Over the past 18 months, the pharmaceutical and medical supplies industry has witnessed unprecedented change, activity, and growth. Never has such enormous pressure been placed on a single industry, with the coronavirus pandemic pushing the limits of the global pharma supply chain to the brink.
Though the pharmaceutical sector has always been well respected and highly valued, the pandemic brought a new level of attention to the complexities and successes of the industry’s multifaceted supply infrastructure. From essential medical equipment and PPE supplies for frontline health workers to the global vaccine rollout, the world owes much to the ongoing logistical achievements of the medical and pharma supplies industry.
While the people at the heart of the pharmaceutical sector deserve most praise for enduring through the pressures of the pandemic, technology does its part to prop up and support the industry. And that’s what we want to focus on in this article, as we explore the benefits and applications of modern ERP systems within the pharma and medical supplies industry.
- What Benefits Can Pharma and Medical Supplies Businesses Gain from ERP Software?
- Which ERP Functions Are Best Suited to Pharma and Medical Supplies Businesses?
If the emergence of COVID-19 taught us anything, it’s that readiness and adaptability are essential within key industries like pharma and medical supply. Pharmaceutical businesses that had previously invested in next-gen technologies such as ERP were well placed when the pandemic took hold, with such platforms affording greater control and transparency within high-demand supply chains.
Now, in what we all hope is the final stretches of the pandemic, what benefits can medical supply businesses stand to gain from investing in ERP software? Let’s take a closer look.
- Efficiency and speed – Speed is of the essence within the pharma sector, and outdated systems risk inefficiencies that can leave demand outstripping supply. With a centralised database and unified workflows, ERP systems drive speed and efficiency across the entirety of your supply chain, helping to support a fast-moving supply infrastructure.
- Automation – One of the key merits of modern ERP software is the level of automation it brings to otherwise time-consuming manual processes. Intuitive interfaces and automated controls afford total efficiency and control, freeing teams from time-intensive work and allowing you to reallocate resources to more value-add areas.
- Advanced inventory management – The pace at which pharma and medical supply businesses have continued to deliver essential goods and equipment to frontline health workers throughout the pandemic has been hugely impressive. ERP and business management software has played a key role in this success, allowing for seamless inventory management that aids efficient order purchasing, fulfilment, and trouble-free logistics. ERP systems offer advanced stock management and forecasting functionality along with supports to optimally manage supply lead times, thus supporting robust order processing and efficient, timely delivery.
- Cloud connectivity – Modern ERP systems provide full cloud connectivity, which offers a range of benefits for medical supply businesses. Your team are better connected through the cloud, with remote and in-field personnel able to access all the controls and information they need away from the office. Data control and security are also enhanced, with a cloud-supported database supporting faster and more secure access to remote or multi-site teams.
- Pinpoint accuracy – From quality control to research and development; pharmaceutical supply companies need the assurance of absolute accuracy and traceability across all business functions. In an industry that demands quality and reliability, healthcare suppliers have zero room for error when it comes to providing the very best equipment and products. Offering functionality such as batch tracking, advanced stock management, detailed audit trails and real-time order processing updates, ERP software can aid accuracy and precision, ensuring full traceability and quality assurance at every stage of the supply chain.
ERP systems aren’t created equal. For medical supply businesses seeking to invest in the software, this can make selecting the appropriate platform a challenge – with both off-the-shelf and bespoke solutions offering different features and varying day-to-day functionality
To steer you towards the right ERP system for your business’ needs, we’ve compiled a list of functions that provide the most value-add benefits for the pharma and medical supply industry.
- Advanced Regulatory Compliance Features – Medical supply businesses are subject to rigorous industry compliance, so ERP software supports this with additional features that simplify regulatory fulfilment, including accurate data-keeping and ready access to detailed specifications
- Batch Tracking and Traceability – Quality is of the essence within the pharma supplies industry, so an ERP system with full batch tracking capabilities is a must. Such technology affords total supply chain transparency, simplifying QA and order fulfilment processes.
- Bonded Stocking – Smart location and multi-site warehousing features make it much easier to control bonded and general stock. An ERP system with bonded stocking functionality can aid accuracy and drive efficiency throughout your inventory chain.
- Data Analytics – Drive efficiencies, simplify decision-making, and allocate resources with the help of ERP-supported real-time data analytics. All business functions can benefit from enhanced data insights, helping to achieve greater profitability, accuracy, and efficiency.
- Predictive Stock Management – Having the right stock at the right time is essential in the fast-moving medical supplies landscape. Predictive stock management simplifies replenishment and procurement, aiding distribution and fulfilment while maintaining quality and accuracy across multi-site warehousing operations.
- EDI and Integration – Integrating new and existing systems and applications is what makes ERP software such a flexible solution for progressive pharma suppliers. Supporting advanced analytics and robust logistics, your chosen ERP system should support all levels of integration across every business function.
- Integrated CRM – An integrated CRM system presents a powerful tool within a wider ERP infrastructure, ensuring full alignment between client management and inventory controls. Of course, one of the main attributes of integrated CRM functionality is enhanced sales and marketing, with the system affording smart customer data insights and remarketing capabilities.
- Integrated ecommerce – Whether you operate a b2b or b2c ecommerce site, it’s crucial that your online store is integrated fully with your ERP solution. This will ensure you can optimally fulfil orders and keep your website updated with live customer pricing and stock info. All modern, distribution-focused ERP solutions will offer their own ecommerce solution but should also offer REST API integration services should you need to integrate your existing web store to your ERP solution.
As technology developments continue to expand and enhance the medical and pharma supplies industry, it is important that your technology foundation layer, your ERP solution, is fit-for-purpose. We hope this guide steers you to an informed decision on the type of ERP system that aligns with your needs, but if you’re in any doubt, the experienced team at Intact is here to help.
Offering a future-ready, distribution focused ERP solution to businesses like iMed Healthcare, Clear Pharmacy, HealthXchange, Dental Supplies & Equipment, we can offer a solution that meets your individual requirements. Our ERP solution, Intact iQ, is developed with the future in mind, making it the perfect vehicle with which to grow and elevate your business.