Supply chain

Importance of Data in Pharma Product Development

5 Reasons Why Data is Important for Developing Pharmaceutical Products

5 Reasons Why Data is Important for Developing Pharmaceutical Products 1200 600 Xcelpros Team

Introduction

Research and development (R&D) has always been the backbone of the pharmaceutical industry. In 2001, there were 1,198 pharmaceutical companies with active R&D pipelines, and in 2020, this figure spiked to 4,800. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, companies have doubled their efforts in creating new products. In fact, more than 17,700 drugs were recorded in the global R&D pipeline in 2020—and a lot of them made headlines.

The world got a glimpse of how complex and costly it is to create new drugs. Moreover, that also sparked an unprecedented wave of data sharing and access not just in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries, but in the IT sector as well. In fact, 96% of all companies will have hired a data specialist by 2022, according to “The Future of Jobs Report” by the World Economic Forum. This is why there has already been a huge uptick in the number of professionals pursuing data analytics careers, with worldwide big data revenue already predicted to have passed $203 billion.

In the pharmaceutical industry, multiple organizations came together to share and exchange data: Google Cloud provided researchers free access to critical information through its COVID-19 Public Dataset Program, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute offered government entities and researchers access to innovative AI tools and experts in data and public health.

Figure: 1Role of data in Pharmaceutical product development

Never before has data been so readily accessible and this has helped speed up the R&D efforts of many companies. In addition, data also helps the pharmaceutical products development in many other ways:

Improves research efficiency

Several companies were able to develop a COVID-19 vaccine in under a year—a record time—currently making it the fastest vaccine to ever be developed. It helped that pertinent data and information were exchanged freely between pharmaceutical companies, government agencies, and data analytics organizations.

Free-flowing data sharing, as seen during the pandemic response, makes the development of drugs easier as it cuts down several steps in the R&D process. And with the available information, researchers have a better understanding of the recipients of the product. This makes it possible for trials to acquire smaller sample sizes with higher accuracy, lower expenses, and in less time.

Creates precision medicine

Precision medicine is an approach to patient care that allows doctors to create diagnoses and treatments based on data on genetic make-up, environmental factors, and behavioral patterns. This approach allows companies to create personalized medicine for individuals’ genes and lifestyles. This data-driven approach also helps drug makers identify patients’ susceptibility to certain disorders, enhancing disorder detection. Since precision medicine has a higher probability of success compared to more conventional approaches, it also reduces trial costs.

One such example is Pfizer’s Xalkori (crizotinib), which they produced after combing through data from electronic medical records, clinical trials, and genomic data. They found that a small subset of lung cancer patients had a mutation in their ALK gene, and using this insight, they developed a personalized drug. “Had this compound been tested against a broad spectrum of lung cancer patients, it likely would not have been found to be effective. With this analytics-based approach, it was found to be very effective,” says Pfizer CIO Jeff Keisling.

Provides real-time analysis

It’s now possible to access real-time information—a feature that greatly benefits trials. With this, it’s easier to respond to issues in a timely manner, and create more accurate safety measures for trial participants, all leading to higher success rates from the R&D standpoint. Additionally, data can now be collected from real-world information such as health records, insurance claims, and even social media. This provides drug makers with evidence on how medicines work in an uncontrolled setting and across a wider demographic. This lets them make adjustments and improvements to the drugs.

Major pharmaceutical companies now have dedicated teams collecting data from studies and trials across different diseases. Their analysis of this information helps them formulate their drugs to be more potent and effective while combating the rising costs of traditional clinical trials and parallel development programs.

30%

of life science organizations will have achieved data excellence, or the concept of effectively using the right data at the right time, by 2022.

Source: IDC Health Insights prediction

Simplify production plans

After developing a product, it needs to be mass-produced and distributed. You need to know the appropriate targets for the best ROI. With the right data, companies are able to create a more solid production plan, reduce labor costs, eliminate waste, decrease the need for excessive inventories, and optimize equipment usage. This ease of production will only increase in the future both within the healthcare industry and companies connected to it. And with the pharmaceutical industry predicted to grow to $1.57 trillion in value, the role of data in streaming lining production processes will only increase.

Smoother supply chains

50%

of pharmaceutical and biotech companies will be using prescriptive data analytics with IoT data to optimize their supply chain.

Source: Worldwide Health Industry 2020 Predictions report

Today’s pharma companies are breaking away from traditional practices and are embracing digital transformation and pharmaceutical data analysis on a much bigger scale. This move allows them to understand and cater to the needs of both their customers and stakeholders, as we mentioned in our previous write-up on the ways to enhance customer experience. Using data analytics, you can improve your supply chain efficiency by easily validating data, detecting anomalies, benchmarking operations, and accessing mobile and logistic reports.

Moreover, data analytics for pharma development offers real-time route optimization and improved inventory management, freeing up man-hours which otherwise would’ve been spent tracking and monitoring business operations.

The use of data in developing pharmaceutical products is very beneficial, it helps prevent health issues and strengthen the patient care sector.

Article specially written for xcelpros.com By Nina Ross

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About XcelPros

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

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

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

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

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supply chain challenges in chemical industry

Best solutions for Logistics and Transportation Challenges in the chemical industry

Best solutions for Logistics and Transportation Challenges in the chemical industry 1350 650 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

  • Chemical companies are reeling under a two-edged crisis- unprecedented fall in the price of crude oil and the upheaval brought in the global supply chain because of Covid-19.
  • Chemical companies have also faced issues like increased freight costs, excessive demand for chemical sanitizers, and changing government regulations across different geographies.
  • Mitigating costs, managing inventories, avoiding bottlenecks and rising to the challenges would be some of the top-most priorities of the executives managing chemical transportation and logistics.

Global supply chains have seen direct and ripple effects of the coronavirus or Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic has caused operational upheavals and seen acute disturbances in logistics due to shortage of chemical raw material. Adapting to volatile market conditions in the face of a challenge shows the company’s ability to sustain growth. Determination, planning and willingness to adapt to changes are expected from the rapidly growing chemical companies.

To aid with their business continuity plans, chemical companies need to continue to reinvent their operational processes, inventory management strategies and transportation management. Supply chain challenges in the chemical industry are inevitable as every country responds differently to health and economic crises. A crisis changes the way you manage inventory, raw material procurement, monitor demand for certain chemicals, workforce procedures, freight costs, etc.

23%

of the USA’s chemical companies considered supply chain disruptions due to the coronavirus pandemic as their major concern for the coming future.

