist today—such as the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) coupled with modern enterprise resource planning (ERP) software—to let small and medium-sized businesses grow. They also let larger companies get even bigger.

Having total control over your inventory and an ever-changing grasp of your supply chain lets you reduce raw materials and shipping costs while still delivering products on time.

Translation Errors Can Prove Fatal

The final error in our “devils’ dozen” is:

  1. 12.Translation Mistakes.

Let’s face it: many American chemical manufacturers purchase materials from suppliers outside the U.S. and ship finished products overseas. That means labels must not only be in the languages used by your customers and others in the supply chain, they must also meet safety regulations at their destination.

If, for example, a formula using imperial measurements (i.e., pounds and ounces) is incorrectly translated into its metric equivalent or instructions are unclear, the resulting product may fail safety and purity tests. Poorly translated labels could cause regulators to deny a shipment until the products are relabeled correctly. Translation errors could even result in a large batch failing its tests, wasting the materials, time and equipment.

“If the mistakes are severe enough, the resulting chemical combinations could be dangerous or deadly for staff members who follow mistranslated instructions to the letter,” GLTaC states.

Under terms of the European Chemicals Agency’s Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) act of 2006, dossiers are required on each substance produced or imported weighing more than one metric ton.

“Inaccurate information due to translation mistakes could result in regulatory action by the European Chemicals Agency that could prove financially crippling,” GLTaC, a translation services provider, warns.

Technology Helps Reduce Mistakes

ERP software like Microsoft Dynamics 365, especially when paired with something like Xcelpros’ Integrated Chemical Management (iCM), helps companies better manage their growth.

Figure: 2Integrated Chemical Management with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management

Integrated Chemical Management with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management

ERPs can work with IIoT sensors, gathering large quantities of data. Dynamics 365 Finance helps turn the raw numbers into actionable data. Using this data, and the charts and graphs created from it, executives can spot areas operating inefficiently. For example, machines are down and staff is doing make-work while waiting for earlier cycles to complete.

Having access to real-time numbers lets these leaders know where changes can occur, boosting overall production.

iCM helps chemical companies hit their growth targets. It integrates seamlessly into D365’s Finance module, providing impeccable security. Among iCM’s value propositions are:

  • Built-in labeling and safety data sheets (SDS)
  • Fully integrated SDS management
  • Real-time SDS data sheets are consistent and compliant with Global Harmonization System requirements

These SDS features reduce the total cost of ownership (TCO) by removing the need to maintain product safety documentation and data in-house.

iCM becomes the repository of record for all regulatory data while making it accessible to authorized D365 users. It also integrates SDS authoring at the formula/item level, embedding workflows for authoring and approvals.

Xcelpros’ product adds to one of D365’s many strengths: its labeling prowess. The Supply Chain Management module lets companies track products from the moment raw materials arrive in their warehouse to the instant a customer receives them. iCM builds on the existing technology, further focusing on the chemical industry.

For example, iCM becomes the system of record for all labels, integrating them into operational workflows like production and shipping. To learn more, download the iCM brochure.

Figure: 3Translation Service Process in Dynamics 365

Translation Service Process in Dynamics 365

Customers using D365 also have access to the Dynamics 365 Translation Service (DTS). Hosted in Microsoft Dynamics Lifecycle Services (LCS), it uses a machine translation system to maximize translation output quality. It also recycles linguistic assets from D365 and partners, such as Xcelpros. DTS is compatible with D365 Finance, Commerce and CRM modules among others.

Summary

Chemical companies face potential mistakes common to all growing businesses. In addition, they also face certain hurdles that other industries do not. Regulation is a major issue for chemical companies, especially those who rely on raw materials and finished products made outside the U.S. or shipped overseas.

Taking advantage of technology like Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Xcelpros’ unique Integrated Chemical Management software can help prevent these mistakes and let executives continuously grow their companies.

Get a free consultation to learn how to resolve critical problems in your chemical company.

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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

Manufacturing Trends in the Pharmaceutical Industry 2021

Latest Trends in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Industry 2021

Latest Trends in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Industry 2021 2400 900 Xcelpros Team

By the Numbers

In a July 2021 report, Grand View Research estimated the 2020 global pharmaceutical manufacturing market value at $405.52 billion. Key metrics include:

  • 11.34%: The industry’s expected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2021 – 2028
  • $957.59 billion: The revenue forecast for 2028
  • 77.95%: The retail segment market share in 2020

The IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science used a five-year estimate from 2018-2023 in its 2019 report. This report estimated spending on medicine to top $1.4 trillion by the end of 2021. Looking ahead to anticipated global medicine spending and growth in 2023 shows the top individual regions in terms of spending and 5-year CAGR as being:

  • United States: $625 – $655 billion, + 4% – 7%
  • Pharmerging: $355 – $385 billion, + 5% – 8%
  • Top 5 Europe: $195 – $225 billion, + 1% – 4%
  • Japan: $89 – $93 billion, – 3% – 0%

“Pharmerging” is a term given to emerging nations in areas such as Africa and parts of Asia.

