The disruption to global supply chains by the COVID-19 pandemic impacted industries across the board, but few more so than the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries. This has highlighted how important visibility across the supply chain is for healthcare businesses like yours.
According to a survey of 100 executives from FourKites and Accenture, the pandemic revealed the industry’s priorities to be resolving the current lack of visibility across the pharmaceutical supply chain.
We’ll take a deeper look into why visibility is such a top priority for healthcare businesses like yours, especially in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ways ERP Software Benefits Pharmaceutical Businesses
But first, let’s look at the main benefits that ERP software offers for pharmaceutical businesses.
Because it can integrate disparate software systems across your business into a unified whole, ERP software enables automatic data transfer between them, eliminating manual data entry errors and providing your pharmaceutical business with a highly competitive advantage in the industry.
This can manifest several benefits for pharmaceutical businesses such as yours, as seen below;
Apart from the usual financial processes that every business has to manage in order to stay solvent, pharmaceutical businesses - particularly manufacturers - have an additional consideration to take into accounting.
When determining the cost of production for a particular pharmaceutical product, your business needs to take several factors into account;
- Cost of procuring raw materials
- Cost of managing raw materials
- Costs involved in monitoring the supply chain
However, these processes are overseen by different departments in your business. If data needs to be manually recorded or updated, it will take time for the changes to be reflected throughout your business, not to mention the possibility of human errors contaminating the data.
Because an ERP software unifies all data from every part of your business, it can automatically update the costs involved in each process.
With every department and relevant personnel having access to data that's being updated in real-time, costing for your product becomes much easier and faster.
Pharmaceutical businesses like yours have to contend with strict regulatory regimes, to guarantee that your products are safe for consumption.
This often leads to high wastage of the raw materials that go into the manufacture of your products, as you're compelled to discard expired materials in order to stay in compliance with regulations.
ERP software helps you reduce this wastage with functionalities that enable First-in, First-Out (FEFO) inventory management processes. This helps your business avoid wastage from expired materials, and thus reduce your costs.
With an ERP software, you can also create up-to-date inventory reports, which can inform the planning of your business's material requirements. This reduces wastage, and thus your costs, even further.
Part of ensuring the best profit margins for your pharmaceutical business is to optimise the recipes of your drug products.
Ensuring that your recipes balance production costs with product effectiveness, allows your business to price said products competitively in the marketplace.
An ERP software provides a centralised database on which you can store your critical drug recipes securely and safely, while providing access to those of your employees with the necessary privileges.
This enables your business to produce batches of products that follow a consistent formula, which makes your production process seamless and efficient.
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Traceability Is The Key Feature That Minimises Supply Chain Risks
However, one of the most important benefits that an ERP software confers to pharmaceutical businesses like yours are features that enable traceability, and thus minimise risks across your supply chain.
With this functionality, ERP software can play a key role in two processes related to the pharmaceutical supply chain, which pose the most risk for your business – product recalls, and audits.
Let’s now take a look at how ERP software can support and enable both of these critical processes for your pharmaceutical business.
ERP Software Supports Recalls With Product Traceability
The ability to track your products as it travels down through your supply chain, has always been an important part of pharmaceutical business operations.
And an ERP software that comes with lot or batch tracking features, such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, is key to enabling this level of real-time traceability, and ensure the integrity of your supply chain.
Lot or batch tracking is crucial in allowing you to track and trace a particular ingredient or product as it travels through your supply chain, and identify potential sources of contaminants should you need to initiate a recall of your products.
The right ERP software for your pharmaceutical business should also come with the serialisation feature, in order to establish the product identifiers, serial numbers, lot numbers and expiration dates of your products.
This provides a reporting mechanism that complement your ERP software’s lot or batch tracking feature, enabling you to track your products’ position along your supply chain by their serial numbers.
And when you can track where your products are along the supply chain, that makes it much easier to retrieve them if and when you have to carry out a product recall for any contaminated or otherwise non-viable batches.
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ERP Software Supports The Audit Process With Document Traceability
Because of the sensitive nature of pharmaceutical products, businesses like yours generally have to operate under stringent regulatory requirements.
And part of maintaining compliance with these regulations is ensuring that your business can provide any auditors with the necessary data and information upon demand.
To do this, you need to have real-time reporting capabilities, especially within your supply chain. This gives you the visibility you need into where your batches of products are along that supply chain; more importantly, it gives anyone currently auditing your pharmaceutical business the same level of visibility.
More importantly, should an auditor need the relevant documentation for their work, you’ll need to be able to provide it on short notice for the sake of maintaining compliance with industry regulations.
Both of these needs can be fulfilled with an ERP software like SAP Business One.
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Not only does SAP Business One offer real-time reporting throughout your business, it also serves as a central database, a repository of all historical data relating to every operational process within your pharmaceutical business.
With the Relationship Map feature present in Business One, you can easily find documents which are related to each other. With this, you can easily identify the chain of transactions relevant to any product that's being recalled.
You can even build audit trails within Business One, which will serve as the comprehensive documentation an auditor will need from your pharmaceutical business during a product recall, or during a regularly-scheduled audit process.
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ERP Software Minimises Risks Related To The Pharmaceutical Supply Chain
An ERP software that’s suited for your pharmaceutical business comes with the features and functionalities needed to address supply chain-related risks common in the industry.
One of them is that it enables traceability of your products in the supply chain through lot and batch tracking features, which is especially crucial during a product recall.
The other are features that provide the necessary support during an audit process, such as real-time reports into the supply chain, as well the generation of documentation from its central database as needed.
Both SAP Business One and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central are examples of such ERP software which come with the necessary features and functionalities, to address these supply chain-related risks in your pharmaceutical business.
And these are just some of the many ways that an ERP software can play a key role in digitally transforming the operations of your pharmaceutical business. To find out more about how an ERP software like SAP Business One can help you take that step, click on the image below to learn more.