Genix Pharma Modernizes ERP for Future Growth
By Fred Donovan, Senior Editor, SAPinsider
Pakistan-based pharmaceutical firm Genix Pharma needed to modernize its ERP system to handle strong business growth, an increase in the number of customers, an expanded base of operations, and regulatory requirements.
The company wanted a state-of-the-art platform that would streamline its business processes, get more visibility into its manufacturing processes, handle the increased production volume, gain data insights to enable data-driven decision-making, and improve compliance.
“In early February, we held an executive committee meeting with the participation of department heads to discuss the future of the IT system. We decided that we needed to upgrade our ERP platform so that it integrates with all of the company’s functions and provides us with real-time information so that our decision-making would be data driven,” explains Sohail Sawani, Deputy Director of Supply Chain and IT at Genix Pharma.
Genix Pharma SAP S/4HANA Steering Committee: (from left to right) Zahid Mashood, Assistant General Manager, Information Technology; Faiz ul Haque, Deputy General Manager, Production; Muhammad Ashraf, General Manager, Quality Operations; Sohail Sawani, Deputy Director, Supply Chain and Information Technology; Khurram Ansari, General Manager, Finance; and Danish Qamar, Assistant Manager, Information Technology.
The company also decided that moving to a cloud-based system would provide several benefits, such as not having to buy and maintain IT hardware, automatic software updates, and 24/7 availability globally. However, it was concerned about the unreliability of local cloud hosting providers.
In addition, Genix Pharma had to consider regulatory requirements in choosing an ERP system and cloud hosting provider. Pharmaceutical firms face an array of regulations, both in their home countries and internationally. These regulations can add costs and complexity to any effort to upgrade IT systems.
According to a report by PwC, the pharmaceuticals industry is subject to greater regulatory scrutiny globally in the following areas: sales and marketing practices, drug price reporting, patient privacy, clinical operations, post-marketing drug safety reporting, and quality control of manufacturing operations.
This increased regulatory focus forces companies like Genix Pharma to implement robust compliance management programs designed to reduce risk, enhance management controls, and ensure compliance.
Sawani explains that his company has to ensure its processes and materials are documented. It also has to have a complete audit trail – from material ordering to receiving, manufacturing, and product delivery. This information needs to be kept for at least three years.
RISE with SAP
Genix Pharma examined other pharmaceutical companies’ ERP systems and narrowed the choice down to two to three solutions.
The company met with the local SAP team to discuss their options and decided to use RISE with SAP to transition to SAP S/4HANA Cloud because it was cloud based, provided the features it needed to handle its rapid growth, and saved it money on hardware and maintenance costs.
“You do not need to have servers. We don’t have to back up data and systems. We don’t have data crash issues. SAP signed with us a service level agreement (SLA) that committed to 99.9% system availability,” he says.
RISE with SAP also enabled Genix Pharma to accelerate its digital transformation by unifying its back-office environment, strengthening supplier governance and collaboration, and establishing a foundation for future growth.
“Before starting this journey, we held discussions with companies that had implemented SAP S/4HANA. We interviewed them to learn from their mistakes. We also had a very detailed discussion with our SAP partner, SuperNova Solutions, which gave us the methodology to implement SAP S/4HANA,” he relates.
Genix Pharma is one of the first companies in Pakistan to use RISE with SAP, according to Sawani.
Using RISE with SAP and partnering with SuperNova helped reduce the cost and complexity of upgrading its IT landscape. Genix Pharma was also able to connect SAP S/4HANA Cloud, private edition, with SAP Learning Hub and SAP Ariba Network.
“SuperNova studied our entire process for around three weeks. They worked with our team and did a gap analysis with us. They then developed a roadmap and worked with us as an implementation partner,” Sawani explains.
RISE with SAP provided Genix Pharma with analytical and enabling tools and services that helped accelerate its move to SAP S/4HANA Cloud and improve decision-making with data-driven insights, Sawani says.
Change management can be a challenge when implementing a new system like SAP S/4HANA Cloud. “When you implement change, there is not only a psychological change for the employees but also the changes in physical processes. We are working as a team to implement this change successfully,” Sawani says.
“We learned that change management is essential, and it is important to involve the people in your company. We asked their opinion and showed what was being provided by us and what was being provided by SAP,” he adds.
In addition, Sawani recommends that companies begin major IT projects such as implementing SAP S/4HANA Cloud with clear business goals and the “end in mind.” Genix Pharma developed a roadmap and set clear milestones for completing tasks and a deadline for completing the project.
Genix Pharma expects to go live with SAP S/4HANA Cloud in early 2022.
What Does This Mean for SAPinsiders?
Any large ERP implementation involves a significant amount of preparation and planning. What Genix Pharma found successful for them was the focus on their business needs, change management, and compliance. These are steps that you can take to achieve similar goals:
- Take the time to understand and evaluate your existing business processes. This assessment should include assessing how business processes will be impacted and transformed by your ERP project. Once you clearly understand the effect on your processes, prepare a roadmap with clear milestones and a deadline for project completion.
- Include a change management component in your IT project. Any significant change will have an impact on both employees and processes. Make sure to have a robust change management program in place to ensure that everyone is on board and participating in the project to ensure a smooth transition.
- Assess how compliance will impact your transformation. It is important to understand regulations that affect your business, how they have changed, and how they will affect the processes you are moving into your new ERP system. Compliance can often be neglected when an organization is involved in a transformation project with deadlines and cost constraints. Highlighting compliance during your project will avoid future regulatory issues.
Genix Pharma (Private) Limited
Headquarters: Karachi, Pakistan
Revenue: PKR 7.00 billion ($40 million)
- Privately held company founded in 2004 by Choudhry Muhammad Sharif Sahib
- More than 152,396 square feet of manufacturing facilities
- Exports pharmaceuticals to 26 countries in Asia and Africa
SAP solutions: SAP S/4HANA, RISE with SAP, SAP Learning Hub, and SAP Ariba Network