Supply Chain

pharmaceutical serialization track and trace

Gen-Next Serialization in the Pharmaceutical Supply Chain: Improving Track & Trace

Gen-Next Serialization in the Pharmaceutical Supply Chain: Improving Track & Trace 1500 1049 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

  • Worldwide pharmaceutical companies are dealing with drug counterfeiting, adulterations, supply chain thefts and packaging glitches.
  • Serialization is much more than just applying barcodes to personalized medicines.
  • This modern age of fast-paced digitization calls for modifications and improvements in serialization techniques.
  • To better strengthen the supply chain, loopholes need to be identified and closed.
  • Transparency needs to be maintained for every drug dose.
  • Pharmaceutical companies and their supply chain vendors should use of advanced analytics, cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT) to get a grip on modern serialization techniques.

Introduction

Traceability in pharmaceuticals is now very much seen as a global mandate. With laws differing from one country to the next, major pharmaceutical companies are looking for ways to improve how they track and trace their products in the supply chain in order to remain in compliance at all times.

Struggling to continuously meet those requirements is causing pharmaceutical companies to develop and implement new serialization techniques. Supply chain security, having to battle counterfeit and altered drugs, better product traceability and overall cost-savings are chief among the motivations.

Reports suggest that by 2023, more than 90% of the global drug supply will be scrutinized under track and trace regulations. The program will enhance patient safety measures by combating drug counterfeiting.

Serialization is no longer restricted to global compliance mandates either. It’s helping more and more pharmaceutical companies add transparency, accountability and integrity to their supply chains.

Serialization is proving to be more effective at reducing shrinkage (i.e., errors and theft) than other solutions such as sturdy packaging and traceable 3D hologram models.

Figure: 1Common Loopholes in the Pharmaceutical Supply Chain

Common Loopholes in the Pharmaceutical Supply Chain

Innovation is the key to improving trace and track in any supply chain model, including the frequently complex pharmaceutical supply chain.

Companies worldwide are investing millions of dollars in maintaining product integrity.

Assigning unique identification numbers or barcodes to individual items (such as a strip of tablets or a bottle of medicine) for computerized serialization and tracking is becoming among the best ways to maintain product integrity.

Among newer innovations and latest trends in serialization in the pharmaceutical supply chain.

Data Encryption and Data Security

The ultimate aim of pharmaceutical supply chain serialization is to ensure consumers get the right drugs at the right price and quality. At the same time, companies that trace and track their products end up knowing where each shipment is at any given moment.

Verification for this requires very strict data management and security. One way to get it done is through computerized encryption that lets only designated people read the data.

The pharmaceutical industry loses on average 4.5% of its potential revenue because of supply chain inefficiencies.Source: Interactive Data Corporation

Recalling Individual Products

The pharmaceutical industry is highly susceptible to recalls caused by things like poor packaging that leads to contaminated products that could be harmful to patients.

Previously, these recalls were made at batch-levels, causing massive revenue loss as well as distrupting the supply chain. Narrowing defective medicines to individual units makes it possible for companies to limit recalls to specific products. The same serialization can then be used to determine when and where the product was altered or contaminated.

Figure: 2 Serialization to Improve Track and Trace

Serialization to Improve Track and Trace

Use of Advanced Analytics

Life sciences organizations and their research groups are constantly working to understand what consumers need and want by studying buying trends. Using advanced analytics applications like Microsoft Power BI to create in-depth business intelligence reports is becoming the best way to help realize and act on these patterns. Power BI’s dashboards take advantage of interactive visualizations to help users make informed decisions about if and when they need to alter their production schedules to keep up with market demand.

Enhanced Visibility at Every Level of Supply Chain

Serialization is a good way for companies to provide accountability when it comes to compliance with government regulations. It’s also a good way to enhance visibility and improve monitoring at every level of the pharmaceutical supply chain. Knowing how much of what you have and where reduces stock-outs improves overall distribution and ensures your products are available when and where the consumers want them.

Barcoding and Labeling

Barcodes can provide a lot more information than just a serial number alone. You can include electronic links to product information sheets, safety data sheets, ingredients, storage requirements, shipping requirements, dosage levels and other information. All a worker needs to do is scan a code made with advanced label-making capabilities using a bar code reader or cellphone to access this data on the spot.

$200 billion (10%): that is the global monetary cost of counterfeit drugs according to the World Health Organization.
One million: That is the annual cost in human lives each year from fake and altered medicines according to Interpol.

Serialization’s Impact on Companies

In the United States, the serialization of all drugs at the sealable unit and case level became a requirement with the passage of the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA) in November, 2017. This requirement had an impact on pharmaceutical companies and their supply chain vendors that had to ensure serialization of all drugs at an individual container or dose level with barcodes for better tracking and tracing.

Ultimately however, this has led to a number of benefits including:

  • Better market visibility down to individual drug demand. This helps by allowing for more efficient drug distribution.
  • Warehouses and inventories need to be equipped with a fortified drug distribution plan.
  • Better understanding and communication among cross-functional teams. Since serialization provides an inflow and outflow of different information, life sciences researchers, packaging personnel, IT experts, and distributors alike can share any data available for a particular drug.

Challenges in Serialization

Like any other change across the supply chain, serialization has its own set of challenges, including:

  • Hardware Setup and Updates
    Companies need to ensure they have the right equipment and supplies on hand at all times to print the labels, barcodes and seals required for serialization.
  • Steady Flow of the Production Line
    Introducing serialization and the training required to understand the process might have an impact on the production line early on as labeling each and every product may initially slow down the process.
  • Higher Costs
    Adding serialization to an existing process often means adding costs in terms of hardware, software and people. These costs can be reduced by using pooled investments and sustainable applications of the hardware and software.
  • Skilled Personnel Shortage
    Newer, digital methods of serialization require a workforce that understands what needs to be done. Companies are facing a lack of a skilled employee base that’s technically sound enough to implement their serialization strategies.
  • Technical Glitches
    Serialization should ultimately require minimal human intervention, aiming to significantly reduce manual errors. With anything else so integrated, you will need to make sure any technical issues can be identified and addressed in a timely manner to avoid any major disruptions to production.

XcelPros’ Microsoft Dynamics 365 solutions enable pharmaceutical companies to seamlessly implement serialization for better compliance and enhanced track and trace.