Source: PWC

Many comprehensive software applications have been developed to provide concrete solutions to mitigate the issues related to supply chain disruptions. The Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management has been cited as the best software for supply chain management and a complete solution for distribution and logistics. In the current company, here are the four primary concerns that chemical companies are facing when it comes to managing transportation and logistics:

1.Moving to Road and Railways: Transportation and logistics in the chemical industry have been heavily dependent on airways and waterways in bigger countries and across international borders. However, the increased safety concerns and inflated costs make chemical companies shift to the transportation of raw material and final products through roads and railways. The change in mode of transportation directly impacts the landing cost of the product. Inability to track accurate landing costs, end-to-end transportation tracking and scheduling are some major pain points in a chemical company.

2.On-time Delivery of Raw Material: There is a sudden and unexpected disparity in the demand for different chemicals. Demand for chemical surface cleaners, sanitizers has increased several folds across the globe (and understandably so), however majority of challenges are related to on-time delivery of material. Unpredictable transportation lead times and inability to deliver these raw materials is a big pain point in providing accurate receipt dates.

Figure: 1 High-level Disruptions in Chemical Transportation due to Covid-19 Pandemic

Transportation Management Process Flow in Dynamics 365

3.Transportation Planning and Inventory Management: A supply chain can run smoothly only when the inventories are managed well. Given the current times, chemical companies need to align their requirements and logistical arrangements with the availability of products in their respective inventories. This requires top-to-bottom visibility and high-level decision making to approve faster changes in material requirements. A major roadblock is related inefficient transportation planning to minimize delays.

4.Increased Freight Cost and Changing Regulations: With change in modes of transportation, and disruption of demand and supply pattern of chemicals worldwide, freight cost shot up by several times. Chemical companies have to deal with higher freight costs along with issues in logistics and supply chain management.

Despite all these pain points, chemical companies can reinvent their transportation and logistics operations to rise to the occasion. Here are certain measures that chemical companies can take to streamline their distribution demands:

  • Assessing the requirement based on geographies and allocating warehouses to meet those demands.
  • Labeling, stocking and categorizing chemical stock based on order priority and making them easily available for transportation.
  • Making use of serialization and bulk containers with barcodes for optimal supply and efficient tracking.
  • Appointing a special task force to manage transportation and logistics changes to optimize the supply chain and provide the single-point contact/ visibility option to all the stakeholders involved.

How Can Your Chemical Company Optimize Transportation and Logistics Operations Using Microsoft Dynamics

Microsoft Dynamics 365 provides the right features for a chemical company to manage operations, inventory and transportation. Once you get the view of your company’s transportation and chemical supply chain management in Microsoft Dynamics 365, you will be able to plan and implement optimization strategies for chemical transportation and logistics.

The information about chemicals are required to be maintained and tracked under high-level categories. Also, labeling batches, mentioning hazardous substances, barcoding containers and mentioning chemical properties is part of any chemical company’s logistics plan in Microsoft Dynamics 365 in conjunction with integrated chemical management.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 allows for complete inventory visibility through its Distributed Order Management (DOM) indicator. This allows all the stakeholders to stay on top of things, avoid bottle-necks or stock-outs during these unprecedented times.

The chemical companies can benefit from the comprehensive Transportation Management module in Dynamics 365. The module is loaded with features that can let you manage your transportation and logistics while also letting you identify vendor and routing solutions for inbound and outbound orders. In these times of extreme price inflations and changing market dynamics, this module helps your chemical company cut operational costs in logistics by effectively planning inbound and outbound transportation. The highly advanced business intelligence built in the Dynamics 365 Transportation Management module helps chemical companies identify the best-priced and most efficient carriers. Through this module, you can get real-time visibility of the entire order at all times.

Here are some of the most impactful benefits of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Transportation Management module for chemical companies:

  • Warehouse Management Efficiency
  • Enhanced Delivery Capabilities
  • Inventory Reductions
  • Real-time Supply Chain Visibility
  • Effective Customer Service
  • Set up Ad-hoc Cycle Counting Thresholds and Cycle Count Locations
  • Pre-schedule Route Planning for Efficient Transportation
  • Availability of Multi-packing Slips in Load Planning
  • Skip Trivial Freight Reconciliation Process

Every chemical company has a different shop-floor operation and needs customized production operations plans for kits and packaging (for transportation). This option is easily accessible with Microsoft Dynamics 365.

Companies can manage lot tracking, tracing of chemicals, route mapping, resource availability, and freight cost management. The system provides the option of generating individual or batch invoices.

The Transportation Management module in Dynamics 365 follows a well-vetted process flow that is dynamic and customizable, based on your transportation requirements.

Figure: 2Transportation Management Process Flow in Dynamics 365

High-level Disruptions in Chemical Transportation due to Pandemic

While it is true that the world is witnessing changes in the chemical supply chain and transportation due to the Covid-19 pandemic, companies can rise to the occasion with resilience, optimal use of resources and a systematic approach towards change in processes. There is a need for continuous innovation to stay ahead of the chemical companies’ curve to continue operations during this ‘new normal’.

Key Takeaways

  • Transportation and logistics of chemical companies are facing the ripple effects of disruption in global supply chain caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
  • While there are many challenges, chemical companies will need to reinvent their transportation management with the help of intelligent applications like Microsoft Dynamics 365. Once operations and processes are efficient, chemical companies can improve their transportation planning to ensure on-time delivery.

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About XcelPros

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

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

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

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

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

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

The global disruption caused by COVID-19 has proven to affect every level within the supply chain and across every industry. The supply chain disruption was unanticipated, especially concerning food and products related to cleaning supplies. Manufacturers had an unexpected spike in demand that couldn’t be managed very quickly.

Many companies have taken new ways to strategize the move forward. Re-evaluating plans of actions as it relates to production capacity, cash flow and overall employee morale. This article will look at a few ways businesses can leverage existing practices while pivoting to newer methods to meet evolving needs of customer demands.

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

Communication and Collaboration

The first quarter of 2020 brought new dynamics to manufacturers and distributors. They are faced with a challenge, unlike any other, that affects everything and every person somehow. As market dynamics have changed, communication at every level is vital for companies. You need to consider all the stakeholders within your organization (employees-customers-suppliers), and formulate a communication strategy to avoid business breakdowns.

While COVID-19 may have deterred your technology roadmap plans short term, there are still ways to drive innovation and growth. We have seen that the flexibility to do business from anywhere is now essential. Companies have adjusted to unconventional work schedules. They need to meet customer expectations, engage through messaging and video calls (Microsoft Teams), or deploy safety alert messages with (Power Automate) will more than likely be here to stay.

