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Example of ERP in Life Sciences

Life science companies such as biotechnology, and biopharmaceutical companies face significant business challenges. These include optimizing processes and operations while meeting industry regulations. 

Life science manufacturers must adhere to strict protocols, and standard operating procedures allowing careful mitigation of any exceptions to maintain a high standard of product quality. All the business processes, protocols, and operations must be in compliance with the US FDA, and other international regulations. This steeping complexity of operations, therefore, necessitates the use of an ERP software system to streamline workflows.

What Is ERP Software? 

ERP software offers an integrated solution to automate and manage multiple business operations related to product development, resource gathering, manufacturing, sales, supply chain management, and quality assurance. To know more about the uses of ERP software in life sciences, check out our article on the topic here. There are several software companies that provide ERP solutions. SAP SE based in Germany, is one such company that offers enterprise resource planning software solutions to meet different industry requirements. If you’d like more information on resource planning, we dive into depth on the topic of SAP enterprise resource planning in life science at this link. 

Although having SAP ERP software does not guarantee enhanced business operations, its effective implementation and use are crucial to its success. This is where SAP best practices for life sciences come in handy, providing standardized processes to ensure effective utilization of the software. 

In this article, we will explore the SAP ERP software products for the life science industry, as an example to understand ERP systems in life sciences. 

SAP ERP Software For Life Sciences 

SAP SE is a global leader in the development and distribution of enterprise resource planning software for different industries. The most popular stand-alone product that replaced the previously used SAP R/3 business software suite in 2004 is SAP ERP, which is also referred to as the Digital Core. 

However, in 2015, the 4th generation of the business suite called the SAP S/4 HANA, was introduced. It is a cloud-based ERP solution that features a modern, in-memory database (HANA) and a browser-based user interface (Fiori). 

SAP business suite offers extensive solutions for sector-specific requirements in life sciences. The solutions offered by SAP for life sciences are segregated into the following sectors. 

R&D Engineering 

This includes software solutions that enable life science companies to reach their target market more efficiently with compliant and collaborative R&D solutions. The solutions included under this sector are global regulatory compliance, portfolio and project management, device design and engineering, clinical trial supply management, and drug formulation development, among others. 

Strategic Sourcing And Procurement 

Solutions offered in this sector allow for the management, optimization, and analysis of every aspect with regards to the procurement of all kinds of resources (material and workforce for example) for a life science company. 

The solutions offered include contract research, organization collaboration, invoice and payments, direct material planning and forecasting, contract manufacturing, organization collaboration, and supplier management. 

Demand-Driven Supply Networks 

The solutions offered in the supply and demand sector help execute effective plans for compliance and safety. By providing real-time global visibility into inventories, shipments, and receipts through these SAP solutions companies can boost their profitability and streamline operations. Some of the solutions offered include sales, inventory, and operations planning, demand management and insights, response and supply planning, warehouse management, and cold chain and transportation management. 

Compliant Manufacturing 

In the manufacturing sector, SAP offers solutions for life science companies that help them achieve operational excellence through compliant manufacturing. It does so by embedding functionalities directly into product design and manufacturing that check compliance with requirements for materials, drugs, medical devices, good manufacturing practices etc. Some of the solutions in this sector are asset collaboration, production operations, and quality management, manufacturing execution, manufacturing performance management, and asset performance management. 

Multichannel Sales, Marketing, and Service 

SAP solutions offered in this sector help life science companies segment their markets intelligently, identify new opportunities, and develop attractive agreements. They help companies connect customers with the right content, thereby helping sales partners. 

This not only fosters customer loyalty but also drives revenue and company growth. Customer experience management, single customer view, consent-based marketing, optimized marketing, omnichannel commerce marketing, and field service management, are some of the solutions offered in this sector. 


It is important for life science companies to be agile, innovative, and productive to reach new heights in developing and delivering high-quality products and services. This becomes increasingly important as the companies scale up their pilot-scale facilities and processes. 

SAP ERP solutions offer the required flexibility and scalability in streamlining all the back office operations needed to drive company growth. The most recent solution RISE with SAP helps remove complexities by allowing companies to deal with SAP as a single point of contact to meet all of their business needs. 

SAP ERP software solutions also help improve visibility and collaboration across the organization to facilitate the utilization of research insights more effectively. 

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