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Key Benefits of Serialization in Operations

Pharmaceutical companies able to take advantage of advanced, digital serialization processes for their supply chain operations often realize a number of benefits, including

  • Easy end-to-end implementation across the supply chain
  • Efficient sealing of supply chain loopholes to combat drug counterfeiting and packaging mistakes
  • Minimal human intervention required, making serialization a fool-proof, effective way to ensure brand authenticity and reduce batch recalls
  • Full compliance with government traceability regulations
  • Reduction of counterfeit drugs and compromised quality.

Final Thoughts

Overall, serialization in the pharmaceutical supply chain plays a significant role in avoiding drug theft, counterfeiting, batch recalls and and other potential hazards. Every pharmaceutical company needs to have a unique serialization processes to meet its requirements. Newer serialization software uses advanced analytics for better drug distribution and fewer stock-outs.

With government mandates requiring pharmaceutical companies and their supply chain vendors to understand and master the technical details of implementing serialization at batch and case levels in an effort to fortify their supply chain and enhance visibility, these companies need to be prepared to overcome any challenges that arise. Is your track and trace solution ready?

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

Strengthening Supply Chain Capabilities

Ways to Strengthen your Supply Chain Processes

Ways to Strengthen your Supply Chain Processes 1440 810 Xcelpros Team

Supply Chain Woes

Over the past two decades, many manufacturing operations have moved offshore to lower operating costs. No one could have foreseen the recent COVID-19 pandemic that brought the world’s economy to a grinding halt. Pandemic-related problems exposed gaps in various supply chains across the globe. Pharmaceutical companies that had pivoted operations found themselves scrambling to get their hands on raw materials and pre-fabricated components at a time when their suppliers were working out how to operate safely.

Transportation problems, safety concerns, government-imposed quarantines and other barriers posed a threat to supply chains worldwide.

While all industries—and most companies in them—were severely impacted, hardest hit were business sectors that were considered critical.

What is a Critical Industry?

“There are 16 critical infrastructure sectors whose assets, systems, and networks, whether physical or virtual, are considered so vital to the United States that their incapacitation or destruction would have a debilitating effect on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination thereof,” according to the U.S. Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency.

Critical Infrastructure is identified as functions that are essential for the functioning of a society and economy. Since 2001, the National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP) lists 16 Critical Infrastructure Industries as essential to keep our country and economy moving. These industries are:

  • Chemical
  • Commercial facilities
  • Communications
  • Critical manufacturing
  • Dams
  • Defense industrial bases
  • Emergency services
  • Energy
  • Financial services
  • Food and agriculture
  • Government facilities
  • Healthcare and public health
  • Information technology
  • Nuclear reactors, materials, waste
  • Transportation systems
  • Water and wastewater systems

Understanding your Supply Chain

A robust supply chain is the foundation of any successful company. A supply chain’s importance is magnified when critical operations rely on getting raw materials in the door and finished products to customers on time. An efficient supply chain is essential for daily operations.

The impact that COVID has had on supply chains around the world has taught business that:

  • Raw material supplier relationships are essential
  • There are still massive transportation industry constraints
  • Security issues in the supply chain can lead to unexpected challenges

According to the Information and Communications Technology’s (ICT) Supply Chain Risk Management program, it’s essential to know your immediate supply chain along with an extended one that may not have direct access to third party suppliers.

Materials once considered abundant can quickly become scarce when multiple businesses compete for them. This is where a good supplier relationship makes a difference between getting access to a product or waiting until more materials are produced.

Another part of existing supply chain woes is that while companies focus getting goods flowing, data breaches and other security problems are rising. According to the Risk Ledger Report, third-party app developers, payment processors and remote worker infrastructure are among the top security threats.

Figure: 1Functions enabling modern supply chain management

Functions enabling modern supply chain management

Ways to Stay Ahead

Thankfully, there are a number of solutions out there to help companies stay competitive. The latest version of Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Supply Chain Management not only includes several features for building strong supplier relationships and minimizing risks, but also retains a familiar look and feel to other Microsoft Office products. This familiar interface helps with change management and reducing training needed to get up and running.

Some of D365 Supply Chain Management’s more powerful features include:

  • A Role-based Vendor Collaboration Portal
    Members of the procurement team can post and respond to Requests for Quotations (RFQ) and edit company information. Companies and suppliers can confirm, maintain, reject and accept purchase orders.
  • Purchase Inquiry Options
    This option is available outside of the portal. It provides an alternative to the RFQ process when immediate material pricing and delivery need to be met with your existing supply base.
  • Vendor Performance Analysis
    Includes a dashboard to real-time Spend Analysis and Vendor Performance insights into on-time delivery.

Talk with us today to learn more about enhancing your supply chain capabilities.

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As a way to further help the manufacturing industry, Microsoft debuted its Dynamics 365 Manufacturing Accelerator on May 14, 2020. The Manufacturing Accelerator is a Power App offering an enhanced Supplier Relationship Management experience. It runs within Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management.

Primary features include processes to:

  • Qualify new suppliers
  • Onboard a supplier for data integration
  • Manage and track Supplier Relationship Health Data

While the accelerator was being developed before the recent pandemic, it’s become a great asset to procurement teams looking to strengthen their supplier sourcing capabilities.

Final Thoughts

Companies today are still struggling with two competing priorities: maintaining a healthy workforce, and delivering goods to their customers. The latter means having a strong, versatile supply chain. A robust, secure platform like Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management helps businesses make this a reality by enhancing every process, from supplier onboarding to monitoring vendor performance.

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

Freight Visibility in the Chemical Supply Chain

The Importance of Freight Visibility in the Chemical Supply Chain

The Importance of Freight Visibility in the Chemical Supply Chain 1440 810 Xcelpros Team

Introduction

Having a complete view of inbound shipments is critical for chemical manufacturers. Maintaining accurate product counts, ensuring on-time delivery, monitoring rising transportation costs and complying with the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) regulations are some of the reasons.

Being a highly-regulated industry, chemical manufacturers are under constant compliance pressure at several levels, not just federal. Having a clear view of end to end supply chain visibility helps in mitigating supply chain challenges.

For example, a single federal hazardous materials violation can cost your company anywhere from nearly $80,000 to $500,000.

Failing quality controls and product recalls come with steep costs. Adding competition, transportation and supply chain challenges along with growing customer expectations means chemical manufacturers can’t afford to make any mistakes.