Customer and Vendor portals with Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Supply Chain allow visibility for companies to collaborate with specific access to the availability and forecast of their products without having to pick up the phone. Any issues can be resolved or prepared for within a moment’s notice resulting in better supply chain disruption management.

For an advanced manufacturing experience, Dynamics 365 for Supply Chain offers options for integrating IoT, Machine Learning and bots into your current operations. Connecting data and processes with the Microsoft ecosystem of products you probably already have in place will allow your production and maintenance teams to schedule downtime and alert personnel to any machine inconsistencies that may require repair with Outlook messaging and alerts.

Agile decision making

Customer demands and delivery expectations drive the need for a more robust process to respond to the rapid changes in the market. A few factors to consider are that your customer base and its supply chain may be affected and if their business demands change, so may yours. Having the ability to act quickly while still keeping in mind the customer experience is still critical to future business success.

By now, many of your cross-functional teams have undertaken the task of scenario planning. Current forecasting schedules have proven themselves less useful for the last six to eight weeks. This planning considers several factors: remote work, social distancing safety practices, a hybrid of past customer and supplier behaviors. Dynamics 365 for Supply Chain has been enhanced with several tool designs specifically for scenario planning required during unexpected changes in the supply chain.

  • Drag and drop Gantt charts for production scheduling.
  • 360 degree view into capacity and identify bottlenecks (people and resources).
  • Safety stock based on real-time demands instead of a fixed quantity.
  • Vendor Portal with approved suppliers database with SRM functionality and PO management.
  • Visibility into Warehouse Operation(single and multi-site).
  • Transportation Management.
  • Customer Portal with sales order management.

It is safe to say that any organization is faced with agile planning when the answer will not be 100% correct. However, having the systems and processes to manage such situations will allow the opportunity to weigh the risk of supply chain disruptions and act accordingly to reduce it.

Incorporating Data

Data in today’s operations is a moving target. Making decisions with real-time information and providing insights into the ability to grow and scale will help the differentiator move forward to operate efficiently. Identifying the organization segments that require optimizing, like the handoffs between operations and finance, will require that the correct data is available.

Company executives for the foreseeable future will be analyzing cash flow and the only way to get that 360-degree view will be through data generated within each division of the business. This is where a business analytic tool like Power BI will become an essential part of the process. Power BI dashboards using predictive analytics setup within the Dynamics 365 environment are updated with the organization’s latest data. For companies monitoring the status of multiple locations having that dashboard will save a tremendous amount of time. Management can share data, communicate and respond to changes in the market within minutes, not days.

Final thoughts

Regardless of the industry, we have been affected by coronavirus. It is the first disruption of its kind for this entire generation. Companies without notice have had to adjust almost instantaneously hundreds of moving parts. As manufacturing companies deal with absenteeism ( internally and within the supply chain), pivoting production and unprecedented customer product demand, having the right tools in place will prove to be the differentiator.

The Microsoft ecosystem has evolved to be the partner solution, providing the necessary transparency with all stakeholders while offering the consistency in product and familiarity that your employees have come to know.

Book A Free Consultation For All Your Supply Chain Needs

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About XcelPros

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

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

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

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

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

pharmaceutical supply chain best practices

How technology helps in optimizing the Pharmaceutical supply chain

How technology helps in optimizing the Pharmaceutical supply chain 1500 844 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

  • The Pharmaceutical industry has witnessed exponential growth during the past decade, and pharma revenues worldwide totaled 1.25 trillion U.S. dollars in 2019 – Per Statista.
    This growth rate automatically created a need to boost supply chain visibility and inventory traceability.
  • Regulatory measures put forth by the government or agencies such as the FDA can create unforeseen challenges for Pharma companies.
  • Leveraging technology’s power and identifying solutions for Pharma to streamline operations can effectively boost your bottom-line and help in better quality control while meeting both regulations and market demands together.

Understanding the Pain Points

The inability to adapt to technological advancements and rapidly changing regulatory landscape makes managing pharmaceutical supply chains quite a tough pill to swallow. Successful pharmaceutical companies leverage the power of IT to streamline their supply chain operations.

Figure 1: Pain Points in Pharmaceutical Industry

The pharma industry has established itself as one of the fastest-growing industries in the past few decades, with a significant share of its investments in research, marketing, manufacturing, and development of its products.

In the present scenario, the table seems to be turning. The industry is struggling to keep pace with rapidly changing regulations and dealing with challenges such as:

  • Keeping up with the growing competition due to faster technological advances
  • The rapid development of new products to handle growing health concerns.
  • Healthcare providers and government reforms putting downward pressure on product prices of the industry.
  • Full traceability of the product pipeline to be on par with requirements like quality compliance, serialization mandate, and the rise of counterfeited drugs.
  • Issues related to delivering products to the market.

The above challenges highlight the importance of comprehensive solutions that help Pharma companies progress and overcome various hurdles in shipping products to customers.

Collaboration Within the Pharma Value Chain

To keep up with the growing list of challenges, Pharma companies are increasingly relying on third parties like CROs, CMOs, 3PLs to manage the following:

  • outsource research & development.
  • manufacturing of intermediates.
  • 3rd party logistics for warehouse and inventory management.
  • quality control testing.
  • shipping and distribution of products.

While this is beneficial for Pharmaceutical companies, it comes with its complexities, including the remote location of different departments, inventory, and testers. How do you run a pharmaceutical supply chain effectively when all the departments are functioning from other locations? How would you effectively manage workflows that involve the exchange of information with outsourced parties on multiple tiers of your supply?

A report by FDA showed that over 60% of the shortages in 2019 were attributed to supply disruptions due to manufacturing or quality issues.

Following are a few benefits for Pharma companies to be technology-centric:

  • Real-time & end-to-end supply chain visibility.
  • Collaboration with the Pharma value chain.
  • Optimized inventories with least stock out situations.
  • Higher margins through smarter channel allocations for an increasing share in the market.
  • Improved customer experience.
  • Visual analytics and reporting.

Digitize the Pharma Supply Chain

Companies require well-streamlined processes and collaboration using agile software solutions for Pharma that provide significant cost savings and flexibility. Technology for Pharmaceutical industry can be a helping hand to optimize the supply chains. Advanced Solutions for Pharma increase inventory visibility and lot traceability across your supply chain, ultimately improving the overall product quality. Post COVID-19, embracing technology as a growth enabler has become the need of the hour for the pharma industry.

