Supply chain

pharmaceutical supply chain best practices

Pharmaceutical supply chain – role of technology

Pharmaceutical supply chain – role of technology 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:

01Connecting 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.

02Estimating 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.

03Control 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.

04Faster 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.

05Manage 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.

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.

For a free assessment in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations.

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

 

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.

For more information on Microsoft Dynamics 365 visit our products page

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 shahid.anis
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 shahid.anis

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.

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

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 Pharma manufacturing company is the source of inventory. An established method to improve visibility, track and trace product quality is a must, regardless of a manual, electronic, or a hybrid purchase to pay process. With the continued impact of COVID-19, approval criteria for Procurement in the pharmaceutical industry is scrutinized further. Businesses have become more cautious of raw material/services spend. Many companies are evaluating different suppliers who can fulfill their requirements at a lower cost, with attention to overall spend and quality requirements.

A robust supply chain management system is needed to

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

What are some considerations while revisiting purchasing functions?

This question throws light on companies’ need to organize their buying process, include more visibility for senior management, and increased traceability of purchasing transactions for streamlining pharma procurement. A comprehensive supply chain management solution with low-code and customizable workflows to modernize the pharmaceutical procurement process will be a value add to improve procurement processes.

Figure 1Checklists to Turn Your Supply Chain More Efficient

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

01.Ensure Compliance:

Failure in quality compliance can result in hefty penalties and 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. Ultimately a pharmaceutical supply chain management system needs to remain 21 CFR part 11 compliant and cutting corners can be extremely risky for a pharma company.

02.Support Strategic Vision:

Successful Life-Sciences 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 well-streamlined buying process are possible with spend analytics, derived from multiple dimensions of purchase transactions. Factors such as success rate of higher quality materials from approved suppliers, competitive pricing details, and gauging on-time in-full from preferred suppliers are a few key analytics that can help improve decision-making within the purchasing department and 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. A stronger relationship with a familiar supplier is far more effective than continually switching vendors to lower costs. Changing suppliers places an additional burden on the entire ecosystem as 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

04.Reduce Operational Costs:

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

The right kind of solution should eliminate wasteful spend – 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 pharma procurement. Result-oriented companies in the Life sciences 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 3 Better tools for modern supply chain management

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 easy to show incremental results on crucial analytics, such as vendor performance/ spend analysis.

The Ideal System

  • Helps organizations streamline their pharma procurement process and get deep visibility into product inventory.
  • Easily and quickly Identify product/service needs and procure products, post receipts, invoices, and payments through included procurement and sourcing management modules.
  • Define purchasing policies and workflows to configure procurement processes that meet your business needs.
  • Manage product catalogs and procurement channels based on demand and vendor pricing and capabilities.
  • Define spending limits to constrain requisition spending and the purchasing workflow.
  • Protects the privacy of business and 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 more strategic and tech-enabled roles increases significantly. Early life-sciences 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 out of the traditional buyer mindset and deliver value to businesses by keeping their procurement teams collaborative with their suppliers, both internally, driving productivity and increasing savings, and externally to maintain better supplier relationships and reduce unnecessary supply chain risks.

As technology continues to advance, the new-age applications have added strengths within the pharmaceutical supply chain that can promote business functioning.

01.Cloud-Based Platforms:

Moving Procurement to the cloud enables life-science organizations to operate with more agility, with benefits including enhanced collaboration, security, and data privacy. A growing number of traditional enterprises are already embracing the cloud 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 and to-dos like Requests for Quote (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 pharma procurement management that we know today. The significant challenges that organizations face today are majorly related to a lack of visibility.

A survey by Deloitte Global CPO showed that analytics would play a significant part in shaping the procurement in the supply chain over the next two years. As per 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 business, turning to integrated analytics can offer innovative solutions to enable efficient resolution of on-going 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-Sciences 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-premise 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 started 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

The demand for mobile devices continues a steady rise, with the increasing population of millennials entering the workforce. Deloitte predicts that nearly 42% 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

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

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

Figure 4 Optimize your supply chain with Dynamics 365

Key Takeaways

  • Modern Pharma & Life sciences 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 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-sciences companies to identify and eliminate inefficient, time-intensive aspects.

