Brian Stein, CEO, SYSPRO USA Redefining the ERP Landscape
Manufacturing is an onerous job where criticality steps in much before the actual process and exists long after it ceases. And, when it comes to the pharmaceutical industry, complexities simply amplify, many folds. For a pharmaceutical manufacturer, documentation of every possible detail, even as minute as the storage temperature of materials, is not only paramount to ensure product quality, but a mandate of regulatory bodies as well. Such granular requirements are plainly impossible for spreadsheets or legacy applications to accommodate. This is where the utility of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) wins big.
Riding on the wave of advantages ERP solutions grant, the crossing of its market from multi-million dollar mark to multi-billion dollar industry was rather swift. Currently marked roughly at around $20 billion this industry is expected to double in size by this decade end. A prevalent trend, however, is that a sizeable lot of the incumbents offer wide ranged products to companies of all sizes, while only a handful have managed to keep their focus on specific markets. Founded in 1978, Costa Mesa based SYSPRO falls in this small band of incumbents, with the target market being small- to mid-sized manufacturers and wholesale distributors. Although it targets various verticals, it focuses mainly on machinery & equipment, food & beverage, electronics, and medical devices. This narrowing down of vision on a restricted customer base means that it knows what its customers are really looking for.
An excerpt from an interview given by SYSPRO USA CEO, Brian Stein narrates the above idea, which also is their company philosophy, “What we as software providers sometimes think are the very hottest features/functions and capabilities don’t always align with what our customers ultimately think is most important. And that’s despite all the voluminous research we all do while asking the hard questions such as, ‘what do you want?’ and then trying to build a product to match that documented list.” But, he adds, taking cue from a song his kids used to play, “Maybe we should ask what they ‘REALLY, REALLY WANT’ when we’re compiling that list.”
Stein’s idea reflects through the maturity SYSPRO’s ERP software has gained over the years and on the current state of its solution which boasts of presence in around 62 different countries. Additionally, its meticulously devised corporate strategy has been a huge success, translating into an inspiring 98 percent customer retention rate.
“It is difficult to effectively measure the ROI, since we don’t know what opportunities would have been lost without SYSPRO,” notes David Soong, IT Manager of one of SYSPRO’s long standing customers, New Zealand Pharmaceuticals.
While the SYSPRO’s software covers the entirety of a pharmaceutical manufacturing process, it allows for seamless synchronization between different techniques such as, manufacturing-to-order and -to stock. SYSPRO ERP is designed for core manufacturing competencies to ensure a linear improvement plot over time. It allows companies to optimally manage their raw materials and finished goods inventories; ensures the integrity of cost and profit calculation for bid processes; and enables efficient management and execution of re-scheduling activities when business priorities and plans change. It allows a manufacturer to not only plan future materials and labor requirements, but also track the same against the estimated values and respond accordingly. However, all these features apart, one aspect of the software that grabs the most interest is its capability to perform “what-if ” modeling on material, labor, and routing costs that can help manufacturers anticipate operations undulations in unforeseen conditions. Pharmaceutical manufacturers can also leverage the software to control product formula changes, and manage product recalls and the highly variable pricing and discount structures in international markets.
The software is highly flexible to interface with other systems and applications a client or its suppliers and customers may use, to ensure better control and operational performance. Able to smoothly operate in high-volume single server instances, the software can also hold its poise when deployed in multi-national organizations that may have hundreds of subsidiaries.
In addition to the underlying features, SYSPRO brings extra benefits to clients through its approach of providing the solution in modules that allows companies to gradually scale according to their needs. The modules are carefully crafted to cover an entire manufacturing process through disparate units that can work independently, or as a unified system if required.
All the benefits, however, are futile until the provider offers suitable options of deployment that clients deem best suited for their organizations. SYSPRO being an eminent player in its space follows suit and allows its ERP software to be deployed on-premise or in the cloud, with the options of Software-as-a-Service, Infrastructure-as-a-Service and hosting on cloud platforms to choose from. Recently, the company, going by the rising demand for mobility, has upped its ante by deciding to roll out its device-and platform-agonistic mobile product, SYSPRO Espresso, which provides access to business information on-the-go.
SYSPRO takes multi-geographical deployment to the next level through its support for multi-company, -currency, and –language
It is available through SYSPRO App Store and can be customized for the appearance and experience a client prefers. Its applications can work offline with the ability to synchronize later when a connection is available.
Here, as the cloud factor comes into the equation, companies becoming speculative of the security defenses SYSPRO has to offer is only understandable.
The company agrees to the reality that “data is the lifeblood of any organization and the integrity and security of that data is a top priority.” SYSPRO tailors the security detail to be as simple or as finely tuned as the client’s operating environment requires, covering aspects such as, controlled access, data visibility, audit trails, and electronic signatures. The security features can be set per operator against transactions, activities, and even fields.
"The solution is available as modules that can work independently, or as a unified system if required"
While the primary, tangible benefits on SYSPRO’s payroll are easily visible in the ERP software it has on the shelf, the company does have some secondary aspects that its clients talk about. One that tops that list is the compelling total cost of ownership SYSPRO delivers compared to its competition. Next is its global reach that takes multi-geographical deployment to the next level through its support for multi-company, -currency, and –language. Finally comes the company’s exclusive focus on a single product and continued innovation around the same that has helped SYSPRO mature organically, rather than through acquisitions. And, the linear growth has leveraged its clients well. Gordon Rogers, CFO at BioVectra states that amidst the biopharmaceutical market’s increasing regulatory control and need for BioVectra to place greater controls on production, inventory, quality control processes, and data, SYSPRO emerged as their first choice. “We did research other software packages, but SYSPRO was the only one that effectively combined the manufacturing controls we needed with the financial reporting that we felt was important.”
While the efforts of SYSPRO team are evident in the accolades and the clientele it has to its name, the task is anything but simple. In the last four years alone, the company has bagged several awards and recognitions, and over the course of its existence has clocked over 15,000 licensed customers. And, judging by the past and present posture, and the commitment SYSPRO harbors for its clients, the count can only be anticipated to rise in the years to come.