Figure: 1Estimated medicine spending by companies in 2023

Estimated medicine spending by companies in 2023

Figure: 2Estimated growth rate of medicines by 2023

Estimated growth rate of medicines by 2023

5 Topics to Ponder

Despite all the problems and deaths caused by Covid-19, along with its impact on pharmaceutical manufacturing and the U.S. trade war with China, the market for medicines and related products is staying strong.

Looking several years out, one question CEOs and CFOs must ponder is what changes can we make now to prepare for a profitable future?

According to The Medical Futurist, the Top 5 trends for leaders to consider in the coming years include:

  1. 1.Using artificial intelligence to speed research & development. Spending on AI in healthcare alone is expected to hit $31.3 billion by 2025.
  2. 2.Empowering patients to aid in drug design and advisory boards. TMF notes the Food and Drug Administration has its own patient engagement advisory committee. The FDA states the committee considers different topics including the design of clinical investigations, communicating device benefits and risks, digital health technology and more.
  3. 3.Conducting experiments using computer simulations or “in silico,”. This is another digital trend in pharmaceutical manufacturing. This method eliminates animal testing and side effects on humans and animals. So far, this technology is less than halfway to becoming a reality, though.
  4. 4.Boosting the supply chain with technology such as blockchain to enhance security and improve inventory tracking. “Counterfeit drugs might make a cheaper alternative but are the cause of tens of thousands of deaths worldwide while the fake drug trade continues to be a profitable multi-billion dollar business,” according to TMF.
  5. 5.Using technology to appeal to more providers and payers. TMF mentions a wearable monitoring device and an app for feedback from doctors plus the app itself. Another technology is 3D printed pills such as Spritam that gained FDA approval in 2015.

Another topic mentioned in a different report is using real-world-evidence (RWE). A 2018 report by Deloitte defines RWE as, “clinical evidence about a product’s usage, potential benefits and risks derived from real-world data.”

However, Deloitte’s survey also highlighted three potential barriers to RWE adoption by pharmaceutical companies:

  • 75 percent: Major lack of receptivity by external stakeholders
  • 70 percent: Lack of understanding by internal stakeholders
  • 65 percent: Lack of access to necessary external data

AI and ERPs

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance can support different AI modules, as needed. Depending on a business’ requirements, AI can help conduct research more efficiently, automate manual processes and perform other repetitive tasks.

AI benefits researchers through natural language processing and reasoning, learning from data and optimization addressing problems. One example cited by the Royal Society is using “deep” neural networks to identify features required to solve problems. Another uses reinforcement learning to examine many scenarios and assigning credit to different moves—such as chemical combinations—based on performance.

When it comes to research and manufacturing of pharmaceutical products, AI helps researchers use genomic data to predict protein structures, improving diagnosis and developing new treatments. Using machine learning—one part of AI—to predict the three-dimensional structure of proteins from DNA sequences is another example. This is quickly becoming one of the biggest trends in the pharmaceutical industry in 2021.

By creating a highly-detailed computer model that replicates a human organ, pharma companies can see the effectiveness of different drug therapies on specific diseases.

When it comes to pharmaceutical manufacturing technology, which versions work? What are the side effects? What changes can we make to reduce the side effect’s severity? These are some of the questions AI can help answer quickly and efficiently without experimenting on humans or animals.

In terms of business, “artificial intelligence technology allows businesses to automate a variety of processes, frees up employees’ time and helps improve productivity.” The result is greater output in less time at lower cost, according to Intellspot.

AI also helps capture competitive research and analysis. One tool with that capability is Microsoft Power Bi. This software has three types of AI transformations:

  • Text analytics tags images and extracts key phrases
  • Vision analyzes images
  • Azure ML helps generate insights and predictions

ERPs and Regulatory Compliance

A major obstacle unique to technology in pharmaceutical manufacturing is dealing with FDA regulations. Many of these rules require strict recordkeeping. Modern ERPs, which share data between departments, allow companies to keep more accurate documentation and inventory. ERPs allow executives to review data for accuracy, ensuring that information from Inventory Control matches what Finance says it should report.

A key feature of sharing information between different departments such as Inventory Control and Finance, companies can spot areas for improvement. Are FDA documentation requirements being met? A simple query can give a CEO the answer for any department anywhere in the world.