Following the path of other industries like hi-tech and consumer goods, the Pharma companies also need to focus on these five initiatives:

01.Connecting and collaborating using a working business network

A digital business network sets the foundation of a multi-enterprise supply chain, where all departments are interconnected on the cloud, ensuring seamless information flow and collaboration. Unlike the outdated model based on point-to-point connections, this multi-tier network is much advanced and helps end-users stay in sync with counterparts and move quickly through the process. The ability to collaborate enables end-to-end visibility and collaboration – the two critical factors that support smooth business interactions among different business partners involved in the value chain. Seamless integration helps you get real-time visibility and coordination in your entire extended supply chain, including multiple partners.

Figure 2: Process of Temperature Control

For example, there can be immense damage caused to vaccines due to the drop in temperature in the storage areas while being transported from one place to another. Real-time data tracking can help with adequate temperature controls by notifying when the temperatures are above or below the desired levels.

02.Estimating true demand

Demand predictions are just well-painted guesses of how much percentage of the population would require a particular product in the future. Most innovative pharmaceutical companies are now following demand forecasting as per consumer product companies for their OTC products. They do this by capturing massive volumes of demand related data and feeding it into sophisticated demand planning software, which helps them predict demand effectively. The data or demand forecasts captured are shared with all supply chain partners, ensuring the pharma companies, suppliers, and CMOs align with the arrangement. Estimating actual demand helps them to bring significantly higher on-shelf availability and lowers the inventory.

03.Control quality for CMOs

Pharmaceutical companies need to ensure end-to-end traceability. How do they keep track of their pharmaceutical manufacturing supply chain when a CMO is involved? Having visibility into partner’s manufacturing operations and tracking product quality across the multi-tier system is essential for pharma companies. The real-time visibility can be done by connecting CMOs to your Manufacturing Execution Systems. A manufacturing execution system helps capture relevant data at all production stages, providing granular visibility into plant operations. Pharma companies will effectively track material flows, lot genealogy, processing steps, and associated parameters, such as yields or test results – critical information to ensure traceability. Quality control is of optimal importance for any serialization initiative within Pharmaceutical companies.

04.Faster planning across the network

Another essential requirement for companies is to detect and respond to changes in supply and demand faster. With largely connected systems and expanding business networks, companies have a clear, end-to-end visibility of the supply chain in the Pharma company and not just in-house operations; this includes expected lead times on inventory from a contract manufacturer or raw material supplier. However, traditional planning systems can impact your decision-making capabilities required to manage inventory shortages and suggest alternative purchase/ manufacturing scenarios. Advanced planning tools allow rapid evaluation of new buy-sell signals and easily recommend purchases from secondary vendors or alternate manufacturing routes. This new plan can then be shared with all the supply chain partners within the value chain through collaboration portals, tools, so forth.

05.Manage distribution

Pharma companies are increasingly relying on third parties for transportation, warehousing, and other value-added services. Ensuring product availability implies proper management of distribution partners. For downstream visibility, inventory management coupled with sophisticated stock strategies are needed. Proactive pharma supply chain management helps all products be delivered to the right customers to increase your sell-metric, which is critical when competing in the market.

Pharma companies will customize supply chains to suit the product types being transported – data will play a key role in enabling this vision.-PWC Pharma 2020: Supplying the future

Key Takeaways

  • The expectation of better customer experience is the same across all industries and progressive Lifesciences companies understand the need to embrace digital for Pharma.
  • More Pharma companies are continually evaluating ways to address supply chain challenges to meet customer’s needs ultimately.
  • A cloud-based agile technology network to increase visibility in the supply chain and keep all functions connected for better collaboration can boost your profits and increase growth potential.

As Dynamics 365 ERP experts, we recommend taking a test drive of the solution. Email us at contact@xcelpros.com for a demo. For our product list, please Click here.

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About XcelPros

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

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

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

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

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

Manufacturing Metrics and KPIs That Matter the Most

Manufacturing Metrics and KPIs That Matter the Most

Manufacturing Metrics and KPIs That Matter the Most 1440 810 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

  • The manufacturing industry runs with the integration of people, tools, processes, and information. The data generated from each of this facet needs to be quantified and analyzed.
  • In the manufacturing world, those who know their metrics tend to learn the tricks of the game.
  • The metrics that matter the most are the ones that help you and your manufacturing company gain essential insights regarding different functionalities and business areas to improve the manufacturing process continuously.
  • One of the most crucial aspects of knowing and managing manufacturing metrics is being systematic and optimizing the best results.

In any business, it is essential to know and understand your numbers. While this may sound simple, we all know that it is far from that! The numbers or metrics need to be collated, classified, quantified, and analyzed to add value to the business, especially for a multi-pronged industry like manufacturing. The manufacturing metrics are diverse, and each metric has a different value in the entire manufacturing value chain. The cumulative analytics study of a group of these metrics helps the manufacturing companies gauge their performance and form strategies for continuous improvements.

Figure 1:Cycle of Continuous Improvement Methodology

As a manufacturing company, you aim to achieve a higher ROI by a thorough analysis of manufacturing metrics and aligning them with your short-term and long-term business goals. Each of these metrics can serve as the source of truth as it represents a precise measurement of your manufacturing processes either in terms of quality or quantity (and sometimes, both). So, let us take a look at the manufacturing metrics that matter the most and how you can fortify your IT infrastructure to study and derive insights from these metrics.

1.Forecasting of Demand:Market research helps companies gain ideas to make estimates about demand forecasting. Manufacturers’ objective is to gauge the amount and type of raw material they will need for their upcoming business cycle. Planning, supply chain management, and operational alignment can significantly benefit with the help of this metric. It is essential to keep in mind that demands foreshadowing is dependent on external factors and, thus, subject to sudden changes. Take, for example, the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Many manufacturers found that their yearly estimate had taken a hit (especially sectors like automobile and luxury consumer goods). On the other hand, the demand for medical equipment and hygiene products increased by several folds all over the world. In such a disruptive scenario, manufacturing companies can benefit from a robust enterprise resource planning system such as the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations that seamlessly enables change management, demand analysis, and order management.

2.Throughput/ Yield in Terms of Units Produced:A manufacturing company’s business efficiency is directly proportional to its yield. Throughput is a metric that measures the average number of units produced in a particular amount of time (other coefficients being per machine, per production line, or facility). The correct yield information helps manufacturers gauge their performances accurately, address bottlenecks, and design plans for improvements.

63%

of manufacturing executives plan to get more out of what they already have invested within their manufacturing and supply chain network.