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

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 under severe scrutiny for ecological and environmental reasons. Chemical companies are required to maintain various documents such as safety data sheets and hazard labels with pictograms.
  • The hazardous chemicals produced or used by the industry need to be tracked and managed to meet the rules and regulations set forth by OSHA.
  • The right ERP systems can help companies in collating and systemizing the records of these hazardous chemicals for proper usage and disposal in a responsible manner.

Chemical Manufacturers – Managing Compliance

The chemical manufacturing industry has an expectation and in many cases even a mandate to work with added responsibility when it comes to the usage, transport, and disposal of hazardous chemicals.

Out of the more than 80,000 chemicals currently used in the United States, most haven’t been adequately tested for their effects on human health. Contract Research Organizations Global Market Report

Chemical manufacturers are an integral part of the overall chemical value chain, and the overall supply chain from ‘raw materials to finished products’ needs to be maintained with additional hazard visibility. How would these manufacturers manage compliance and adhere to proper documentation of hazardous chemicals? The answer lies in an ERP software system that can facilitate record maintenance, compliance, and visibility. A reliable ERP system has become the need of the hour for chemical companies – to act proactively and to avoid environmental or human mishaps.

The ‘One Microsoft Ecosystem’ with the embedded ‘Integrated Chemical Management’ solution will provide a comprehensive solution to aid all the needs of a chemical company – Supply Chain, Finance, Manufacturing, Quality, Document Management, or Chemical Data and Documents.

Figure 1Digital Business Transformation with One-Microsoft Ecosystem

Let us look at some of the ways compliance is achievable through the Microsoft ecosystem:

01.Being proactive instead of reactive:

Business processes would be simplified for bulk chemical or toll manufacturers if they could regulate hazardous substances from the point of inventory receipt through a purchase order or a manufacturing production order. Better management of dangerous materials is possible by an integrated chemical management system within ERP software. This unified system can automatically overlook the formulations, spot the hazardous substances, and evaluate them for their further use. This way, manufacturers will get to know the risk levels involved regarding the usage and distribution of chemicals. Identifying these hazardous substances at the beginning stage also allows manufacturers to act proactively rather than working reactively, leading to better safety.

02.Developing a Prototype/ Standard Operating Procedure for Worker Safety

It is important to note that manufacturers have found that even if they have implemented safety procedures in place for the wide range of chemicals used, mishandling and mismanaging the chemicals will jeopardize workers’ safety. Working with hazardous chemicals is inevitable for chemical companies making it business challenge to handle production and distribution of finished products. Microsoft Dynamics 365 integrates natively into Sharepoint and One drive, which are Microsoft’s document management systems. These integrated tools in the Microsoft ecosystem provide the ability to develop a standard operating procedure or prototype process to handle chemicals – avoiding chemical hazard accidents and enhancing workers’ safety on the shop floor. 

03.Facilitating Better Equipment Maintenance

Record maintenance for the equipment used in chemical plants is a tedious task. Microsoft Dynamics 365 helps in keeping a record of equipment maintenance and marking them for preventive/ proactive maintenance. These maintenance call-to-actions are system generated and can be automated, leaving minimal scope for manual errors. Chemical manufacturing companies can thus form a thorough strategy for equipment maintenance, repair, and operation.

Figure 2How an ERP System Helps in Managing Hazardous Chemicals

04.Systemizing Record Maintenance

The vast range of chemicals used by manufacturing companies need to be labeled for their chemical composition, risk factors, expiry dates, safety procedures, and other special instructions. There has to be a consolidated record of all these chemicals, their quantities, distribution, costs, etc. Such a humongous task is prone to different manual errors within legacy systems. Microsoft Dynamics 365 along with Integrated Chemical Management can maintain chemical data (for individual chemicals and on a consolidated level) through easy excel updates or interfaced updates.