One of the more manageable costs is freight. It can be expensive and daunting to manage when your organization is making hundreds of shipments each day.

Accurate labeling becomes critical in terms of understanding what is in each shipment. Labelling is also vital when planning the materials classification and storage plus determining workforce requirements. Without a simple labelling method all workers can use, ensuring end-to-end supply chain visibility becomes a nightmare.

Consequences of Poor Freight Management

Poor freight management can lead to a number of different problems such as:

  • Damaged, lost, or late deliveries
  • Processing delays causing customer complaints
  • Delays in downstream work orders
  • Greater freight costs caused by carrier policies
  • Wasted raw materials and space due to unaccounted inventory
  • Decreased productivity due to poor scheduling

This list doesn’t account for accidents, either. What if hazardous materials get mixed up with another order? How will you know? Mistakes like this can be disastrous and even fatal.

One report states that unreported delays lead to an increase in inventory carrying costs, as high as 30-40% of total inventory costs.

Every stage of the chemical supply chain, from raw materials to end-user delivery, requires a significant amount of planning, tracking and implementation. Companies today need a centralized and secured solution that offers flexibility with the ability to integrate, automate, and be optimized regardless of location.

Enterprise labeling solutions boost efficiency, accuracy and reliability plus significant cost savings amid these highly regulated environments.

Book a free consultation to get a comprehensive freight visibility management solution.

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Managing Hazardous Freight – Responsibility of the Manufacturer and Carrier

Penalties  for Violation of Federal Hazardous Materials

It’s the manufacturer’s responsibility for identifying hazardous materials, not the freight carrier’s. Whenever chemicals are being shipped, it’s up to the manufacturer to ensure its documentation, labeling and packaging all meet government standards.

Among the most common items on a hazardous materials manufacturer’s shipping checklist are ensuring all of the following items are current:

Hazardous Materials Manufacturer’s Shipping checklist

  • Contents meet the federal definition of “Hazardous Material”
  • Employees are properly trained
  • Correct packaging is used
  • Blocking and bracing requirements are outlined
  • Shipping manifest is complete and accurate
  • Emergency response information is included
  • Emergency response contact information
  • Certifications are complete
  • Security plans and processes are in place
  • Incident reporting procedures are being used
  • Product Compatibility is accounted for when shipping multiple chemicals together

Among the correct documentation requirements are:

  • Shipping name
  • Classification/ Division
  • Identification Number
  • Hazard warning labels and markings

Freight carriers have their responsibilities, too. Those include validating the:

  • Accuracy of the manufacturer’s packing lists
  • Products are accurately described and adequately packaged
  • Vehicle is suitable for shipping the chemical products and in good repair

Carriers,as well, have additional responsibilities when transporting hazardous materials. These include:

  • Documents and manifests are accurate and complete
  • Proper labels and placards are in all required positions on the vehicle and the shipment
  • Loading and unloading meets safety guidelines
  • Employee training is complete
  • Security plans and processes are up to date
  • Incident reporting procedures are up to date
  • Adequate blocking and bracing meets government guidelines
  • Product compatibility is considered when shipping multiple chemicals together

The Real Cost of Freight

The actual cost of freight can only be realized after a product reaches its final destination. The final cost of deliveries can be influenced by a number of different fees for layovers, oversized cargo, after-hour deliveries, mispacked orders, incomplete manifests and damage incurred during shipping and unloading.

Large businesses making hundreds of shipments a day are often able to absorb shipping cost fluctuations that might severely hurt small and medium businesses. Unfortunately, manufacturers shipping products don’t always know what will trigger additional fees. These issues with inbound shipments can affect all departments in a supply chain: Sales, Planning, Purchasing, Production, and Accounting, and possibly more.

Understanding your transportation process inside and out is the most effective solution to address supply chain challenges in the chemical industry. Staying on top of every process, every step of the way lets you track and monitor the movement and condition of products from start to finish. Lack of visibility into shipping is the most challenging thing to correct and can significantly impact both manufacturers and shipping companies.

55%

of Third Party Logistics suppliers (3PLs) said they either lost business or didn’t know if they lost business due to lack of visibility of their offerings.

Source: American Shipper

Outdated Systems

Even today, a surprisingly large number of companies continue to run their operations on antiquated inventory tracking systems, fundamentally designed for managing local-only supply chains. Successful supply chains operate globally, dynamically connecting production and procurement to sales and customer service. This way, everyone knows what’s in transit and when it’s due to arrive.

Maintaining freight visibility, especially for a company spread thin, is not an easy task. Obsolete, “legacy” systems make it an even more challenging objective.

A modern, cloud-based solution provides a complete end-to-end view of a supply chain network.

Switching operations to an integrated, multifunctional transportation management system (TMS) platform brings agility to your transportation network. This kind of switch offers better support for seamless communication, allowing companies to respond proactively to unexpected issues and customer demands.

Disparate Systems

There needs to be effective coordination and collaboration across multiple sites and warehouses to effectively manage a supply chain. Running a business on many different applications is one of the biggest roadblocks to total freight visibility. If your organization’s systems can’t connect with your vendors’, there’s a good chance you’re missing something.

Having an inventory control system that communicates with your suppliers’ improves inventory management, communication and freight visibility. Connecting a Transportation Management System (TMS) with warehouse operations allows shippers to find detailed insights from inbound and outbound logistics within a single unified platform.

Lack of collaboration

Tracking shipments in real-time is the core of transportation management. When loads are distributed across different carriers, it can be a real challenge to get reliable data from the entire carrier network. Trying to track shipping information manually though, leads to inaccurate quotes and customer complaints.

Combining business intelligence and advanced analytics offers real-time visibility into shipping and location data. The data delivers accurate tracking information directly from the supplier’s carrier to the shipper. Your customer will always know when their products are due to arrive.

Finding the Right Solution

Most logistics solutions are unable to display “right now” data on incoming shipments and outgoing orders. If you’re in the process of figuring out what solution will be best for your business,there are a few questions you’ll want to be sure you ask:

  • Does their system have AI-enabled software that automatically records vehicle movement, be it truck, ship or plane?
  • Can their system generate automated email alerts in real-time?
  • Does their solution connect the vehicle and the driver, letting you know when unexpected hurdles or opportunities occur?
  • Is their system integrated with other essential business systems your company uses?
  • Are they using software as a service technology providing your company access to your data any time, any where?
  • Are upgrades done automatically through cloud computing, eliminating the need for on-premise upgrades?
  • Is their software a complete package or just a part of the delivery ecosystem?
  • Can their system communicate data easily with other TMS systems, electronic logging devices or enterprise resource planning systems?