ERPs can also ensure that product communications meet the FDA’s stringent requirements for truth under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act). These laws can result in severe fines for conveying important information the FDA considers misleading.

Labelling is another major part of FDA rules, one where D365’s Inventory Control Module for Dynamics Supply Chain Management stands out. This lets businesses generate barcodes and other labels, tracking products and batches from the moment they arrive through production to their delivery to customers.

Summary

Pharmaceutical manufacturing technology, like the use of AI or ML in research & development, are quickly becoming leading pharmaceutical industry trends since 2020, helping make pharmaceutical companies leaner and more efficient. Modern software like tier 1 ERPs lets them gather, sort and analyze information obtained from the continuous manufacturing of pharmaceuticals much more rapidly than ever before.

Keep up with the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing trends. Get an obligation free trial of Microsoft ERP tailored for the Pharma Industry.

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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

Formula Management Scales Up Process Manufacturing

Formula Management Scales Up Process Manufacturing

Formula Management Scales Up Process Manufacturing 2400 900 Xcelpros Team

Introduction

Formulas are at the core of process manufacturing and managing them is a critical function in the product development cycle. However, we see manufacturers show little effort in how they store and access their formulas, often keeping them siloed. However, today’s connected world makes sharing information across business units critical.

Seldom are formulas managed with any regularity. We find them in manual logs or at best, Microsoft Excel files. Companies spend years perfecting a single formula, ensuring it is scalable and able to maintain consistent quality across all batches and then restrict access to it.

At Xcelpros, we help our clients modernize their formula management. Keeping these formulas updated and secure from prying competitors results in higher productivity. That translates into a stronger bottom line.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software such as Microsoft System Dynamics has the ability to manage formulas. An ERP brings consistency, product scalability and improved efficiency to formulas while achieving better compliance scores.

Formula management (FM) includes the ability to optimize formulas. It also creates and manages workflows, creates formula variants, manages labeling content, plans inventory for scaling up production and validates the formulas to meet regulatory requirements.

An essential part of electronic batch processing, FM helps modernize the product development process. The resulting efficiency increase results in shorter times to market.

Automating formulas ensures consistent products. It removes manual calculations of ingredients, their properties and costs, thereby removing a source of error.

This process also causes better regulatory compliance. It reduces the chances of recalls, rejections and fines. Each of these actions costs your firm money while negatively impacting brand value.

The Downstream Impact of Formula Management

As discussed above, formula management is at the core of process manufacturing. Using the chemical industry as an example, formulas are at the center of each company’s assets. The research and development (R&D) section likely has an “n number” of formulas and variations. When each formula is processed, it delivers a unique product. Having related formulas scattered across multiple locations increases the compliance hazard, reducing efficiency.

An integrated FM system gives top executives control of:

  • Transparency in terms of cost – An integrated business application such as an ERP includes ways to control formulas. The software also shows costs associated with the manufacturing process. ERPs give you a holistic picture. They provide the downstream impact of a formula from raw materials procurement to setting end product pricing.
  • Visibility of formula properties – ERPs let you analyze the change in physical properties of key ingredients in real-time. For example, you can vary the quantity or substitute one raw material for another. Making these changes in the ERP lets you see the impact on areas such as the nutritional value of products.
  • Authentication and formula protection – This security feature helps an organization define access rights to each formula. It allows you to limit modification rights to a select few while giving master control to the administrator. The administrator can reverse any changes to the formula.

Your business deserves the power of a unified system for formula management.

ERPs are the Way Ahead

ERPs provide an effective solution with the ability to unify production processes with research and development formulation in a common, secure platform. ERP systems can transform the way formulas are managed by players in industries such as chemical, pharmaceutical, food & beverages, etc.

Keeping formulas confidential is critical for every manufacturer in every industry. Managing formulas efficiently can be a competitive advantage, especially when a company is growing.

Instead of making FM a daunting task, using an ERP ensures your manufacturing processes are standardized across your production units regardless of their location.

ERPs are Transformational

Modern businesses generate gigabytes of data every single day. That number continues to increase as handheld devices and connected systems add to it. ERP software is designed to handle massive volumes of data. It generates insights letting top executives gain deeper understanding of core business functions. Using an ERP, top leaders can see the data behind critical decisions.

Looking at batch processing, which includes FM, leaders have a centralized information source covering all products that being processed, manufactured or stored. Having access to this data in one spot lets leaders generate important business insights.

