PCI Pharma ServicesIntegrify Helps PCI Pharma Services Alleviate Growing Pains

PCI Pharma Services is a global leader in drug development services, supporting their customers in each stage of the development and commercialization of drug products. PCI offers services from early stage drug development, analytical laboratory services, early phase clinical studies through large scale commercial launch, and ongoing commercial supply — and they are growing rapidly. In fact, PCI has acquired several companies in the last few years. While the acquisitions have proven positive for the company, they also began to exacerbate the challenges of capital expenditure approvals for a company that maintains significant year over year investment to provide best-in-class technologies for its clients

“We operate a global business and it was challenging for me to review and approve CapEx requests in different locations and timezones as I traveled between facilities across our supply network.”

According to Ken Richardson, Vice President of Engineering, “Initially, when we were smaller, it was easier to manage capital expenditure (CapEx) requests. We had a paper-based system and a couple of us on the executive team had to decipher the CapEx requests and approve them. But when we grew from 500 employees to a global company of nearly 3,000, the manual method just was not sustainable.”

“We operate a global business and it was challenging for me to review and approve CapEx requests in different locations and timezones as I traveled between facilities across our supply network.”

But that was only one aspect of the issue. Once a CapEx request was approved in the paper-based system, the actual documentation sat with the site that requested it. So when the Finance Department came to Ken asking for information about a capital expenditure, he’d have a go hunt it down from the location that requested it.

Ken realized that what he needed was a workflow system that allowed mobile approvals with a centralized and secure data storage for all the requests so he could be 100% audit-compliant at all times.

Internally, there were some who could not immediately see the value in such a system. Some suggested that PCI’s ERP system should be able to support the approval process. Ken knew better.

He was also convinced Integrify’s cloud solution was the right answer for easy implementation, ubiquitous access and no-headache maintenance.

After some internal dialogue, it was determined that an outside provider would be best positioned to support a software system for capital expenditure approvals. Fortunately, Richardson’s diverse background allowed him to develop a use case for what he wanted to see and how he wanted it to work. A few Web searches later, he found several vendors but was impressed with both the capabilities of Integrify and the responsiveness he received throughout the process. “That set the tone for my relationship with Integrify and it’s proven prescient,” said Richardson.

He was also convinced Integrify’s cloud solution was the right answer for easy implementation, ubiquitous access and no-headache maintenance.

Ken initially designed PCI’s CapEx request system so that only the Controllers at each site have access to make requests. He chose to do that, in collaboration with the Vice President of Finance, specifically for a more controlled launch of the approval system.

“That way every single entry into our system came directly from a finance person.” Richardson explained. That meant, at least initially, requesters would continue completing a paper form and submitting them to the site Controller, who would then enter the request into the system.

However, he plans to expand the “community” of requesters so that, for instance, a Director of Engineering can submit a request, but initially he felt PCI needed to have some structure and rigor at the outset to help identify potential changes to the system and ensure Finance signed off on using the system.

Richardson designed the first generation of PCI’s CapEx workflow with key data points to capture for each request including if the request was customer funded, if it involved an IT project, if it was a serialization project, etc.

Once the request is submitted, Richardson and any other approving stakeholders now have access to everything about the request 24×7 and wherever they may be that week so they can make an approval decision. He also has access to reports on the entire CapEx process. Currently, Richardson focuses on four different reports:

  • Approved Capital at Month End
  • Capital in Process at Month End
  • Year-to-date Approved requests
  • Year-to-date in Process approvals

He will be adding these reports by PCI’s different sites as well so as to show cycle times from request to approval, which will expose bottlenecks in the process.

After 60 days of using Integrify, Richardson reports that his internal customers are delighted with Integrify. As with any system rollout, the biggest concern is always if people will adopt the software and actually use it. “I had to sell the idea of everyone using a mobile, cloud-based automated workflow system and I wasn’t sure how it would be received.”

But Richardson reports that it went very smoothly. In fact, he relayed, “Our CEO approved his very first request from his mobile device.”

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