Source: Accenture

3.Inventory Turnover:An inventory is the mirror of a manufacturing companies’ performance- after all, knowing how many times an inventory is sold or used up in a particular timeframe is the measure of knowing its success in the market. Thus decision-makers in the manufacturing industry need to analyze the turnover data of their inventories. To expedite the analysis and avoid data mismanagement, manufacturers can invest in an automated ERP system that can track the inventory data in real-time and facilitate seamless coordination between multiple stakeholders.

4.Quality Analysis:The quality of your product is the final truth. Thus, it is essential to know your quality metrics- this includes monitoring and documenting raw material quality, supplier’s quality incoming, random quality checks at manufacturing plants, and packaging quality, so forth.

5.Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE): Be it single equipment or the entire production line, knowing effectiveness is essential to attain timely yield that matches the quality and quantity requirements. This metric is recognized by the manufacturing industry worldwide as one the most important to assess agility, downtime, and overall production quality.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP and BI Helps in Tracking and Management of Your Quality Metrics in Manufacturing

The metrics above and many others in manufacturing come in the form of humongous amounts of data generated through multiple sources and are subject to many changes. So how does one democratize this data? By creating a data pool, the answer is a single source of truth for multiple manufacturing metrics that can help companies track, manage, and analyze the data against their KPIs.

Figure 2:Role of Sophisticated ERP in Managing Manufacturing

Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP and BI essentially optimize your IT infrastructure to systematically allow real-time data access, multi-level visibility, and artificial intelligence-backed insight generation. You can visualize and track your manufacturing metrics’ progress and get a cumulative progress cognizance of your production line.

For every manufacturing company, metrics are the quintessential sources of truth. However, how you view these metrics, how accurate your information is, and how you leverage it will decide your manufacturing company’s success.

Key Takeaways:

  • Every company needs to reinvent its best practices with the help of manufacturing metrics for a profitable business.
  • Investing in a fortified IT infrastructure to track and manage manufacturing metrics is the need of the hour for manufacturing companies.

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About XcelPros

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

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

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

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

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

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 has become the need of the hour, and it is much more than just applying barcodes to personalized medicines.
  • This age of fast-paced digitization calls for modifications and improvements in the serialization techniques. To better strengthen the supply chain loopholes need to be identified and transparency to be maintained not just at the batch level, but for each strip or bottle of the drug.
  • Pharmaceutical companies and their supply chain vendors will need to make use of Advanced Analytics, Cloud, and Internet of Things (IoT) to get a grip on the modern-day serialization techniques.

Traceability being a mandate globally, and the laws changing across borders, major pharmaceutical companies are working towards improving the tracking and tracing process in the supply chain for better compliance. To that effect, pharmaceutical companies are developing and implementing serialization techniques. Supply chain security, counterfeiting drug theft, better product traceability, mitigation of drug contaminations, and overall cost-savings are different facets that are considered.

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

The need for serialization is no longer restricted to global mandates compliance but accounted for various other factors. Over the years, pharmaceutical companies have struggled to maintain transparency, accountability, and integrity in the supply chain. The product lifecycle from manufacturer to supplier, distributor, and ultimately the consumer has had various loopholes at different levels – package damage, drug theft, manual errors, and so on. To seal these gaps and improve overall supply chain, serialization is proving to be a useful technique even surpassing the shortcomings of other solutions such as sturdy packaging and traceable 3D hologram models.

FIGURE 1: Common Loopholes in the Pharmaceutical Supply Chain

Innovation is the key to improving trace and track in any supply chain model, and the pharmaceutical supply chain is no exception to this. Companies worldwide are investing millions of dollars in maintaining the integrity of their product throughout its lifecycle from the lab to the patient. To overcome manipulation in product quality and quantity, assigning either a unique identification number or a barcode to the individual items (such as a strip of tablets of a bottle of medicine) for computerized serialization and tracking proves to be a fortified supply chain solution.

This article discusses the newer innovations and latest trends in serialization in the pharmaceutical supply chain.

01.Data Encryption and Data Security

The primary aim of pharmaceutical supply chain serialization is to make sure that the ultimate consumer gets the right drug at the right price. At the same time, companies can easily trace and track their products. This calls for stringent data management and security. The inefficiencies are arising in life sciences companies’ supply chain due to data errors or data leakage causing massive financial debt.

According to Interactive Data Corporation (IDC), the pharmaceutical industry loses on average 4.5% of its potential revenue because of supply chain inefficiencies.

The upcoming trend in serialization will place extra emphasis on data encryption to maintain security and thus the integrity of the product throughout its lifecycle.

02.Recalling Made Possible for Individual Product

The pharmaceutical industry is highly susceptible to product recalls in cases of insufficient packaging or a risk-inducing drug. Earlier, these recalls were made at batch-levels, causing companies massive revenue leakage and disturbing the supply chain on a larger scale. Narrowing down traceability to the individual unit makes it possible for companies to in-turn, narrow down the recalls to different products. Serialization also allows in knowing exactly when and where the product quality was compromised.

FIGURE 2: Serialization to Improve Track and Trace

03.Use of Advanced Analytics

The life sciences companies and their collaborative research branches are looking to better gauge the consumer pattern to cater better to the demands. The use of advanced analytics applications like Microsoft Power BI for visualized, cutting-edge business intelligence reports for serialization will help in learning this pattern. Power BI can enable the end-users in creating their customized dashboards, thus helping with predictive analysis. This can also help in preempting the demand for a particular drug so that pharmaceutical manufacturers can alter their supply chain accordingly to meet the requirements.

04.Enhanced Visibility at Every Level of Pharmaceutical Supply Chain

Apart from ensuring better accountability and compliance, companies are also making use of serialization to enhance visibility and improve monitoring at every level of the pharmaceutical supply chain. This will aid in avoiding stock-outs, monitoring packaging, improving the distribution process, and making sure that the drug is supplied per requirement across the market.

05.Barcoding & Labeling

This time-tested method is one of the most-used for a reason- it makes serialization a lot more streamlined and can help in advanced tracking. The latest digital barcoding techniques and advanced label-making capabilities can help the pharmaceutical industry in taking serialization in the supply chain, a level up.

10%

of the global pharma drug supply is counterfeit, which costs up to $200 billion annually. Additionally, the Interpol calculation reveals that this volume of counterfeit drugs takes a toll of 1 million people every year.

Source: WHO

How will Serialization Impact the Face of Pharmaceutical Companies in the Near Future?

