Software for life sciences companies
Your life sciences company faces a unique set of challenges. Whether you are looking for a system to optimize your manufacturing process, manage clinical trials, or assist with quality control, there is a system for you. You can choose to go with a fully-integrated system to manage your entire business or a product that addresses just a single need. Whatever you require, there are options available.
What business challenges do life sciences companies face?
Life sciences companies face a complex set of business questions, including:
- How do you efficiently, effectively and accurately manage traceability?
- How do you handle collaboration?
- What must be done to satisfy quality control and testing standards?
- How do you ensure that you are compliant with regulations?
- What can be done to manage the production of products?
- How can financial performance be derived from operational activities?
Typical benefits of life sciences ERP systems
ERP (enterprise resource planning) software is designed to provide a comprehensive software approach to business management. A life sciences oriented ERP will provide a number of important benefits, including:
- Traceability. The importance of traceability for biotechnology companies is hard to underestimate. Everything from products to documents to test results must be tracked. What’s unique about life sciences companies is that it’s not enough to track types of products or materials—there must be tracking down to the individual item or batch/lot level. Serial number tracking, movement histories, process tracking, lot/batch tracing—each is a critical requirement for the biotechnology business, and something that may not be found in programs designed for other business types. Traceability in asset management modules will allow you to track maintenance work, calibration, and even what tests equipment has performed.
Support for Collaboration. It is likely that no task in your company is completed without input from several individuals. It is teamwork that formulates products, completes clinical trials and runs quality tests. That being said, the need for teamwork and collaboration in a biotechnology organization creates difficulties in answering the following questions: “Who performed what and when?” and “What’s the next step and who has to complete it?” Document management functionalities are an important component of the a full software system for biotechnology companies. With a document management program, you will be able to share documents, manage collaboration, and track updates/revisions to specific files. Workflow management features allow you to easily define plans for the collaboration tasks and assign who must complete the next steps.
Collaborative project management capabilities are particularly important if you are working directly with clients or business partners. Advanced collaboration functionality allows your clients to log-in to the project management system to view data gathered from collaboration efforts. This can include information such as project status or progress, test results, and anticipated completion dates. Similarly, if you manufacture items, collaboration features will allow your manufacturing staff to move through the manufacturing run helping your technicians monitor and control the quality of the items being produced.
- Strong quality control and test management. Whether you’re doing R&D work or need to perform quality control testing with manufactured products, effectively handling sample testing is critical. Packages designed specifically for use by life sciences companies are created with this thought in mind. If you’re performing quality control tests or running clinical trials, the software will allow you to plan your sampling. You can then group samples by shared attributes. After testing is completed you can view test results by sample and group. With qualitative assessment of samples you can ensure that your products are meeting predetermined standards. Once tests are completed you’ll be able to save the data for future reference.
- Compliance Automation. Your company has to deal with a number of regulatory compliance issues. Luckily a system designed for life sciences companies will automate many of the administrative tasks associated with these compliance issues. Many of these systems will contain the required documents for organizations like the FDA. Integration with other features such as quality control will allow you to use the data acquired from sample testing to automate much of the process of compiling these compliance documents. Through workflow management you will be able to setup a complete workflow for compliance issues and track your progress through the project. You’ll then be able to assign tasks to individuals, sign off on approvals electronically, and create a full audit trail showing who did what and when.
- Financial Accountability. The aforementioned features all focus on what can best be described as “operations management.” But, where does accounting fit into the puzzle? Obviously your company has accounting needs. If you have an accounting system in place, there are many life science ERP systems that will integrate with your existing software. Other packages will contain accounting as an integrated feature. With integrated accounting functionality your billing and accounts payable processing can be directly linked to your operations management. Whatever your desired setup there is a solution to meet your requirements.
- Centralized Reporting. Finally there is reporting… the summation of all your tracking and data gathering efforts. When implementing a life sciences ERP system one of the major benefits is industry-specific reporting. This will allow you to produce industry specific report for things like quality control results, trial test results, project status, financial performance, and more.
Unique requirements for lab services companies
As a lab services organization providing services to clients is obviously at the heart of your operations. In your case, the benefits of work order management functionality cannot be understated. You can use work orders to schedule upcoming service work, maintain a detailed service history, and track materials used in providing your services. You will also be able to setup regularly repeated processes further automating your operations. Data gathered from tracking your service work will then allow you to analyze and improve your processes
Unique requirements for manufacturing companies
If your life sciences company is involved in manufacturing, you put an increased emphasis on managing products and processes. Systems designed for your manufacturing company will allow you to track product formulas and inventory levels, set manufacturing schedules, manage your supply chain, and trace products from raw materials to the specific finished good they produced using lot or serial numbers. A life sciences ERP package will control the entirety of your production operations in addition to handling quality testing, compliance, collaboration, and traceability.
Unique requirements for research companies
As a research company you will likely need more control in the areas of project management & costing. The costing functionality will allow you to track all the costs for each research project. The cost information will then ensure that you are not exceeding project investments or budgets. The project management and collaboration functionality will allow you schedule project tasks and coordinate equipment or labor to perform the tasks. This will ensure that your project tasks are being completed on time and in the correct order thereby keeping your entire project on track.
Typical modules required by life sciences company
Below you will find a list of modules or applications found in life sciences software. Depending upon your specific operations you may need all of these or just a few of them.
- Accounts payable
- Accounts receivable
- General ledger
- Project management
- Project/job costing
- Document management
- Asset or equipment management
- Quality control
- Inventory control
- Materials resource planning (MRP)
- Work order management
- Purchasing & supply chain management
- Human resources
Taking the next steps
Finding software for your life sciences organization can be difficult and time consuming. It is especially difficult when you take into account that different life sciences companies will have different operations and hence different needs. Let us save you some time with our free software matching service. Through a short needs-analysis conversation we will gather your specific requirements and match you with only options that will meet your specific requirements. Get your search started today!