Final Thoughts

With the anticipation of continued, long-term shipping challenges, more chemical manufacturers see the need to take a close look at their supply chain management software. Knowing exactly where incoming shipments of raw materials and pre-assemblies are and when they’ll arrive, along with the ability to track products from your facility to your customer’s door, every step of the way, is becoming more and more critical to customer retention.

Best-in-class organizations are embracing newer technology to help them spot and correct problem points before they become a roadblock. The end goal is to reduce expenses by focusing on lowering total shipping costs.

Reach out to us to learn more about Microsoft Business Applications that can help enhance freight visibility.

About XcelPros

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

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

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

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

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

How To Enhance Your Chemical Supply Chain

How To Enhance Your Chemical Supply Chain

How To Enhance Your Chemical Supply Chain 1440 810 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

  • Today’s chemical industry is all about enhanced visibility and accountability.
  • Dealing with varying laws and regulations for different regions, fluctuating and lack of visibility across the board requires advanced solutions.
  • Integrating advanced technologies can reduce waste, unearth new products, find new markets and enhance a company’s status.

Change in Operations

Chemical companies, especially those in the pharmaceutical industry, are seeing an increase in the need for global reach. The still ongoing Covid-19 pandemic means the demand for medications to prevent and treat this deadly disease continues to increase and evolve as new variants are identified.

Since its first discovery, the effect Covid-19 has had on supply chains has been severe, regardless of product. As with many problems though, this disease has also created numerous opportunities, especially for the chemical industry. Major companies continue to expand operations, delivering their products all over the world including former “third world” countries with a growing thirst for everything from antiviral medications and cleaning products, to beauty supplies.

“The chemical industry touches nearly every good-producing sector, making an estimated $5.7 trillion contribution to world Gross Domestic Product (GDP) through direct, indirect and induced impacts, equivalent to seven percent of the world’s GDP, and supporting 120 million jobs worldwide.” Source: The Global Chemical Industry

This data from the ICCA shows a considerable market share, making it safe to say that the chemical industry is looking at a secure future. Globalization, however, requires dealing with unique challenges and roadblocks, especially when it comes to the movement of chemicals from supplier to producer and then to consumer. Today’s supply chain management won’t work in silos. That idea is no longer sustainable or feasible. Today’s global marketplace requires expanded thinking, and that means going digital.

Planning a chemical supply chain today means using effective, profitable methods where customers, suppliers, parts vendors, shippers, sales and production facilities are connected, regardless of their physical locations. Modern software like Microsoft Dynamics 365’s suite of modular programs can help chemical companies make use of modern digital methods and enhance the operational efficiency of their supply chain.

In this article, we will look at some of the key supply chain challenges in the chemical industry today and how technology is playing a key role in enabling forward-thinking companies prosper.

Top Challenges in Chemical Supply Chain

Every company has its own set of challenges such as the size of the company, locations of their manufacturing units and the structure of its supply chain. Regardless of an individual firm’s situation, there are common supply chain issues faced by all chemical manufacturing companies.

Typical chemical industry supply chain challenges include:

  • Distributing chemicals and related raw material in different countries. Companies struggle to keep up with the laws and regulations of varying regions. What’s safe and acceptable in one country may violate worker safety laws in another. This is especially true when it comes to hazardous chemicals.
  • Existing chemical supply chain management can fall prey to manual errors and miscommunications, causing potential safety hazards and monetary loss.
  • The bottom line often depends on a company’s ability to source raw materials. When prices for essential materials fluctuate, the entire supply chain can be affected.
  • Tracking material pricing and delivery details creates a lot of data. This includes information regarding the chemicals, their compositions, material pricing, safety precautions, distribution lists, and more. Managing this information is a top concern for chemical supply chain managers.

Looking to Improve Your Chemical Supply Chain? Book To learn more, request a free consultation.

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Figure: 1 Supply Chain Challenges in Chemical Industry

Supply Chain Challenges in Chemical Industry

3 Ways Technology is Reshaping the Chemical Supply Chain

01.Technology Enables Creating a Connected System

Today’s world is much more connected than it used to be. Systems are linked with smart devices, modern sensors and powerful software running it all. With these sophisticated enterprise resource planning systems in place, it becomes much easier to organize your chemical company’s supply chain. Modern systems can generate an alert when a violation occurs. These automatic alerts reduce manual errors or oversights.

A connected ecosystem provides top-to-bottom visibility in the supply chain, giving top-level decision-makers a clear picture and greater transparency across the board. This enables better accountability and the ability to find solutions to common problems and bottlenecks.

Figure: 2 New Technologies in Supply Chain

New Technologies in Supply Chain

02.AI Helps Create a Failsafe Supply Chain

Chemical supply chain management is highly susceptible to changes in prices of raw materials. To stay ahead of the curve, companies need to stay up to date on global, as well as regional changes to predict how these changes will impact their supply chains.

Artificial intelligence(AI) enabled solutions can analyze data in real-time, letting decision makers know what is likely to happen, how it will affect them and most importantly, what they can do to avoid or reduce any impact. This software can help these companies make necessary modifications to their supply chain strategy on the fly.

03.Using Cloud Computing to Manage Supply Chain Data

Data collation, cataloging and analysis are intricate tasks. When performed by people, they can be prone to manual errors. However, with progressive technological tools like Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, companies can store unlimited data and analyze it much more efficiently. This categorized and analyzed data can be leveraged to generate insights that helps fortify the company’s supply chain for smooth transitions and better efficiency.

Supply chains are the backbone of many industries. The chemical industry needs to adapt to changing times, and make use of the right technologies to harness maximum benefits.

Key Takeaways

Like any industry, the chemical industry is witnessing the need for change in its supply chain model. With the help of cutting-edge technological tools and applications, chemical supply chain management can be overhauled and optimized for enhanced efficiency. Is your supply chain ready for change?

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

Five Steps to Transforming Manufacturing Operations

Five Steps to Transforming Manufacturing Operations

Five Steps to Transforming Manufacturing Operations 2400 900 Xcelpros Team

Introduction

Lasting effects from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic continue to disrupt numerous manufacturing operations as the year draws to a close. Companies not only surviving, but thriving were those already undergoing a digital transformation to their manufacturing operations.

