ERP implementation

Pharma Pharmaceuticals deploys Epicor ERP

Pharma Pharmaceuticals deploys Epicor ERP

Epicor Software Corporation, a global provider of industry-specific enterprise software, has announced that Pharma Pharmaceutical Industries (Pharma)—a leader in the kingdom’s pharmaceutical services industry—has implemented Epicor ERP to enhance data capture and archiving capabilities, optimise operational efficiencies, and guarantee on-time delivery to customers.
Pharma brings together business leaders and healthcare veterans to offer services to the Saudi pharmaceutical industry that include branding, marketing and sales, warehousing and logistics, facilities management, and regulatory compliance consultancy.
The company’s international reach demanded a new approach to technology to ensure it remained a leader in the new global digital economy. It embarked upon a bold digital transformation journey, with a robust ERP platform as the planned keystone.
“We didn’t have an ERP platform in place and relied on a paper system to manage each department’s activity,” said Tariq Kayyali, quality unit director and ERP project manager, Pharma Pharmaceuticals Industries, whose team of stakeholders focused on linking and integrating department transactions to reduce the time taken to locate vital archived data.
Errors in starting materials and the resulting mix-ups and delays in order deliveries became significant business risks to the company, pre-digitization. The risk of using incorrect or expired material in the manufacturing process was compounded by the company’s inability to accurately control all its assets and due to its tendency to produce inaccurate reports due to manual compilation.
With the support of trusted Epicor partner, Full Insight Technology Solutions (FITS), Pharma deployed a platform that was easy to install, user-intuitive, and provided tight-fit functionality with its needs. Over a period of 10 months, the system was rolled out to 15 users, who all reported ease of use and unprecedented accuracy.
Switching to Epicor ERP has allowed Pharma to smoothly link and integrate transactions across all departments and enhance accuracy in operations and inventory control. Strict audit trails now allow every critical transaction to be traced—to the user, date, and time of action—allowing Pharma to closely monitor related business impacts. Labelling problems have also been overcome, by enabling greater control over purchased and manufactured parts.
“We ended up saving about 30 percent of unnecessary warehouse-team transactions and managed to reduce the time taken to find or track historical data records or transactions, from hours or days to seconds or minutes,” said Kayyali. “We also reduced the risk of mix-up and eliminated the possibility Pharma Pharmaceuticals deploys Epicor ERP to streamline processes and optimise service delivery of using an invalid or expired part as a starting material—which is critical in the pharma industry.”
Having a validated ERP system helps us meet the expectations and compliance requirements of medicinal product agencies, both in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and around the world.”
“Remaining relevant in the digital economy is no minor feat,” added Amel Gardner, regional vice president, Middle East, Africa and India (MEAI), Epicor.
“Competitors—especially new market entrants—will not be using manual processes for critical functions. It is therefore vital that all firms digitise as much as possible. Epicor ERP will give Pharma a strong platform for growth and enable it to easily comply with granular industry requirements. The platform is designed to fit every business like a glove, delivering automation and operational enhancements that pave the way to true digital transformation.” — Tradearabia News Service


Data V Tech is proud to be one of the leading ERP vendors in the Asia Pacific. We have implemented Epicor ERP for many enterprises and organizations in Vietnam and China, particularly in the pharmaceutical industry. For direct consultation, please feel free to contact us.

Learn about Epicor ERP in the wake of COVID-19 and get ready for the future.

Check out Why SMEs choose Epicor?

Electronic Data Interchange

Electronic Data Interchange – an Afterthought When Implementing ERP

Companies implementing an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system will spend days, weeks or months testing the new system, having different departments enter data. While this is great in getting all departments familiar with the new system, but if your largest customers send their orders electronically, you need to spend as much if not more time testing all the electronic orders.

In the early stages of electronic data interchange (EDI) adoption, companies used the 80/20 rule. The rule was that 80% of their business was done with 20% of their largest customers. Whether companies implemented EDI with these customers as a competitive advantage or were mandated to do so, 80% of their business is done electronically. Yet in almost every ERP implementation, EDI was always an afterthought. Why? If 80% of a company’s business is done electronically, why don’t they see the value in EDI testing at the beginning of an ERP implementation? Most companies do not realize the importance of EDI in their business. Because of their information technology (IT) department manages EDI, it is thought of as an IT function only. They don’t stop to think that 80% of their orders come to them via EDI. Therefore, if EDI fails in the new ERP system, 80% of its business could be impacted.

