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By Sean Barbera • April 2, 2021

How One Pharmaceutical Manufacturer Uses Technology to Innovate on the Business Side

The pharmaceutical manufacturing industry moves at an accelerated pace. So businesses are increasingly turning to technologies such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions to remain competitive and foster innovation and efficiencies.
 
In the case of contract manufacturer TriRx Pharmaceutical Services, ERP helped the company grow from ground zero to production in a mere 12 weeks, and now it supports innovation in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.
 
TriRx, which was established in 2019, found itself in the uncommon position of needing to ramp up its first production facility in just three months. The business had taken over a manufacturing space with equipment in place, but did not have employees or back-end systems. To meet its tight deadline, TriRx turned to SAP Business ByDesign to bring the facility to operational status in less than three months.
How growing Life Science companies can leverage SAP Cloud ERP
 
“I asked about cloud-based systems, and a friend of mine told me that Navigator’s SAP Business ByDesign is by far the biggest and best when it comes to cloud-based systems,” says Scott Harris, vice president and site director. “I went straight for SAP Business ByDesign simply based on what colleagues were telling me.”
 
TriRx chose SAP Gold Partner Navigator Business Solutions, which offers prepackaged solutions for Business ByDesign including one geared toward pharmaceutical and contract manufacturers, to manage the project.
 
“We told Navigator that we wanted their out-of-the-box, best practices for pharmaceutical companies,” says Harris. “Since we didn’t have any previous system, it wasn’t like we were trying to adapt it to work with what came before. We didn’t have to adapt the people to work with the system, either, because no matter what they used before, we didn’t have a copy of it.”
 
A standard, prepacked ERP implementation also worked well for TriRx since the business only had 12 employees at the start of the project. They had plans to increase staff to 100 employees along with another 120 temporary workers within a year after launch, and needed a system that could easily scale. They also needed to rely on Navigator to configure operational processes within the system since the company lacked department experts at the time of deployment.
 
The quick and efficient ERP rollout helped TriRx expand rapidly. The company contracted work from 15 clients in its first year in operation, and scaled up its staff to 220 workers. It also scaled up operations to manufacture 16 products across 60 SKUs. Today, TriRx produces around 50 pharmaceutical batches each month at the facility and plans to roll out new sites in North America and Europe this year. The SAP Business ByDesign implementation will be used as a template for the new locations.
 
ERP Helps Facilitate Innovation During Challenging Times

Having a dependable and affordable ERP system in place has helped TriRx remain innovative and resilient throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. According to a recent article in Pharma’s Almanac, the company has focused on incorporating new technologies, improving processes and investing in advanced equipment and services to improve operations and customer service.
 
TriRx has also kept up on industry innovations, a competitive necessity for pharmaceutical contract manufacturers. Most recently, the company has focused on:
 
  • Formulation development
  • Process improvements
  • New processes and equipment
  • Robotics
  • Nanoparticle technology
  • Controlled release technology
  • Laser printing
  • Online printing
  • Process analytical technologies (PATs)
  • 3D printing
  • Quality by design (QbD)
  • Liquid dispensing technologies
 
TriRx is striving to integrate these new technologies to enhance its ongoing services while also looking at ways to improve and streamline operations. The company has already incorporated robotics and serialization in addition to and cloud-based ERP in put in place during launch.
 
To remain competitive in the fierce pharmaceutical manufacturing arena, TriRx has had to innovate consistently to find better and more efficient ways to carry out its processes. The areas of development, formulation manufacturing and supply chain management can all present challenges and bottlenecks within the industry.
 
Such challenges also afford opportunities for innovation, however, including reducing process time and steps as well as waste throughout the whole development and manufacturing stages.
 
Covid-19 has created additional challenges, including an increased demand for virus-related products. Thanks to its Business ByDesign foundation, the company has been able to smoothly shift production to meet those demands while also ensuring its workforce remains safe. TriRx also plans to pursue business opportunities that have stemmed from the pandemic, including therapeutics and vaccines as well as sanitizer and microbial control products.
 
Pharmaceutical contract manufacturers must be innovative but also flexible and diverse to remain competitive. They must be able to pursue new business opportunities while continuously evaluating and streamlining existing development, manufacturing and supply chain processes.
 
A scalable, adaptive cloud-based ERP solution helps with that needed innovation. And for TriRx, this technology advantage has added up to a huge advantage.
 
For more on TriRX and how it put the right technology in place, read our success story, From Nothing to Production in 12 Weeks.