“Digital transformation is the transformation of business, industrial products, operations, value chains and services that are enabled through the augmentation of people, knowledge and workplaces through the expanded use of digital technologies. It’s about the people in the workplaces, the processes, the technologies and services,” Janice Abel wrote in an ARC Advisory Group blog post.

Today, digital transformation is all about rethinking the way your company functions. Is it a series of departments that act like independent nations, each competing for scarce resources and seldom sharing information? Or is your company a unified operation, one where department names are merely labels and the data created by one is open and accessible to all?

At the end of the day, digital transformation in manufacturing is all about enhancing customer service. Taking good care of your customers leads to more sales, better growth opportunities and higher profits. Achieving that goal requires breaking down barriers and ensuring free-flowing information between all employees, period.

Sharing this data in a timely, relevant fashion most often requires a manufacturing execution system (MES) and a manufacturing operations management (MOM) process. MES is computer software while MOM may be software or an overarching process. A material resource planning (MRP) package helps you ready your inventory for production. An MES helps track raw material consumption during production.

According to an ARC survey, most manufacturers are deploying MES solutions to connect information in different silos and plants. While there is some visibility, data silos still remain even though artificial intelligence, (AI), machine intelligence (MI) and other digital methods were being used to varying degrees.

Driving Digital Transformation

Ongoing supply chain disruptions are having a huge impact on manufacturing companies. When questioned about the resilience of their manufacturing and supply chains, the overwhelming response was “not very,” according to a recent blog by Forbes.

Forbes posted some response numbers from the Fictiv 2021 State of Manufacturing Report about existing supply chains:

  • 94% of respondents had some concerns
  • 55% worry that increasing digital operations increases security risks
  • 47% state that supply chain management overhead costs are too high
  • 42% believe that working with global markets creates intellectual property risks
  • 31% think that lack of visibility into operations creates risks and uncertainty

The Fictiv report quoted by Forbes came to one simple conclusion: “The way we manage supply chains and manufacture goods has been forever altered.”

Cost overruns were a key concern for 81 percent of recipients while 55 percent were worried about information technology security with their current supply chain.

“Whatever the issue, it’s clear the old way of operating is no longer optimal,” Forbes states. Using digital methods to manage manufacturing has essentially replaced the older methods, at least according to this survey.

  • 95% of respondents believe digitally transforming their manufacturing operations is essential to their company’s future
  • 91% of respondents reported an increase in digital transformation spending
  • 77% defined their digital spending boost as “dramatic” or “significant.”

A Different Perspective

Digital technology enhances productivity, reduces costs and boosts innovation. Manufacturing companies that pay careful attention to their data are able to use it more efficiently to help find and develop new revenue streams.

Figure: 1 How the Internet of Things (IoT) is integrated with Operating Technology (OT)

How the Internet of Things (IoT) is integrated with Operating Technology

At its core, the currency of automation, optimization and profound transformation at its core can help turn new business models to an “as a service” economy, I-scoop suggests.

One way many companies transform their manufacturing operations is by using the internet of things (IoT) coupled with operational technology (OT) and automation on the production floor. IoT sensors in many devices let computer programs track data as each potential product makes its way through the production process.

Mechanical engineers are able to maintain equipment to finer levels of precision. Software engineers are using the data provided to reduce waste and find new ways of boosting efficiency. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software is using the data to ensure machines are scheduled efficiently. The ERP software helps ensure a near continuous flow of material, even when humans aren’t present.

Learn more about the impact of digital transformation on manufacturing operations.

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Roadmap to Your Digital Transformation

The first step for companies yet to embark on their digital transformation is creating a roadmap. Without understanding what direction you want your business to go and how to get there, any results are likely to be far less than desired.

At a bare minimum, formulating a plan ahead of time helps:

  • Set priorities
  • Manage change
  • Identify and allocate resources

A well thought-out roadmap can help plan your entire journey, or identify problems and new opportunities as you work towards your goal.

Major steps in creating a digital manufacturing roadmap include:

1.Clearly defining your company’s current position and its digital strategy. Stating concrete, achievable goals and then communicating them with partners, employees and clients helps everyone understand what they need to do so that everyone benefits.

2.Defining your financial baseline. Making demands of whatever system you choose to go with, only to balk at the resulting price is no benefit to anyone. Having a plan to only move to the next digital manufacturing transformation phase when you reach certain financial goals makes financial sense, and provides motivation to reach those incremental goals.

3.Ensuring internal Agile processes are ready to go. Breaking your production process into smaller chunks lets you create products and services faster by having processes run concurrently instead of sequentially.

4.Assessing your technology and talent. Understanding what equipment you need, and what skills are required to operate it, lets you start training existing staff or adding new employees ahead of time. Having people who know what they are doing as you implement each phase ensures your digital transformation proceeds smoothly.

5.Choosing the right digital transformation partner. Having a partner experienced in your industry means they’re likely familiar with any problems you may face. Having seen them before, they already know what solutions work and what are a waste of your money. The right partner can also help you set short- and medium-term goals, making sure your transformation is progressing according to plan.

Final Thoughts

Embarking on a new digital transformation pays numerous benefits in the long run. One of the biggest benefits is the ability to rapidly respond to customer requests for new or unique products, resulting in more efficient MAAS (manufacturing as a service).

The most important things to remember when looking to complete your transformation is the need for a detailed roadmap and ensuring you have a digital transformation partner who understands your industry and can help you overcome any hurdles along the way.

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

handling hazardous chemicals

The role of an ERP System in Handling Hazardous Chemicals

The role of an ERP System in Handling Hazardous Chemicals 1920 1080 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

  • The chemical manufacturing industry is constantly scrutinized for its impact on the environment. Organizations in this industry are required to maintain numerous documents including safety data sheets and hazard labels with pictograms.
  • Hazardous chemicals produced and used by the industry must be properly tracked and managed in compliance with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) and others.
  • The right ERP systems can help companies keep accurate records of these hazardous chemicals, in order to meet changing requirements.

Chemical Manufacturers – Managing Compliance

The chemical manufacturing industry is required by law to responsibly use, transport and dispose of hazardous chemicals.

According to a 2016 Harvard University report, “There are currently more than 85,000 chemicals in the US that make up the products in our daily lives and few, besides medications and pesticides, have been assessed thoroughly for safety.”

