It’s one of those strange things that life throws up that, the more complicated the process, the more clarity the solution must have. In pharmaceutical companies, the workflow involved in both capital and operational expenditure processes can be extremely complicated; if the way workflow is managed is not crystal clear to management, money can leak from the organization like water from a running hose. Given that regulated markets like pharma and biosciences require higher investments to meet stringent standards, a faulty capital spend process can be disastrous.
Pharma’s Unique CapEx/OpEx Situation
What’s special about Pharma is that it isn’t only money that concerns drug manufacturers. All manufacturing companies and all distribution companies have steps to go through to gather approval for a purchase, whether that is for a piece of capital equipment or a batch of raw materials; not so many of them also have to deal with compliance. No industry has a network of people inside and outside the company who have to know what’s happening and that it’s happening correctly in a more wide-ranging way than pharmaceuticals.
Decisions regarding packaging, labelling and transport were complicated enough before the FDA introduced the DSCSA; they are even more so now. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the extent of oversight the FDA demands from anyone making drugs for human or animal consumption. Its influence runs through the whole company from the moment a scientist in the lab gets approval to work on a new project to the time a truckload of finished goods ends up in a warehouse or distribution center.
Those companies and those warehouses have to be chosen, negotiated with and contracted. That also goes for equipment suppliers, raw material suppliers, specialist printers – the list is long. All of that is why pharmaceutical companies need maximum capital spend and operational spend efficiency. We believe the only way to get that is to automate the process with workflow management.
Finding a Solution
Implementing workflow management in a complex environment can be challenging. Implementing a solution that is inflexible and can’t integrate with existing systems can turn experienced managers prematurely gray. What pharma companies need is a system that is intuitive and can be set up quickly by the people who are actually going to use it. Not having to involve IT can be a huge bonus.
And if you let users know that you’re considering a change in the way you handle procurement workflow from the beginning, the project is much more likely to yield a successful result. Users want a system that gives them confidence that no request, whether large or small, will fall through the cracks and disappear. They want to know that approval compliance standards are met and Finance will have an audit trail to back them up. They want to be able to check their outstanding requests 24/7 without having to send emails and make phone calls.
Adding workflow management to your capital spending process can provide the clarity and compliance confidence your company needs.