Chemical companies can be assured of safely using,
distributing, and disposing of the hazardous chemicals through an automated workflow for adding and editing chemical data.

05.Meeting Compliance Standards

As mentioned earlier in the article, the world over, the laws are getting more stringent regarding compliance and regulations for hazardous chemicals. Chemical companies ideally look for an ERP solution that helps meet the local as well as international requirements, to function with least regulatory hassles.

 

70%of participants pointed 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

Per the 2017 Hazard Communication Survey

Microsoft Dynamics 365 with an embedded chemical management solution that can house chemical data, print GHS compliant labels, and Safety data sheets will be an ideal choice in order to reduce GHS related compliance issues.

To conclude, one could reasonably say that an advanced ERP system such as the Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERPs can become the backbone of record maintenance for hazardous chemicals. The chemical industry can benefit from this sophisticated software system and function seamlessly while also helping with environmental and personnel safety. Microsoft’s Chemical manufacturers Supply Chain solution provides a cutting-edge system to ease record maintenance, streamline the overall chemical supply chain, inventory, and warehouse management processes; and create a platform for productivity and growth.

Key Takeaways

  • An ERP system with chemical data is necessary for the chemical industry to manage OSHA and GHS compliance from within the system.
  • Microsoft’s integrated ERP software in conjunction with integrated chemical management solution is capable of smooth record-keeping of hazardous chemicals, print GHS labels, and safety data sheets.
  • Ultimately Chemical manufacturers need to ensure compliance along with environmental and worker safety with the help of 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 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

Agility in daily operations using the Power Platform

Agility in daily operations using the Power Platform 1500 800 Xcelpros Team

Introduction

COVID-19 is testing the supply chain and manufacturing operations around the world. Companies have their hands full dealing with workers who have become ill or those who are required to be home due to lack of raw materials delivery and limited work hours. Now more than ever, businesses are evaluating how to improve efficiency, lower cost, and increase operational performance. The immediate question on everyone’s mind is, “how are we coming out of this crisis”?

94%

of Fortune 1000 companies are seeing supply chain disruptions from COVID-19

Fortune , February 21 2020

 

While employees’ safety is a top priority during this pandemic, mitigating the impact on the day-to-day operations is top of mind. CEOs and CFOs are facing the unprecedented challenge of pivoting product demands and preserving cash flow that has grown over the last few weeks. Implementing a do more with less attitude while gaining a few quick wins in the process can build the momentum needed to keep companies moving forward.

FIGURE 1 The Ecosystem of an Integrated Supply Chain

 

Pivoting the Plan

The role of the CIO is critical in risk mitigation strategies in numerous ways. First, drafting a plan to determine how the COVID crisis is affecting the infrastructure short term and keeping operations running as smoothly as possible but also long term as projects and roadmap budgets will most definitely be affected. We’ve seen in the last 30 days, moving as many employees to remote work without disruption has been at the center of many organizations. Tools like Microsoft Teams and Skype have allowed organizations to continue communication, and their integration with Office 365 is allowing familiar tools to ease the transition.

Keeping the Lines Open

Not all employees of production and distribution companies are working from home. Due to increased demand for products, thousands of workers have been deemed essential, many having to operate on a 24/7 model. These facilities are finding themselves adding shifts, ramping up capacity, and working to keep warehouses stocked with both raw materials and finished products. Service providers for equipment maintenance and repair are another industry with workers ensuring that machines stay online and working correctly.

FIGURE 2 Microsoft Power Platform: An Integrated Solution

 

It is during this time that having tools in place can help to expedite communication between facilities and these providers. The Microsoft Power Platform is a creative solution; this low code-no-code platform can be implemented in a matter of hours to generate a quick win. A no-code solution can be valuable when needing to make rapid or immediate decisions while maintaining critical operations.