While prescription drugs and pesticides are carefully examined for their effects on humans and the environment, few other chemicals were not. That changed in 2016 with the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act. The Act gives the EPA, “the authority to ban new and existing chemicals that pose a risk to human health and the health of the environment.”

Manufacturers are an integral part of the chemical value chain. The overall supply chain— from raw materials to finished products—now requires hazard visibility that was lacking until recently.

How can manufacturers meet these compliance standards and document what happens to hazardous chemicals?

One way is through the use of an enterprise resource planning (ERP) software system that makes record maintenance, compliance and visibility easy to maintain. A reliable ERP system is no longer an option but a requirement for chemical companies wanting to act proactively and avoid environmental or human mishaps.

Adding Xcelpros’ Integrated Chemical Management solution to the One Microsoft Ecosystem provides a comprehensive way of ensuring compliance. ERP components cover Supply Chain, Finance, Manufacturing, Quality, Document Management and Chemical Data and Documents.

Being proactive

Business processes would be simpler for bulk chemical and toll manufacturers if they could regulate hazardous substances using inventory receipts from a purchase order or production order system. Dangerous chemicals can be monitored more closely, though, when using an integrated chemical management system that tracks each chemical in every stage from raw material to finished product and wastes.

Unified systems like ERPs can help identify hazardous substances and evaluate them. Manufacturers are then informed of the risk levels regarding the use and distribution of their chemical products.

Identifying these hazardous substances early also allows manufacturers to act proactively, resulting in better safety.

Book your free consultation to learn how an ERP system can help handle hazardous chemicals.

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Developing a Prototype/ Standard Operating Procedure for Worker Safety

Even after manufacturers implement hazardous chemical safety procedures, theres still room for error. Mishandling and mismanaging these chemicals can jeopardize workers’ safety. Since working with these chemicals is a part of the job, production and distribution becomes a serious business challenge. Documenting safe handling steps and ensuring dangerous products meet all current regulations helps protect the companies when accidents occur.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 and its suite of business tools integrates into SharePoint and OneDrive. SharePoint is a document collaboration system. OneDrive is more storage oriented. Combined with Dynamics 365, they provide the ability to develop a standard operating procedure or prototype process to handle chemicals. The result is a series of documents that help avoid chemical accidents and enhance worker safety on the shop floor.

Better Equipment Maintenance

Documenting equipment maintenance in a chemical plant is a tedious task. Microsoft Dynamics 365 boosted with Internet of Things (IoT) sensors eliminates much of this drudgery. It lets workers know when to take preventive actions. These maintenance “calls-to-action” are generated automatically by D365 systems. By removing the potential of errors from manual entry, the automatic notifications also boost regulatory compliance. This integrated system also lets chemical manufacturers create a complete equipment maintenance, repair and operations plan.

Figure: 1How an ERP System Helps Manage Hazardous Chemicals

How an ERP System Helps Manage Hazardous Chemicals

Systematic Record Maintenance

Many chemicals used by manufacturing companies require detailed labels. These labels include their chemical composition, risk factors, expiration dates, safety procedures and special handling instructions. Government agencies require a consolidated record listing the chemicals, their quantities, distribution, costs, etc.

Manually tracking the massive volume of data in legacy systems leads to errors. Microsoft Dynamics 365 with Integrated Chemical Management is one way to properly maintain that chemical data. Information is made visible at the individual chemical or consolidated level. Chemical companies are assured of safely using, distributing and disposing of their hazardous chemicals through an automated workflow that makes it easy to add and edit chemical data.

Meeting Compliance Standards

The ERP systems described earlier apply to regulations at many levels, not just those from the federal government. They can include notifications of additional requirements based on the shipping destination. That location can be one community within a nation or a different country.

Chemical companies looking for an ideal ERP solution that helps meet local and international documentation requirements should take a close look at what D365 and ICM have to offer.

According to the 2017 Hazard Communication Survey:

  • 70% of participants pointed to compliance as the single largest priority for their company.
  • 80% of them cited monthly obligations to create, print, or affix workplace labels to containers in their inventory as a challenge.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 and ICM provide an embedded chemical management solution for storing chemical data. That data becomes a globally harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) compliant labels and Safety data sheets. Using D365 and ICM is an ideal way to reduce GHS-related compliance issues.

Summary

An advanced ERP system like Microsoft’s D365 can easily become the backbone of an organization’s hazardous chemical record keeping. This sophisticated software system helps the company function and grow while also keeping the environment and communities safe. Microsoft’s Chemical Manufacturers Supply Chain solution provides a cutting-edge system to ease record maintenance, streamline the overall chemical supply chain, track inventory and warehouse management processes and create a platform for productivity and growth.

Key Takeaways

  • Integrating chemical data into an ERP system is necessary for chemical manufacturers to comply with rules and regulations from many sources.
  • Microsoft’s integrated ERP software working with ICM provides a smooth flow of records. It tracks hazardous chemicals, prints GHS labels and generates safety data sheets.
  • Chemical manufacturers concerned about worker safety, protecting the environment and avoiding government penalties will only benefit from the right ERP system.

Explore our Products page to learn about the different ERP Solutions available to jumpstart your evaluation process.

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

procurement in pharmaceutical industry

Reshaping Procurement within Pharmaceutical Supply Chain

Reshaping Procurement within Pharmaceutical Supply Chain 1500 800 Xcelpros Team

Procurement in the Pharmaceutical Industry

The procurement of raw materials in any pharmaceutical company is a source of inventory. An established method to improve visibility, track, and trace product quality is a must-have, regardless if it’s a manual, electronic, or a hybrid purchase-to-pay process. Procurement in the pharmaceutical industry is thoroughly scrutinized, and businesses have become more cautious of raw material and service spending. Many companies are evaluating different suppliers, who can fulfill their requirements at a lower cost, with attention to overall spending and quality requirements.

A robust supply chain management system is needed to:

  • manage on hand inventory, and
  • build a more reliable end-to-end pharmaceutical supply chain.

What are some considerations when revisiting purchasing functions?

This question shines a light on companies’ need to organize their purchasing process, include more visibility for senior management, and increase traceability of purchasing transactions for streamlining the procurement process. A comprehensive supply chain management solution with low-code and customizable workflows to modernize the pharmaceutical procurement process will be an incredibly valuable asset.