Waiting until the end of the testing cycle to test EDI will guarantee an ERP implementation failure. Why? Let’s start at the beginning.

Your EDI customers are almost always your largest customers, therefore, their business is extremely valuable to your business. If your ERP implementation fails, their business may be in jeopardy. Most of your largest customers require not only sending their orders to you electronically but also require the corresponding documents to be sent and received electronically. This means that many if not all of the following documents must be able to loaded or be generated from/to the ERP system and sent/received. Purchase orders, purchase order acknowledgment, purchase order change, purchase order change acknowledgment, advanced ship notice, invoice, warehouse inventory and withdrawal, shipping and remittance advice are part of the main document of the electronic order-to-cash process. You need to know what documents your customers require and make sure they are included in your testing scripts and cycles.

When EDI is not the critical path in your ERP implementation, you will sink more time and money into the project that you planned. These “sinkholes” can be avoided if you plan for them early.

Sinkhole 1 – Wait to contact your customers

Most ERP implementation projects fail because customers are not contacted early in the implementation. Rather than working with their customers, companies believe it is better not to alert the customers of their ERP implementation, but instead, wait until they are absolutely sure they are ready to publicize their production date. Yet, every ERP implementation will have delays; production dates changes several times. Communication with your customers will always work in your favor, not against you.

Also, alert the customers of your plans early in the project. Especially your EDI customers. You need their cooperation, their testing requirements, their testing timeline, and most importantly, how much notice they need before you can begin to test with them. If you wait until you start testing to contact your customers, you may find out they are also implementing a large project and will not be able to test with you for months. Their requirements may dictate that they will not accept any production documents from your new system unless you do a full cycle test. Can you afford to delay your implementation for months for one or more of your customers?

If you want to minimize the testing time with your EDI customers, start to save production data from your current system. During your system integration testing (SIT) testing phases, you can use the saved data to test your new system. This can avoid delays in your project because you don’t have to wait for customers to send you data; you can be using “live data” early in your testing cycles.

Sinkhole 2 – Your customer will change their requirement to fit your schedule

You are now in your SIT2 testing and it is going well. You found several errors but were able to fix them and continue testing. Regression testing caught a few more problems, but your core team found ways to resolve them and continued to test. However, you have waited until almost the end of your SiT2 testing before starting to test with your EDI customers. One of your largest customers sends information on their order that requires your invoice. You did not account for this in the ERP system. What do you do now? Your ERP consultant tells you “that’s not standard in our ERP system; you need to get your customer to change their requirements.” What do you think the chances of that happening? This is one of your largest customers. They have been doing EDI for years with most if not all of their suppliers. All of their suppliers, including you, have accommodated these requirements to date. Do you think they will make changes only for you? They may agree to make the changes, but would not be able to do so for months, thus pushing your implementation date out months. Or, they may refuse to make the change because of the impact it would have on their system. If you don’t get their user acceptance, are you willing to lose their business? If you did your homework and document exceptions early in the process, you could have made the provision in the ERP system to handle this customer’s requirements. Now you run the risk of major delays because this change could have a snowball effect impacting many aspects of the ERP system.

Sinkhole 3 – Full cycle test incomplete

If your EDI customers send you electronic orders and require corresponding electronic documents sent to them, you must test the complete cycle. Don’t just test that the document was generated, but verify that it was generated correctly. Your customers may assess fees if your invoice is incorrect or the advanced ship notice (ASN) was not generated or late. If you saved off production EDI customer data, you can use this data to do a full cycle test. You can compare the production data to what was generated from your ERP tests. If they do not match, then the errors need to be resolved before you move on. If you have to make a major change to resolve the error, regression testing needs to occur. Don’t skip regression testing in order to stay on your project timeline; you will regret it. A successful implementation is more important than missing date on a project timeline.

In conclusion, avoid ERP sinkholes and do your homework. Start with your EDI customers. Most of your exceptions will be found here. Work with your customers early in your implementation project. Most importantly, set a reasonable timeline. Remember, if the timeline sounds too good to be true, it is.

Source: Karen Puchalsky

Data V Tech is proud to be one of the leading ERP vendors in the Asia Pacific. We have implemented Epicor ERP for many enterprises and organizations in Vietnam and China. With our experience, the electronic data interchange can take place smoothly. For direct consultation, please feel free to contact us.

wrong erp implementation

3 Steps to Take When Your ERP Implementation Goes Wrong

Clear communication around deliverables and expectations can salvage even the most frustrating ERP implementations for distributors.