65%

of all App Development will be low code by 2024 as estimated

Source: Gartner

 

By using PowerApps, workers can get access and insights into machines that may be headed for trouble before they experience downtime, or even be alerted to scheduled downtime for cleaning to comply with the CDC’s Expected Business Response Plan. Power Apps can connect to hundreds of business systems and databases, making it easy to connect workers with the existing processes and data are easily integrated with Microsoft Outlook to keep those within the supply chain informed.

Increased development agility

Automate and simplify repetitive and time-consuming processes to launch faster and reduce errors across your organization.

01

 

Speed and savings

Reduce time & cost building web and mobile applications, enabling you to get through your development backlog.

02

 

Do less but achieve more

Fully managed, with preset data models and common entities, out of the box business logic and rules, that is fully customizable to your business needs.

03

 

Meeting the Demand

Using forecast planning during normal operations helps to predict the flow of material through the supply chain. However, in times of crisis, using a demand planning model is essential. By conducting a daily “What-if analysis,” scenario planning, and Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP) using a Consumption Driven Model along with industry and customer knowledge, companies mitigate as much risk as possible. As we have seen in the past few weeks, carmakers like Tesla, Ford, and General Motors have been able to quickly adjust their production lines from automotive parts to assist with the shortage of ventilator parts.

Executives are continually evaluating sales and budget plans. Power Automate can help to reduce the number of tedious manual processes when decisions cannot wait for lots of analysis and provide a creative, cost-effective strategy for businesses to connect their existing legacy systems. A perfect example would be the workflows for approvals that are activated in a matter of hours instead of days. As the workforce is becoming a hybrid of remote and on-site team members, this can reduce the time spent tracking down approvals and keep things moving. For managers who are used to adjusting production lines and need to approve adjustments on the fly, all while staying compliant, getting the right notifications is critical. Using Power Bi for current and future analysis will also lend a hand when developing future emergency response plans.

Staying Ahead

In addition to machine maintenance, keeping facilities clean and informed based on CDC guidelines is critical to keep operations running and employees safe. The Power Platform has deployed several new tools ahead of the April release.

  • Crisis Communication – It is a solution that combines Microsoft Power Apps, Microsoft Power Automate, Microsoft Teams, and SharePoint to coordinate information sharing and team collaboration in response to evolving conditions. Employees can report work status and make requests, and admins can use the app to push updates and news including RSS feeds from the World Health Organization (WHO), The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or local authorities, or emergency contacts to different locations—all accessible on the web, mobile, or in Teams.
  • Power Virtual Agents Crisis Response Bot – the Power Virtual Agents team has released instructions to build a Virtual Agent Crisis Response FAQ Bot that helps people get to the information they need quickly in a chat interface you can embed on your company website.

Power Apps Drives Business Transformation

The recent study conducted by Forrester Consulting shows how businesses reduced development costs and increased overall efficiency using Power Apps. Results are for a composite organization based on interviewed customers.

362%ROI over three years

 

70% Reduction in app development costs

 

3.2 hrsLine-of-business employee productivity improvement per week

 

Source: The Total Economic Impact of Power Apps commissioned study, March 2020

 

Extraordinary Challenge

The COVID-19 crisis may have unknown long term implications, so taking the time to plan is essential. Understand that putting out today’s fires is the most critical task, re-evaluating the existing roadmap and gaining a few quick wins in the process will help relieve some of the anxiety. Over the next few weeks, as we hope to get back to a more stabilized business environment, having tools in place to watch markets and consumer behavior and report that data back to your teams will help companies to move forward with more confidence. Tools like the Microsoft Power Platform will allow the runway of significant gains with little cost to get started.

We are all grateful for those companies that are quick to rise to the call to keep America moving forward. We extend a ‘Thank You’ to the countless pharmaceutical, chemical, and distribution companies who are working despite risks to keep us supplied with the essentials.

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