Figure: 1Checklists to Turn Your Supply Chain More Efficient

Checklists to Turn Your Supply Chain More Efficient

Businesses can benefit through a supply chain management system with advanced procurement processes to help accomplish the following objectives.

01.Ensure Compliance:

Failure in quality compliance can result in hefty penalties and may jeopardize customer trust, especially when activities, such as buying from approved vendors or segregation of duties between the buyer and invoicer, are compromised. Your procurement management system should provide the ability to perform required audits with controls, and enable only authorized users to perform their appropriate functions. Preferably, a pharmaceutical supply chain management system needs to be in full compliance with 21 CFR part 11.

02.Support Strategic Vision:

Successful life science companies focus on strategic planning and development to boost their bottom line. Any modern supply chain management system should help an organization achieve its strategic goals. Functions like a streamlined buying process are possible with spend analytics, derived from multiple dimensions of purchase transactions. Factors, such as the success rate of higher quality materials from approved suppliers, competitive pricing details, and gauging on time and in full payments from preferred suppliers, are a few key analytics that can help improve decision-making within the purchasing department of the organization to meet their goals.

03.Effective Supplier Relationship Management:

Long-lasting supplier relationships are crucial to procuring higher quality products at the lowest prices. Building a strong relationship with a familiar supplier is far more effective than continually switching vendors to lower costs. Frequently changing suppliers places an additional burden on the entire procurement ecosystem. Suppliers put a lot of effort into understanding your business’ needs over time, including feedback on the quality of raw materials purchased and the speed of shipments delivered, allowing them to make any necessary corrections to their processes. A supply chain management system that supports collaboration in such cases, helps integrate suppliers as partners to add value to the overall supply chain process.

Figure: 2Supplier Relationship Management

Supplier Relationship Management

04.Reduce Operational Costs:

Buyers or purchasing managers should be able to quickly analyze products offered by various suppliers spread across multiple geographical locations in order to secure the best pricing and reduce expenses.

The right kind of solution should eliminate wasteful spending—a critical factor in calculating the performance of any organization.

A detailed view of supplier insights can help make decisions while identifying the best supplier for various materials. Identifying solutions to balance the cost and quality of purchased materials, can help significantly reduce operational overhead without compromising on any KPIs of pharmaceutical procurement. Result-oriented companies in the life science industry should have a well-thought-out method in place to manage procurement functions, allowing them to maintain highly competitive prices without compromising the quality of a lot.

Figure: 3Better tools for modern supply chain management

Better tools for modern supply chain management

Book your free consultation to improving pharmaceutical supply chain procurement

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Improving Organizational Efficiency is Your Key Metric:

Streamlining procurement in the supply chain, as well as identifying all possible failure points in your workflows, can significantly improve your organizational efficiency and increase the overall performance of the business. Every organization requires the ability to identify areas of their business that need improvement. Enhancing procurement in the supply chain, directly affects the utilization of materials and labor appropriately without compromising quality or cost. Optimizing resource time and inventory management together, increases efficiency. A well-planned purchasing procedure will make it easier to show incremental results on crucial analytics, such as vendor performance and spending analysis.

The Ideal System

  • helps organizations streamline their pharmaceutical procurement process and get deep visibility into product inventory.
  • easily and quickly identifies product and service needs, and procure products, post receipts, invoices, and payments through included procurement and sourcing management modules.
  • defines purchasing policies and workflows to configure procurement processes that meet your business needs.
  • manages product catalogs and procurement channels based on demand and vendor pricing and capabilities.
  • defines spending limits to constrain requisition spending and the purchasing workflow.
  • protects the privacy of the business and its customers.

Procurement management 2.0—Revamping technology

Any advancement in market dynamics has a direct impact on the buyer’s journey. Because of this, the need for procurement department heads to play a more strategic and tech-enabled role increases significantly. Early life science procurement departments had only two primary objectives: cost reduction and risk mitigation. Now, digital technologies have revolutionized procurement in the supply chain in companies to expand focus into different areas, like efficiency, accessibility, sustainability, and metrics for generating better purchasing decisions.

In the five years immediately following the 2008 global financial crisis (GFC), total return to shareholders (TRS) for companies with top-quartile procurement capabilities was 42 percent higher than for companies whose procurement operations were in the bottom quartile.
Source: Mckinsey

To stay on top, companies must move past the traditional buyer mindset, and deliver value to businesses by keeping their procurement teams collaborative with their suppliers by internally driving productivity and increasing savings, and externally maintaining better supplier relationships, and reducing unnecessary supply chain risks.

As technology continues to advance, we will continue to see new applications giving new life to the pharmaceutical supply chain in order to promote business functions.

01.Cloud-Based Platforms:

Moving procurement to the Cloud enables life science organizations to operate with more agility and with benefits, including enhanced collaboration, security, and data privacy. A growing number of traditional enterprises are already embracing the Cloud’s capabilities to accelerate their businesses. Buyers can be a lot more agile at moving materials through the supply chain if they’re managing procurement functions on the Cloud. Embracing portals and well-defined workflows, allows better engagement with suppliers, allowing the acceleration of tasks like request for quotations (RfQs).

Gartner reports that the procurement industry has an anticipated growth of up to 3.2 billion dollars by the end of 2020, fueling the Cloud procurement sector.

02.Data Analytics:

Adopting an analytically driven approach might not be revolutionary, but it’s certainly an evolution for the pharmaceutical procurement management that we know today. The significant challenges that organizations face today are primarily related to a lack of visibility.

A survey by Deloitte Global CPO showed that analytics would play a significant part in shaping procurement in the supply chain over the next two years. According to the study, the respondents use analytics in different ways:

50%for Cost optimization

45% for Management reporting

48%for process improvement

As procurement departments’ spend vs quality goal is often to exceed expectations for their businesses, turning to integrated analytics can offer innovative solutions to enable efficient resolution of ongoing buyer challenges. For best results, these teams need analytics as a core function in their decision-making process instead of treating it like a checklist submission to management. With the right reporting and analytics, life science companies should have an easy preview of the quality of raw materials per supplier. Categorizing suppliers into the proper buckets, based on supplier evaluation criteria or consuming specific lots based on customer potency/quality requirements, helps make better purchasing decisions.

03.Enhancing Collaboration:

The previous decade has seen a relatively large shift in procurement-based technology, with solutions moving from on premises to completely collaborative Cloud platforms. The initial extension of legacy ERP software systems, which included purchasing modules in the 1990s, has now evolved to easily accessible systems with enhanced collaboration and procure-to-pay solutions.

