Preparing for Growth: Biopharmaceutical Company Overcomes the Limits of Legacy ERP

The Ultra team partnered with a biopharmaceutical company that was moving through stage 3 trials for a new drug. It was clear that the company needed to move away from the limits of legacy ERP.

As we worked with the team on current state business process mapping,  the analysis showed a need to replace outdated and unsupported ERP to enable the company’s rapid growth and to automate key business processes.

business process definition and improvement, technology selection and implementation, and the development of a comprehensive IT strategy.

We’ll just summarize the highlights here.  For the full story, read the full case study.

The Starting Point

When the organization first engaged Ultra Consultants, the company was in the pre-commercial phase to bring its first drug to market. The company’s legacy enterprise solution was no longer supported.

To overcome the limits of legacy ERP, our analysis uncovered the need for a scalable ERP solution and associated improvements in key business processes.

Using its established ERP selection methodology, Ultra began with a business process improvement initiative to identify the key drivers for project success and value to the organization. The project was multi-faceted with a focus on:

  • Business process definition and improvement to include a maturing of business processes as the company grew from 20 employees to 500 as a commercial entity
  • Overall IT infrastructure evaluation and strategy development
  • Technology selection and implementation management

Working closely with company management, Ultra established a steering committee and core project team.

“With strong business partnering, Dave Saunders of Ultra Consultants was very effective at assessing the existing capabilities within our team and offering guidance on how to both augment and adjust skills to ensure the overall project objectives were met with minimal risk,” commented the Head of IT.

A Trusted Advisor

The 11-month timeline from the initial business process mapping to the go-live date for the first stage of the implementation plan went smoothly.

The Ultra team supported the core project team with IT and enterprise solution expertise, business process transformation strategies and solution selection/implementation.

In all, Ultra led the effort to overcome the limits of legacy ERP.

Overtime, the Ultra team members coordinated additional functionality and consulting requests and have served as trusted advisors. The team assisted the company with related IT and project strategies, including staffing, outsourcing support/hosting, and financial operations.

As part of ERP process improvement services,  the biggest project successes were classified as:

  • Core financial functional requirements were delivered on time and under budget. Despite limited resources, this was accomplished due to the intensive effort put forth by everyone on the project team in combination with a continual focus on risk management, scope control, and effective phasing of the project implementation.
  • Supply chain future state was established.
  • First qualified environment was implemented.

The project team concludes that it was an effective partnership with Ultra Consultants. The company matured its IT and related business functions with an ERP solution that meets its unique needs.

Value of the Ultra Engagement

Serving as  business improvement consultants, Ultra’s involvement delivered strategic value to the project team. Among the factors assuring success was the team effort and a clear understanding of:

  • The existing ERP solution was no longer supported and needed to be replaced.
  • The new system had to be validated and able to support Sarbanes-Oxley, Sunshine Act and FDA compliance.
  • The company expected extreme growth with both dynamic and rapid change.
  • Business processes needing more formal definition included accounts payable processing, approval processes and more.
  • A key goal was to improve forecasting and inventory planning.
  • The company required more timely reporting capabilities.

Moving Past The Limits of Legacy ERP

The Ultra team supported the ERP project team with IT and enterprise solution expertise, business process transformation strategies and solution selection/implementation.

The biopharma project team obtained value from Ultra’s involvement including:

  • Guidance during ERP Evaluation
  • Trusted advisory services during ERP Selection
  • ERP Implementation management to reduce time to value

Software selection and implementation processes often present challenges of their own. To steer you around trouble and help you drive success, Ultra’s experts compiled a list of pain points and solutions to be aware of as you embark on this journey.

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Jeff is the founder of Ultra Consultants, a well-known voice in the ERP consulting industry and an expert on ERP solutions for discrete and process manufacturers. Over the last 40-plus years, his companies have helped more than 2,000 organizations improve their business processes, select ERP software and implement advanced solutions.

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