In recent years, the life sciences industry has grown extremely robust, attracting many players across various sectors, such as pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturing, and biotechnology. To thrive in any of these fields, you need to perform extensive and timely studies continuously to ensure that your products are safe and user-friendly–this is where contract research organizations (CROs) come in.
CROs offer support to companies in different life science industries by assisting them in carrying out the necessary studies on a contract basis. For a CRO to perform life science studies quickly and effectively, it must deploy the right systems. An enterprise resource planning software is one of the most important systems that a CRO should have. So, if you are running a CRO, make sure you have the best ERP system–this article tells you how ERP systems improve productivity in manufacturing and how to pick the best ERP for contract research organizations.
What Is an ERP System?
An enterprise resource planning system is a program designed to help organizations manage their day-to-day operations like accounting, project management, risk management, compliance, procurement, production, and supply chain management. Most ERP systems also feature enterprise performance management functions that enable organizations–especially manufacturers–to plan, budget, predict, and report their financial results.
An ERP system combines a variety of critical business processes to ensure there’s a seamless and frictionless flow of data between them. It gathers shared transactional information from different areas of the organization and makes it readily accessible to all stakeholders. Therefore, it eliminates the risk of duplication and enhances data integrity.
Currently, ERP systems are being implemented in a broad range of businesses, including life science, contract research, and contract development. ERP systems for contract development organizations are designed to enable companies charged with developing and managing contracts to create contract templates and ensure that the terms of every contract are met. They also enable organizations to examine how each contract affects their finances.
Choosing the Best ERP System for a Contract Research Organization
With so many SAP software solutions for life science on the market today, choosing the right system for your CRO can be an arduous task. Some organizations believe that any ERP system will work for them because they simply have to conform to the functions of the system. While many ERP systems are designed to offer similar services, some may lack the functions your CRO needs. Here are the most important elements of an ERP system for a CRO that you should consider:
A good ERP system should enable you to boost your organization’s sales pipeline by enhancing all sales processes with actionable insights into win rates, forecasts, and the latest trends.
Pricing and Estimations
Your ERP software should make it easy for you to quote the right sample size, duration of research, volume, project milestones, and tiers requested by your clients.
Make sure your ERP provides you with full visibility and the right resource management capabilities. For instance, it should allow you to manage calendars, skills, and finances, and should also make it easy for you to predict staffing needs to avoid last-minute surprises.
A good ERP system should enable you to track all testing samples, compounds, and lab provisions across different locations, freezers, LOTs, and serial numbers.
When it comes to billing, you need an ERP system that will automate all your billing processes, making them flexible and accurate. It should help you manage your contract by allowing you to switch between unit-based and time-based billing seamlessly. You also need to use your ERP system to automate your invoice approvals and collection.
A good ERP system should provide you with full visibility into your CRO’s profitability and actionable insights. It should enhance accountability for the effectiveness and profitability of each research study–make sure it offers custom dashboard reports to keep you informed.
By integrating your LIMS and other applications needed for managing critical trials, the ERP software will simplify business processes and reduce data entry thus enhancing visibility and reporting.
It should allow you to share documents and research plans with your clients and other collaborators.
Of course, any contract research organization should fully understand the strength of all of these aspects in a given ERP system to ensure they’re implementing a system that will provide the largest opportunity for improving productivity and efficiency.