As businesspeople start exploring the pharmaceutical procurement process further, the focus is moving to niche functions, like strategic sourcing, asset acquisition, and others. These standalone technological products did nothing to solve a significant challenge: collaboration. Integrated tools, such as Microsoft Flow integrated with Microsoft Teams, are providing seamless collaboration between buyers and suppliers.

04. Mobility

With the increasing population of millennials entering the workforce, the demand for mobile devices continues to steadily rise. Deloitte predicts that nearly 42 percent of companies invest in mobile phone technologies to support their procurement strategies, meaning mobile devices should now be considered an integral part of every procurement strategy going forward. With the help of the Cloud and mobile enabled services, companies can better manage their operations and analyze real-time functions and processes, leading to more proactive decision-making.

The Role of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management helps organizations streamline their procurement process and get deep visibility into product inventory by:

  • easily and quickly identifying product and service needs and procure products, post receipts, invoices, and payments through included procurement and sourcing management modules.
  • defining purchasing policies and workflows to configure procurement processes that meet your business needs.
  • managing product catalogs and procurement channels based on demand and vendor pricing and capabilities.
  • defining spending limits to constrain requisition spending and the purchasing workflow.

Figure 4 Optimize your supply chain with Dynamics 365

Optimize your supply chain with Dynamics 365

Key Takeaways

  • Modern pharmaceutical and life science companies have digitized their operations and processes within the procurement department to help streamline the buying process.
  • Advanced digital approaches, such as using Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management or automating the pharmaceutical procurement process, can help accomplish the goal of well-stabilized procure-to-pay cycles.
  • A revamp in the Microsoft ecosystem’s overall procurement process enables life science companies to identify and eliminate inefficient, time-intensive aspects.

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

supply chain disruption management

How to Manage Operations During Supply Chain Disruptions

How to Manage Operations During Supply Chain Disruptions 1920 1080 Xcelpros Team

Introduction

Even today, Covid-19 continues to disrupt every level in supply chains, across every industry around the world. The lasting effects on supply chains was unanticipated, especially concerning food and cleaning supplies. Manufacturers in those areas had an unexpected spike in demand that couldn’t be managed quickly.

The overall supply chain disruption caused many companies to start re-evaluating action plans. Areas being closely examined today include production capacity, cash flow and overall employee morale.

Let’s look at how businesses can leverage existing practices while pivoting to newer methods and meeting evolving customer needs.

Figure: 1Surviving the Supply Chain with a Digital and Analytical Backbone

Surviving the Supply Chain with a Digital and Analytical Backbone

Communication and Collaboration

The first quarter of 2020 brought new dynamics to manufacturers and distributors everywhere, faced with a challenge the likes of which have never been seen before. As market dynamics changed, internal communication became critical at every stakeholder level: management, employees, customers, suppliers and vendors. Creating a communication strategy that could work when people stopped meeting face to face became vital to avoid business breakdowns and shutdowns.

That was 2020. The lingering effects of Covid-19 are still impacting some companies’ technology roadmap plans. However, there are ways to drive innovation and growth. Regardless of industry, many organizations realize the importance of doing business from anywhere. That flexibility to work on the move is no longer a luxury: it is a necessity. Unconventional work schedules are becoming more common as companies adjust to meet customer expectations. Companies are engaging them with messaging and video call software such as Microsoft Teams. They use software such as Power Automate to deploy safety alert messages whenever the need arises.

Customer and vendor portals equipped with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management let companies collaborate, determine product access and make accurate forecasts without having to pick up the phone. Instead of days or weeks of delays, modern software helps firms resolve supply chain disruptions at a moment’s notice.

Manufacturers using Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management can integrate Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled devices and robots into their current operations. Using machine learning adds even more automation.

Connecting data and processes with Microsoft’s wide selection of products allows production and maintenance teams to schedule downtime when it has the least impact on production. Outlook messages and alerts let production staff stay on top of any possible repair issues.

Book a free assessment to know how to make your supply chain a resilient one.

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Agile decision making

Manufacturers must respond to the rapid changes in customer demands and delivery expectations. Having a robust system lets that happen.

Changes to your customers’ business demands can affect your supply chain. Having the ability to act quickly while still providing exceptional customer service is critical to future business success.

One way to prepare for these changes is by having internal cross-functional teams practice scenario planning. For example, they can plan what to do if a new Covid-19 variant appears and governments reinstate drastic safety measures.

Scenario planning lets your staff learn what to do when normal deliveries are delayed or rerouted, such as what happened when the Suez Canal was blocked for a week. It lets your staff examine past customer and supplier behaviors and come up with plans to minimize disruptions using what they learned.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management includes tools designed specifically for scenario planning. It helps companies adjust to unexpected changes in their supply chains. These tools include:

  • Drag and drop Gantt charts for production scheduling
  • 360 degree view into capacity, identifying bottlenecks in terms of people and resources
  • Adjusting safety stock to reflect real-time demands instead of fixed quantities
  • A vendor portal with approved suppliers listed in a supplier resource management database that includes purchase order controls
  • Visibility into warehouse operations for single and multi-site facilities
  • Transportation management
  • A customer portal with sales order management

Incorporating Data

Data in today’s operations is a moving target. Making decisions and providing insights with real-time information helps companies operate efficiently, letting them grow and scale at the right times. Identifying organizational segments that require optimizing, like the handoffs between operations and finance, can only occur when accurate information is available.

For example, the only way to truly analyze cash flow—to get a 360-degree view—is by looking at data within each division.

This is where a business analysis tool like Power BI becomes an essential part of the process. Power BI dashboards using predictive analytics in the Dynamics 365 environment automatically update with the latest data. These dashboards let companies monitor the status of multiple locations at once, saving time.

Tools such as Power BI let management share data, communicate and respond to changes in the market within minutes, not days.

Final thoughts

The coronavirus is the first disruption of its kind faced by this generation. Companies were caught unprepared, being forced to adjust almost instantly to upheavals in their supply chains. Having the right tools in place to deal with Reduced workforces internally and within the supply chain, pivoting production to new products and unprecedented customer product demand helps determine who flourishes and who fails.

With that in mind, it’s critical to consider implementing products from Microsoft’s family of partner solutions. Dynamics 365 and related products help companies predict and manage their operations transparently.

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