If you’ve reached a point in your business where you’re looking to improve productivity, find cost savings, and unlock new growth opportunities, your research has likely led you to reports of other organizations using an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to achieve those kinds of goals.
Hundreds of thousands of companies use ERP systems to gain a competitive advantage in their respective markets. If your company is small, however, you may be wondering whether your own needs would justify an investment in an ERP solution. You also might be wondering who are the primary users of ERP systems.
The short answer is: Nearly every function and business unit in your firm is a potential user!
That’s because an Enterprise resource planning system is designed to serve as a central nerve center for your business that ties together information from all aspects of the company—accounting, HR, manufacturing, shipping, customer service, and more—so that you can get full visibility into your operations. Today’s cloud-based ERP platforms allow users to access this information at any time, from anywhere, all in one simple dashboard.
As a result, users at all levels of the organization can save time, improve productivity, and focus on adding more value to the business.
The Enterprise Resource Planning System: The Basics
An ERP system has many functions: It can be used to centralize documents, create templates, track manufacturing and distribution progress in real-time, and automate many of your business and operational processes.
When it comes to financial oversight, your accounting department can save a great deal of time with an EPR platform. Without such a system, they’ll need to manually enter data into different systems and then try to make sense of information pulled from disparate applications at financial close or other points in the business cycle. An ERP system creates a single source of truth and can provide powerful data analytics in one place, quickly and easily.
An ERP system uses artificial intelligence to figure out what a user is trying to do and automate business processes to match. For example, if your customer service team receives a sales order, the system can automatically generate a purchase order, with prices and valuations already set up online (including prices for insurance policies that many life sciences firms need). When it’s time to send an invoice, the system automatically inputs the correct cost amounts.
Business Benefits of an ERP System for Life Science Businesses
The life sciences industry, in particular, has embraced this technology because firms in this space are well placed to take advantage of all the business benefits of an ERP system.
For example, robust analytics and reporting capabilities, along with automated processes, can help ensure compliance with FDA compliance regulations.
Cost predictability is especially important as a growing business scales its operations, especially a life sciences firm. When an ERP system is integrated with vendors’ systems, users can obtain real-time information on materials and logistics to help forecast and make adjustments to meet demand or find new ways to achieve cost savings.
When it comes to manufacturing, an ERP system provides end-to-end traceability and documentation, delivering all the quality and compliance information you need in one central location.
Compliance with FDA and other regulatory mandates for things like validation of business systems is also simpler with ERP. Life Science Business Solutions for ERP often come preconfigured for meeting FDA requirements, helping with validation.
And as a company grows to the point of expanding into new geographies, ERP Life Science Business Solutions makes it easier to manage larger supply chains, multi-currency transactions, and growing employee populations scattered around the world.
A Life Science Software Solution Tailored for Your Business Needs
The ERP market has many life sciences solutions that can be tailored to make process modifications quickly and easily. Scalable ERP is important because it will let you start as basic as your business needs but then handle more complex scenarios as your business grows.
Before you go down the road of finding the right life science software solution, make sure you’re getting buy-in from stakeholders in different departments so that your teams can share their pain points in current work processes and gain a sense of ownership after the ERP system is rolled out. This is important because it’s human nature to sometimes reject something new or unfamiliar.
Everyone uses apps and software in their daily lives to some degree, so they have certain expectations about how these things should perform. For this reason, you need a modern interface that has a simple menu and is organized in a way that users at all levels of the business can understand. Nobody wants to have to memorize shortcuts just to complete their work.
Employees should begin to see the value of an ERP system as they get more comfortable with the platform. This is why, even at the planning and research stage, you must consider how you will handle training. Glossing over this step could hinder successful ERP adoption and could foreclose further moves to automated business processes.
Navigator has been helping life sciences firms lay a strong foundation for growth through ERP for more than a decade. Learn more about our life science business solutions.