In a global marketplace where speed, change, and the demand for innovation are accelerating challenges, the expectations of ERP have changed. ERP is no longer simply about cutting costs, but rather about enabling businesses to grow and take advantage of new opportunities (and avoid unexpected risks) as they emerge.
We at Encompass solutions work with customers in various fields and industries, many of which are in the Pharma sector, Chemicals and Life Sciences.
Several of our Life Sciences customers have successfully shown how Epicor ERP can be used to manage their business. This proves the flexibility of Epicor ERP from a configuration and customization standpoint, and also speaks to the depth of the product.
Life Sciences companies have some unique challenges over standard manufacturing and distribution companies. Some of those challenges include:
- FDA Regulatory requirements
- FDA tracking and traceability
- Unpredictable manufacturing outcomes
- Challenging clean-room manufacturing environment
- Stringent Quality Control
- Cost control and management
- Managing extremely valuable inventory
- Gating manufacturing decisions based on critical review status
FDA Regulatory requirements include tracking and traceability on every employee, material, and piece of equipment that comes in contact with the manufacturing process, putting a huge strain on quality control and record keeping. Epicor ERP has built in Enhanced Quality with a quality configure that allows for granular quality attributes to be captured and reported on, as well as the built in functionality of the ERP that captures user and machine events that jointly satisfy this need. Maintaining a Total Quality Record is critical in life sciences, and can be supported in Epicor ERP.
Forecasting and cost control are also critical for Life Sciences companies. By developing models of what we think our customers should be selling, we can use MRP to predict some predicable demand, which allows for planners to forecast the manufacturing jobs, so that finished goods are not wasted, but are available when needed. Utilizing this MRP process also enables our customers to have a more predictable cost control, and fund the correct projects for maximize the contributions of donors, or use of materials that may have a short useful life.
Manufacturing in a clean room or laboratory, which is a completely sterile environment, poses its own challenges, particularly when coupled with the need to track everything. In traditional manufacturing environments, we can adhere barcodes to material and print on demand on the manufacturing floor. In a sterile environment, we need any traceable identifiers to be produced ahead of time such that they can be sterilized, and a barcode may not be the most appropriate identifier for some material – in some cases an RDID may be better. We have worked through business and application processes to support pre-creating the identifiers and assigning them while maintaining the sterile integrity of the cleanroom or lab.
In Life Sciences, there are critical checkpoints, beyond which point a process should not continue without stringent review by a qualified professional. Epicor ERP has built in ‘gates’ that can be applied where processes, and approvals must take place, before further manufacturing can continue. This is invaluable in a controlled, regulated industry such as life sciences!
We would be happy to share our experiences in this fascinating field – it’s exciting to support organizations that are saving and improving the lives of people, and we are proud to be part of this industry.