  • Globally various countries like the USA, UK, Italy, Turkey, and India have taken up serialization of their pharmaceutical supply chain to some extent or the other. Speaking specifically of the United States, serialization of all the drugs at the sealable unit and case level has become a mandate since November of 2017 under the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA). This will impact the pharmaceutical companies and their supply chain vendors in the following ways:
  • In the near future, manufacturers will need to serialize all their drugs at an individual level with barcodes for better track and trace.
  • There will also be a change in the ways in which manufacturers supply their drugs. Thanks to serialization, they will get better visibility of the market, down to individual drug demand. This will help in better drug distribution.
  • Warehouses and inventories will be equipped with better visibility and a fortified drug distribution plan.
  • There will be a better understanding and communication among cross-functional teams. As serialization has an inflow and outflow of information at the production-floor level and at inventory-level, life sciences researchers, packaging personnel, IT experts, and distributors will all be on the same page with regards to the data available for a particular drug.

Challenges in Serialization Faced by Pharmaceutical Companies

Like any other change across the supply chain, serialization has its own set of challenges for the pharmaceutical companies. Here is a look into some of the potential challenging areas when it comes to implementing serialization:

  • Hardware Setup and Updates: Companies will need to make sure they have highly functioning hardware to manufacture labels, barcodes, and seals that are essential for serialization.
  • Steady Flow of the Production Line: Sticking to the process of serialization and making your skill base acquainted with this process might slow down the production line. The use of labels for individual units will also significantly slow down the packaging process.
  • Overall Cost Inflation: Cost inflation is a given when it comes to serialization, given the costs involved in hardware and software. However, this can be negated via pooled-investments and sustainable applications of the hardware and software.
  • Skilled Personnel Shortage: Newer, digitized ways of serialization would require a skill base that is well acquainted with the technicalities and details of these techniques. Currently, companies are facing a lack of a skilled employee base that is technically sound enough to implement their serialization strategies seamlessly.
  • Technical Glitches: Serialization is a process that requires minimal human intervention, and while that can be beneficial to avoid manual error, there is also a possibility of technical glitches in the process leading to incorrect tagging and compromised track and trace.

Key Benefits of Serialization Implementation in Operations:

  • End-to-end implementation across the supply chain for drugs in a hassle-free way
  • Seamlessly sealing the supply chain loopholes to combat drug counterfeiting and warehouse packaging glitches
  • Minimal human intervention needed, making serialization a full-proof, effective way to ensure brand authenticity and mitigate batch recalls
  • Total compliance with the US traceability regulation.

With all the challenges and benefits in mind, every pharmaceutical company will need to keep working towards an advanced, digitally-adept, full-proof serialization process for their supply chain to counterfeit the proliferation of drugs and avoid compromising with drug quality.

Key Takeaways

  • Serialization in pharmaceutical supply chain plays a significant role in avoiding drug theft, counterfeiting, batch recall and plausible hazard to the patient’s health; Newer trends in serialization are making use of advanced analytics for better drug distribution and fewer stock-outs.
  • No two pharmaceutical companies will have the same blueprint for their supply chain, and thus they will need to devise unique serialization processes to suit their requirements.
  • As the serialization of drugs has become a mandate in the USA, it is imperative for pharmaceutical companies and their supply chain vendors to understand and master the technical details of implementing serialization at batch and case levels.
  • The pharmaceutical companies will need to prepare themselves to overcome the potential challenges in implementing adept serialization to fortify their supply chain and enhance visibility for better drug track and trace.

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

Get Started Now

About XcelPros

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

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

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

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

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

Strenghtening Supply Chain Capablities

Strengthening Supply Chain Capabilities

Strengthening Supply Chain Capabilities 1440 810 Xcelpros Team

How Strong is Your Supply Chain?

Over the past two decades, many manufacturing operations have moved offshore to maintain lower operational costs across numerous industries. No one could have guessed that there would be a pandemic at the start of the year that would bring a large number of businesses and operations around the world to a grinding halt. The past few months highlighted gaps in various supply chains across the globe. Many companies that had pivoted operations found themselves scrambling to get their hands on materials needed to meet rapidly rising demands. Several factors would tie to the lack of availability, including any number of breakdowns in third-party suppliers’ supply chain, whether domestic or international.

For critical industries, not getting the materials they need can be catastrophic, but what is a vital sector?

What is a Critical Industry?

In 2001 immediately following the 9/11 attack on the United States, the USA Patriot Act was created to identify critical industry infrastructure and update essential workers’ designation. According to the USA Patriot Act, ‘Critical infrastructure’ is defined as “systems and assets, whether physical or virtual, so vital to the United States that the incapacity or destruction of such systems and assets would have a debilitating impact on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination of those matters” (USA Patriot Act of 2001 (42 U.S.C. §5195c(e)).

Critical Infrastructure is identified as functions that are essential for the functioning of a society and economy. Since then, the National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP) identifies Critical Infrastructure Industries according to a list of 16 specific industries identified as essential to keep our country and economy moving.

Industries that are part of the list:

  • 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, primarily when critical operations rely on getting raw materials in the door and finished products to customers on time. Without added cost, it is essential in the day-to-day operations. The impact of COVID-19 on supply chains around the world has taught us of a few things these past few months:

  • Raw material supplier relationships are essential.
  • There are massive constraints that exist within our transportation industry.
  • Security within the supply chain can cause unexpected challenges.

According to the Information and Communications Technology’s (ICT) Supply Chain Risk Management program, it is essential to know your immediate supply chain and an extended supply chain that may not have direct access to third party suppliers like their customer base. It’s common for products that were once in excess supply to be depleted as multiple sources procure the same item. This is where a good supplier relationship could mean the difference between getting access to a product or having to wait until more materials are produced.

Another aspect to consider is that while our guard may be down as we concentrate on keeping operations moving, things like data breaches are rising. According to the Risk Ledger Report, third-party app developers, payment processors, and remote worker infrastructure are among the top security threats currently on the radar of organizations.

Figure: 1Functions enabling modern supply chain management

 

There are Ways to Stay Ahead

Thankfully, there are solutions out there to help companies stay competitive. The latest version of Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Supply Chain Management, introduced in October of 2019, includes several features for building strong supplier relationships and minimizing risks.

Some of the more powerful features designed to help include

  • A Role-based Vendor Collaboration Portal
    Members of the procurement team can post and respond to Requests for Quotations(RFQ) and edit necessary company information. Companies and suppliers have access also to confirm, maintain, reject, and accept purchase orders.
  • Purchase Inquiry Options
    Available outside of the portal as 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.

Most recently, as an add-on to the already robust Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management platform, a public view into the new Dynamics 365 Manufacturing Accelerator has been made available (May 14, 2020). The Manufacturing Accelerator is a Power App designed by Microsoft to offer an enhanced Supplier Relationship Management experience, running natively with Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management.