In 20 years, I have witnessed more than 1,000 ERP implementations, and historically, they have had mixed results. For the past few years, I’ve conducted formal and informal surveys of companies that have recently gone live on their new ERP systems. Implementations that were challenged typically reported that their budgets are twice what they expected, and the process took twice as long. The most concerning thing I hear is that they received only 75% of the functionality they expected.

It’s safe to predict that following go-live of your new technology solution, you will feel you received less than expected.

For that reason, it’s reasonable that an approach should exist that seeks to answer the question, “What should be done when the project failed to deliver the success we anticipated?”

Rather than deciding you need to work around these frustrations, I encourage you to view the process of resolving them as the final stage in your ERP implementation. Ironing out flaws in the implementation is an important step.

You may find that your distribution company comes out even stronger on the other side.

The following steps are designed to help further enhance the project deliverables.


1. Review Project Documentation

Documents produced during the sales process, such as quotations, invoices, and scopes of work should be carefully evaluated for promises and expectations. Additional documents such as blueprints, special scopes of work and change orders created during the implementation should also be collected.

From these documents, assemble a simple list of expected deliverables. The internal project team should mark each line item on the list as delivered or not delivered including any pertinent notes.

This list is important because one must be able to discuss the results with a business-like demeanor and in a factual manner, not void of emotion, but certainly with appropriate degrees of passion and commitment.

Now, do something truly difficult. Consider the possibility that what you want has flaws.

One distributor discovered that a large number of change-orders had been verbally initiated by departments, most of which were automation, macros, and time-savers intended to replicate the functionality of their legacy ERP which had been customized heavily over many years. Management’s desire was to use the new system in a more out-of-the-box manner. Eliminating many of these items greatly decreased their open items list.

This bit of introspection should be thought of as a standard step in the implementation process. Working closely with an experienced consultant, who now is well aware of your business is a great benefit and will help to place focus on what’s truly important. There is no failure when you discover along the way that old processes are no longer needed. In fact, continuing the art of process review is essential in order to obtain your goals.


2. Meet with Representatives of the Implementation Consulting Team and Executive Sponsors

Once you’ve fine-tuned your open items list you will want to meet with your project partners.

Here’s an agenda for that meeting that will help you work together productively:

  1. Gain agreement on your assessment of the deliverables.
  2. Review the status of each line item on the open items list.
  3. Negotiate!
  4. Set a date for the next project review meeting for this committee.
  5. Recommit to your consulting agency and consultants — or not.

While I’m highly confident that the vast majority of consulting agencies and consultants would appreciate and cooperate fully with the approach above, it’s possible that the relationship is damaged to a degree beyond recovery.

In these rarest of occasions, you will need to locate and select a new agency in order to move forward.

Decide quickly to recommit to your current consulting agency or select another. This decision is imperative in order to continue making progress in any reasonable time-frame. It can be a difficult decision because, on the one hand, you have a significant investment of time, knowledge and money with your current consulting partner — but, you may have simply worn each other out.

Keep in mind, in almost every scenario it is beneficial to continue the current relationship. Bringing a new consultant or a team up to speed will require even more resources with the hope they have some sort of magic bullet.

This perspective holds true even if you have been live on your new ERP for several months. Every successful relationship whether personal or business experiences ups and downs. The best partnerships fight for success together and refuse to give up on the other side. The rise and fall together. The grass is not always greener.


3. Communicate the New Plan

For the members of the executive leadership team, the plan this process has focused on professionalism and was conducted in an atmosphere purposefully designed to not let emotions overly impact the outcomes or the ongoing relationship with the other members of the team. Still, this is your business, your future, your livelihood, and the outcomes are highly impacting on a personal as well as corporate level. Everyone deserves to know what’s going to be done to make certain a satisfactory outcome will be the result.

In some appropriate means, be that an all-hands meeting or internal social media like Yammer, or an email from the president perhaps, bring everyone on board and recruit them into the process. The best medicine for everyone is to know that leadership has their back and in working on their behalf to fulfill the promise of technology.

Too often we fail to engage when disappointment occurs and avoid the conflict required to reverse the failure. For reasons not understood, we feel that conflict is worse than failure. It should be remembered that conflict resolution does not automatically imply a confrontational style of resolution. The style mentioned above could be described as collaborative.

When customers and partners work together, they achieve success together and shatter the 75% ceiling.

Source: Carl Lewis


For further information about ERP implementation, please feel free to contact us. You are more than welcome at Data V Tech