Avoiding ERP Implementation Pitfalls in Life Sciences — What You Need to Know

On June 13, 2023

Here are seven ways you can ease the pain of deploying an Enterprise Resource Planning system that modernizes your operations and ensures compliance with regulations worldwide.

Deploying an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution can be a daunting task for most Life Sciences organizations. Generally requiring a serious investment of time and money, ERP projects are among the largest technology commitments a Life Sciences business will ever be asked to make—often by order of magnitude.

Because enterprise-wide projects don’t happen very often, organizations typically lack the required experience to make an ERP implementation successful. This is especially true of Life Sciences companies, which have been notoriously slow to the digital transformation party.

Without a sound strategy and proper coordination, affected teams at organizations implementing or upgrading ERP systems can get overwhelmed, work at cross purposes, and create unnecessary friction. One poor decision early on can have a domino effect that leads to blown budgets, missed deadlines, and even total project failure.

We’ve all heard the horror stories—ERP implementation failures have led to worker revolts, the resignation of high-level executives, and hundreds of millions of dollars worth of budget overages. These are the kinds of catastrophes that keep business leaders up at night, especially at Life Sciences organizations that have strict regulations to follow. Even though regulatory agencies encourage digitalization, they are unforgiving if data gets lost or corrupted in the transition.

Fortunately, the AX for Pharma team has a proven track record of implementing ERP systems for pharmaceutical companies, biotech firms, and medical device manufacturers. Our clients are usually up and running in as little as six months, with no time-consuming or expensive customizations required.

How do we make it so easy? Our suite of modular solutions, known collectively as AX for Pharma 365™, is native to Microsoft Dynamics 365, one of the most powerful and secure ERP systems available.

What’s more, we’ve applied extensive Life Sciences expertise to create a compliant system that modernizes Pharma Supply Chain Management, Advanced Quality Management, Advanced Warehouse Management, Weighing & Dispensing, Clinical Supplies, and Enterprise Asset Management.

Whether you use our solution or not, here are seven important tips you can follow to ensure that your next ERP upgrade or implementation is successful:

1. Define and document your goals and objectives.

Articulate operational and business requirements and determine key performance indicators that will define success in advance.
AX for Pharma’s extensive experience with Life Sciences organizations, which has led to the creation of powerfully efficient templates and accelerators, can streamline this process dramatically. We can help you map business processes and goals, test solutions, and create the necessary documentation.

2. Get buy-in from all stakeholders.

An ERP system has an impact across your entire company, so make sure you involve key people throughout your divisions and departments before decisions are made. The best surprise is no surprise!
AX for Pharma can provide you with industry-specific references that will help your key stakeholders—from the top down—understand the implementation process and appreciate the benefits.

3. Follow a proven implementation methodology.

Understand the process in advance and familiarize yourself with the steps you need to take to do things right. This includes setting up an isolated test environment so you can make sure everything works before you turn off your old system.
AX for Pharma’s GxP Fast Track™ implementation is the result of our deep sector knowledge gained from decades of experience with Life Sciences clients worldwide.

4. Secure the right resources.

Can your IT team handle an ERP implementation? What are your strengths and weaknesses in this area? Rather than rely on a single individual to handle it all, put together a team of experts who can help each other keep things on track.
AX for Pharma’s experts—from project managers to architects and consultants—and our global partner ecosystem can take the implementation burden off your internal teams.

5. Find a partner you can trust.

You want an implementation partner who’s been in the trenches with the same kinds of companies as yours. This is especially important when it comes to highly regulated industries like Life Sciences.
The reviews AX for Pharma receives from clients are the best validation of our comprehensive Life Sciences ERP solution. Dr. Manuela Pfeifer, General Manager at EVER Pharma, said that “AX for Pharma is the only partner worldwide with a deep understanding of the pharmaceutical industry and a fully integrated, scalable solution for pharma manufacturing and distribution.”

6. Get your data in order.

The adage is true: garbage in, garbage out. And as much as you don’t want to do it, cleaning up your data in advance of your ERP implementation will save a tremendous amount of time and hassle later. This means eliminating duplicate data and establishing consistent definitions, formatting, and practices across systems and organizational entities.
AX for Pharma offers tools to help create, validate, and distribute master data, to reduce risks, ensure the smooth setup of security and compliance policies, and easily monitor and optimize integrations.

7. Communicate

Being transparent and keeping communication channels open is probably the most important thing you can do to ensure success with your ERP project. Be proactive about providing detailed information. Answer all questions that come in, address small problems right away, and follow through as issues are resolved. And finally, don’t forget to prepare adequate training so your people can use the new tools you’re providing them. Keeping people in the loop will keep enthusiasm high and facilitate widespread adoption.
AX for Pharma offers educational resources and flexible training options to match every learning style, so you can get the most out of your Life Sciences ERP solution.

If you’re a Life Science organization that needs help getting the advanced ERP system you deserve, the AX for Pharma team would be happy to help get you up and running fast and affordably in a fully compliant way. To learn more about the most complete ERP solution built for Life Sciences companies, contact us today.