The primary features include processes to:

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

While the accelerator was created before the current pandemic, it’s turning out to be a great asset to procurement teams looking to strengthen their supplier sourcing capabilities.

Final Thoughts

It’s important to understand, especially after witnessing the impact COVID-19 has had on organizations around the world, that the priority of most companies is the safety of their employees, while at the same time ensuring they are getting products into the hands of their customers. Having a robust and secure platform like Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management helps make this a reality. The bonus of native integrations with Microsoft 365 and the security of the Microsoft ecosystem add significant value.

Get Free Consultation For all Your Business Needs

Get Started Now

About XcelPros

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

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

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

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

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

Customer Journey VP of Quality Control

Customer Journey VP of Quality Control 1440 810 Xcelpros Team
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 not just for maintaining accurate product counts, ensuring on-time delivery or monitoring rising transportation costs, but also for keeping an eye on the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) requirements for transporting chemicals. The chemical industry being more highly-regulated, companies need to meet regulatory needs and address real-time issues. It will help in mitigating supply chain challenges in the chemical industry.

A Violation of Federal Hazardous Materials Regulations can cost your company a hefty sum between $79,976.00 and $500,000.

The consequences of failing quality controls and of initiating product recalls are too high to afford. With a rise in competition, increasing challenges related to transportation, and growing customer expectations amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, chemical manufacturers can’t afford to make any mistakes.

Managing freight can be an enormous task when you have to handle hundreds of shipments per day. When it comes to the chemical industry, the complexity multiplies as you need to ensure accurate product labeling for such a huge lot. Without clear visibility over the shipments expected daily, it’s impossible to plan the classification and storage of materials, and how much workforce is needed. Chemical companies need to ensure end-to-end supply chain visibility in order to run operations smoothly.

Consequences of Poor Freight Management

Poor freight management can result in a variety of problems for businesses and raise supply chain challenges in the chemical industry, including

  • Damaged, lost, or late deliveries
  • Customer complaints due to delays in processing
  • Delays in downstream work orders
  • Exceeded cost of freight due to carrier policies
  • Wasted raw materials and space due to unaccounted inventory
  • Decreased productivity due to poor scheduling

Unreported delays lead to an increase in inventory carrying costs, often as high as 30-40% of total inventory costs.

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.

The Key Solution

Starting with raw materials, moving through production and on to end-user delivery, each stage of a chemical product’s passage requires planning, tracking, and implementation. Companies need a centralized and secured solution that offers flexibility and the ability to integrate, automate, and be optimized across different locations. Solutions that provide enterprise labeling benefit companies by boosting efficiency, accuracy, and reliability and offer significant cost savings amid these highly regulated environments.

Managing Hazardous Freight – Responsibility of the Manufacturer and Carrier

A manufacturer shipping product has the primary responsibility for identifying hazardous materials, which can be an essential task. When shipping chemicals, the company needs to ensure that all details are captured accurately to avoid compliance failures. Below is an example of things that need to be completed when preparing chemicals to be shipped.

Hazardous Materials Manufacturer’s Shipping checklist

  • The material meets the definition of ‘Hazardous Material’
  • The employee training for the job
  • Documentation includes the proper shipping name
  • Documentation includes correct Classification/ Division
  • Documentation includes correct Identification Number
  • Documentation includes correct Hazard Warning Labels and Markings
  • Correct Packaging is used
  • Blocking and Bracing requirements are outlined
  • Shipping Manifest is complete and accurate
  • The emergency Response information is included
  • Emergency Response contact information is up to date
  • Certifications are complete and up to date
  • Security plans and processes are up to date
  • Incident reporting procedures are up to date
  • Product Compatibility is accounted for when shipping multiple chemicals together

On the flip side, the carrier is responsible for validating the products being shipped by the manufacturer. They need to check that the materials provided by the shipper are accurately described and adequately packaged. They also need to ensure the vehicle to be used suitable for the materials being shipped based on determined guidelines. As well, the vehicles themselves must be in sound mechanical condition. Below are some additional considerations and responsibilities that fall upon Carriers when it comes to transporting hazardous materials.

Hazardous Materials Carrier Responsibilities

  • Documents and manifests are accurate and complete
  • Proper labels and Placards are in place on both the vehicle and the shipment
  • Loading and unloading of the materials are done safely per set guidelines
  • Employee Training is complete
  • Security plans and processes are up to date
  • Incident reporting procedures are up to date
  • Adequate Blocking and Bracing is used according to set guidelines
  • Product Compatibility is accounted for when shipping multiple chemicals together

The Real Cost of Freight

The actual cost of freight can only be realized when the product is checked after it hits the dock. Aside from additional fees from things like layovers, oversized cargo, after-hour deliveries, etc., the final cost of deliveries can be influenced by things like mispacked orders, incomplete manifests, or damages incurred during shipping and unloading.

Thanks to a greater volume, several available resources, and infrastructure size, large businesses aren’t as affected by fluctuations in costs due to shipping-based issues, but Small and Medium Business (SMBs) find themselves in a tight spot where they might have to negotiate as they ship in Less Than Truckload freight (LTL), with lower volumes. Unfortunately, manufacturers shipping products don’t always have clarity on 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: A Recent Study by American Shipper

3 Transportation Challenges hindering the Visibility of Supply Chain

A supply chain can suffer from not knowing what’s going on once a product leaves the building, and the reasons are relatively simple. Poor visibility of shipping data is the culmination of the following:

01.Outdated Systems

Many companies still run their operations on antiquated systems, fundamentally designed for managing local-only supply chains. But successful supply chains operate globally, dynamically connecting production and procurement to sales and customer service with appropriate ‘in transit’ statuses. Maintaining freight visibility, especially for a multi-org/ multi-site/ multi-warehouse environment, is not an easy task, and obsolete systems make it an even more challenging objective.

A modern, cloud-based solution has the potential to provide a complete end-to-end view of a supply chain network. Switching operations to an integrated, multifunctional transportation management system (TMS) platform adds agility to your transportation network, ensuring seamless communication allowing organizations to respond proactively to unexpected issues and customer demands.

02.Disparate Systems

There needs to be effective coordination and collaboration across multiple sites/ 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.

Integrating existing applications with suppliers improves inventory management, communication, and freight visibility into all active and pending shipments. Connecting a TMS with warehouse operations allows shippers to derive detailed insights from inbound and outbound logistics within a single unified platform.