Batch size, quality, quantity and components are essential items captured by ERPs. The system allows organizations to set security controls ensuring only authorized personnel can access the firm’s trade secrets and formulas. The ERP also maintains a version history of all changes made to the formula, letting authorized people go back to a previous version in case of unauthorized access.

Connecting Silos

In many businesses, data is captured and stored in stand-alone “silos.” A problem with this approach is its inability to share data. This is especially true when data from multiple business functions is captured in different systems.

Siloed data is not easily accessible from systems outside that area. It doesn’t give key executives enough variables to make informed decisions. The silo approach causes inefficiencies and lower returns on investments from technology assets.

Today is the age of connected business ecosystems, not stand-alone silos. Collaboration is the key to efficiency, transparency and easier operations. Sharing data means quicker and informed decision making, all of which eventually leads to success. Only an ERP can break the silo walls, connecting your data to provide a complete 360-degree view of your production process.

A connected system helps you calculate formulas and break down the costs of each product, percolating down to provide improved competitive and operational advantages.

ERP Software Systems and Formula Management

Some areas where ERPs are instrumental in formula management include:

  • Versioning formulas
  • Scaling formulas to create larger batches
  • Determining and establishing coproducts or byproducts
  • Categorizing active ingredient formulas by
    • Weight
    • Percentage
    • Operations related to ingredient consumption
    • Approvers
    • Batch sizes

Figure: 1ERP Software For Process Manufacturing

ERP Software For Process Manufacturing

Versioning Formulas for Compliance

Process manufacturers are continually updating and improving their formulas. Updates are driven by changing industry trends, customer demand and most importantly, ever-changing regulations.

Keeping up with rule changes is a constant task, especially for companies with multinational manufacturing and distribution operations. They must be compliant with the laws in each country where they operate.

Compliance impacts formulas directly, making keeping different versions a “must have” feature. For example, formaldehyde is a chemical agent dangerous to humans at levels of 100 parts per million. It is banned for use in cosmetics across the European Union but is found in hair-straightening products and nail polish in the US. Atrazine is used as an herbicide in the US, but was banned in the EU since 2003 over concerns of it polluting water bodies.

Differing regulations requiring different formulas—even with minor alterations—can be intimidating. Formulas must be managed properly to meet the regulations in each country or region.

Scaling Formulas for Consistency

Another formula function ERPs automate is scaling. When a customer changes its order size, the quantity of raw materials varies. Formulas do not.

To the uniformed, the impression of an ERP at a manufacturing location is like taking a widget, adding some gadgets plus a few man hours and presto, you have a finished product. This is at best oversimplification and at worst a mathematically challenging extrapolation.

Why is scalability a challenge? Consider a scenario where you are preparing soup for a family of four. Something happens. Now you need to make soup for your neighborhood, maybe your city or even your county. Most people realize your raw materials will increase as you add people, but what about making your soup look and taste the same or ensuring your serving quantity is right?

To accomplish all of this requires software that can scale production while maintaining consistency in product composition. An ERP solution such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operation can help categorize all your formulas based on parameters such as: weight, percentage, ingredients, production size, approvers, etc. Top executives have complete control of their manufacturing operations regardless of how many customers one product serves.

Creating New Efficiencies

In addition to providing consistent products regardless of batch size or manufacturing location, ERPs can help manage your formulas to create new levels of efficiency by:

  • Ensuring changes made to a formula have real-time implications to raw material procurement, production, inventory management and planning.
  • Scaling formulas regardless of production size.
  • Adjusting user fields to suit current requirements and configurations.
  • Keeping tabs on production costs such as raw materials, labor and other variables based on changes to your formula.

Conclusion

Most chemical manufacturers have a legal pre-defined volume to weight ratio for using certain ingredients. The process becomes more complex when using multiple measurement units of such as dry and wet volumes. Adding to the complexity are when different measuring systems are used, such as imperial in the US compared to metric elsewhere. The complexity increases when adding storage temperature or acidity of the ingredients into the mix. How will a particular chemical or ingredient react when it comes in proximity or contact with another agent? Will it lose effectiveness at a specific temperature?

An ERP’s formula management function allows companies to automate the production process. The integration process also means firms can publish relevant labels. These labels are pasted on the products providing required information.

Using FM in an ERP lets companies concentrate on the business of selling products. They can avoid the costs and headaches caused by an inefficient formula management process. Powered by a self-sustained connected ecosystem hosting a universe of business applications, Microsoft Dynamics 365 offers a secure and holistic formula management suite. Dynamics 365 ensures your formulas are secure, scalable, compliant and most importantly, strategically placed to elevate your organization to the next level of efficiency.

Scale up your manufacturing process with formula management, book a free consultation with our expert to learn more.

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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