03.Lack of collaboration

Tracking shipments in real-time is the core of transportation management. As loads are distributed across the thousands of different carriers utilized by 3PLs, it can be challenging to get reliable data from the entire carrier network. Trying to track shipping information manually, based on this unreliable data, leads to misestimated quotes and customer complaints. The power of business intelligence and advanced analytics can offer real-time visibility into shipping and location data to bridge this gap and deliver accurate tracking information directly from the supplier’s carrier to the shipper. The customer is anticipating the delivery. This real-time visibility into inbound shipments helps with planning and adjustments to downstream activities as required.

Helpful Checklist Items For Determining the Right Visibility Solution

Unfortunately, not all logistics solutions are capable of delivering real-time visibility of shipments or product orders. You may have to weed through dozens of providers to find a solution that offers end-to-end supply chain visibility that meets your requirements.

A few questions to ask before finalizing a solution that works for you include the following:

  • Do they have AI-enabled software that records the movement of the truck without human intervention?
  • Are they able to generate automated email alerts in real-time?
  • How is this truck connected to the TMS?
  • How are they connecting the driver?
  • How robust is the integration? Are they able to demonstrate its capabilities?
  • Are they using SaaS technology that offers remote accessibility of data anytime?
  • Does the technology let you access the new features without the need for on-premise upgrades?
  • Does the solution provide end-to-end service or just a part of the delivery ecosystem?
  • What is its integration capacity? Can it be connected with other TMS systems, Electronic logging devices (ELDs), or Enterprise Resource Planning systems (ERPs)?

Final Thoughts

The most important takeaway is gaining end-to-end supply chain visibility. Best-in-class organizations have embraced the real-time capabilities of supply chain visibility, compliance to improve their performance. Embracing newer technologies can offer better connections to all parts of the supply chain for manufacturing companies. Providing more up-to-date information and analytics can be used to make decisions that help improve the overall optimization of cost of freight.

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

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

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

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

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

Enhancing Chemical Supply Chain Management

How To Enhance Your Chemical Supply Chain

How To Enhance Your Chemical Supply Chain 1440 810 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

  • The supply chain management today is all about enhanced visibility and proper accountability.
  • With challenges like varying laws and regulations for different geographies, fluctuating prices of the raw materials, and lack of visibility across the board, the chemical supply chain management needs advanced solutions.
  • The introduction and integration of advanced technologies can bring positive changes to the chemical supply chain management.

As the decade ends, globalization has reached new heights. There is massive activity and anxiety related to supply chain dampeners due to COVID-19. For the chemical industry, this has opened doors of opportunities. They are taking their products across borders and getting business from all over the world.

According to a market research study conducted by the ARC Advisory Group, the chemical industry accounts for over $150 million of the market’s revenue.

The above stat shows a considerable share, and thus, it would not be wrong to say that in today’s uncertain conditions, the chemical industry is looking forward to a secure future. However, such globalization has also led to various challenges and roadblocks, especially concerning the movement of chemicals from end-to-end. The stringent supply chain that works in silos is no longer sustainable or feasible for processes to run smoothly. To solve these issues, chemical companies can make use of the Microsoft Business Applications 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 in recent times and how technology is playing the key role in enabling a modern, integrated supply chain.

Top Supply Chain Challenges in the Chemical Industry:

Every company has its own set of challenges depending on various factors, such as the size of the company, locations of their manufacturing units, the structure of the individual supply chain, etc. However, there are certain common issues faced by the chemical industry pertaining to the supply chain.

Let us have a look at the key supply chain challenges in the Chemical Industry:

  • Increased globalization means dealing with the distribution of chemicals and related raw material in different countries. Companies struggle to keep up with the laws and regulations of varying geographies. There is also an issue of compliance and worker safety when it comes to hazardous chemicals.
  • The chemical supply chain management falls prey to manual errors and miscommunications, causing potential safety hazards and monetary loss.
  • The bottom line at any chemical manufacturing company is highly dependent on raw material, natural gases, and other such commodities. When the prices of these materials fluctuate, the entire supply chain gets affected.
  • Data management seems to be a big concern for supply chain managers in chemical companies. The data involves information regarding the chemicals, their compositions, raw materials, pricing, safety precautions, distribution lists, varying protocols for worker safety, client agreements, and more. To systemize this data and harness benefit from the insights is a big challenge faced by many chemical companies who have lesser access to advanced tools and applications.

FIGURE 1: Challenges faced by the chemical supply chain

3 Ways Technology is Reshaping the Chemical Supply Chain

01.Technology Enables Creating a Connected System

Now, the world is further connected with smart devices and related applications. These applications, along with a sophisticated Enterprise Resource Planning system, can help in systemizing the chemical supply chain. This would mean system-fed entries for different geographies, their respective laws, regulations, and mandatory compliances. The system would generate a corresponding alert to related personnel of these regulations promptly, mitigating any manual error or oversight.

A connected ecosystem also provides top-to-bottom visibility in the supply chain, which would offer the top-level decision-makers a clearer picture and greater transparency across the board. This also enables better accountability and finding loopholes in the chemical supply chain.

FIGURE 2: Technologies for a Better Chemical Supply Chain Management

02.AI Helps in Preempting Changes and Strategizing a Fail-safe Supply Chain Mechanism

As mentioned earlier, the chemical supply chain management is susceptible to changes in prices of raw material, oil, gas, and other such commodities. To stay ahead of the curve, one needs to analyze and preempt the global and regional changes. An AI-enabled program is capable of churning and analyzing data in real-time to provide estimated statistics regarding these changes. This not only helps the chemical companies to make necessary modifications to their supply chain but also to strategize accordingly.

03.Big Data and Cloud in Managing the Humongous Supply Chain Data

Data collation, cataloging, and analysis prove to be intricate tasks that need tenacity and are prone to manual errors. However, with progressive technological tools like Big Data and Cloud, one can store virtually any amount of data and get it analyzed with the help of software. This categorized and analyzed data can be leveraged to generate insights that will help in fortifying the chemical supply chain for smooth transitions and better efficiency.

There is no denying the fact that the chemical industry needs to adapt to changing times. Supply chain being the backbone of this industry, it is crucial to make smart use of the right technologies to harness maximum benefits.

Key Takeaways

  • Like any industry, the chemical industry is witnessing the need for change in different facets including the supply chain.
  • With the help of cutting-edge technological tools and applications, the chemical supply chain management will be systemized and optimized for overall enhanced efficiency.

Get Free Consultation For all Your Business Needs

Get Started Now

About XcelPros

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

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

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

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

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