Starting a business is a thrill unlike any other. The potential of a big idea entices investors to believe, and fund, a vision. It’s an achievement few can claim. But venture success or failure will largely depend on HOW the idea is brought to market. The idea must become a business. Startup leaders must now successfully navigate unsexy operational decisions while avoiding pitfalls—and do so in real time. All while they launch products, develop sales and distribution channels, and keep abreast of both changing market forces and tight margins. And this is where businesses fail. Too many startups trust instinct and inefficient manual processes when they should be tapping technology to innovate and automate HOW their work happens. Investing in an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution is one of the best ways startups can ensure their growth trajectory stays on track. Let’s explore why ERP is so vital for startups, especially those in Life Sciences. And by Life Sciences, we mean Medical Device, Biotechnology, Pharmaceutical, Diagnostics, Biologics—all of the sectors that make up this complex and rapidly growing industry.
ERP—And Why You Need One
If a unique idea is the foundation of a startup, then an ERP solution is the foundation of the business—and crucial to any success it hopes to have going forward. That’s because every business needs industry-appropriate and integrated business processes with better, faster ways to manage the vast repositories of data and information those processes generate. This information is critical to every decision each business can possibly make. And this is where ERP shines.
ERP solutions empower startups to:
- Run business processes more efficiently
- Manage customer, supplier, and other partner relationships more effectively
- Meet regulatory and industry compliance requirements
- Implement industry best practices
- Scale operations to meet rapidly accelerating demand
- Anticipate changing business needs—and pivot quickly to adjust
Specifically, ERP solutions give growing businesses the ability to centrally manage key business processes. This includes manufacturing, financials, supply chain, compliance, and data warehousing, while offering tight third-party integrations, platform flexibility and scalability. And it does so with cost-effective deployment options, including both cloud and on-premise. When a startup is running lean, getting this many benefits packed into one solution is low-hanging fruit worth biting.
Stay Agile—and Ready to Accelerate
Because ERP enables integrated process management, it is perfect for industries where the required business processes, and their relevant KPIs, are complex. Take Life Sciences, for example. The business of Life Sciences is steeped in complexity and government regulations—and for good reason. Public health and safety are at stake. This means companies spend years conceptualizing, developing and trialing critical products designed to extend and improve the quality of life. When it’s time to commercialize, it’s not uncommon for Life Sciences startups to go from zero revenue to millions in the span of a few months. Having a well-designed ERP in place before this growth spurt arrives, can help avoid the headaches of business process integration and provide the critical visibility needed to drive efficient operations. It also empowers startups to capitalize on business opportunities when they arise. ERP simplifies the complex, automates the manual and prepares companies for the rigorous regulatory challenges ahead.
When is the Right Time for ERP?
A good time to implement ERP is 6 to 12 months prior to going commercial with a new product. At this time, startups are typically beginning to acquire production inventory, performing final trial manufacturing runs, and tracking multiple KPI’s in different systems. Without an ERP, it becomes difficult to get a holistic view of the business and where it stands. From accounting systems like QuickBooks to disparate spreadsheets, to a broad combination of other applications, real-time analytics seems a far-off dream. If production accelerates, or FDA approval suddenly arrives, companies without proper ERP planning are left unprepared for their good fortune. Having that leg work done, and an ERP in place, enables startups to flip the switch and go at a moment’s notice.
Scaling Operations Without Scaling Risk
As your business grows, so too does your need to deploy additional resources, standardize business processes, and integrate your supply chain. But, don’t mistake ERP for a big-business luxury. Far from it; small and medium-sized businesses can benefit greatly from an ERP system, especially if they have plans for strong growth and potential international expansion, while also needing to mitigate compliance risk. Without a sound ERP foundation, plucky startups can quickly run afoul of the regulators, leaving them scrambling for reporting they didn’t know they needed from systems that never tracked the datapoints the government is waiting for. Working with a partner who knows both ERP and your industry will help startups ensure their systems are configured to comply with regulatory obligations.
Finding the Right Implementing Partner
An ERP without the proper setup is like a car without gas. It just won’t go. That’s why it’s critical to pair your desired ERP with a team of experts proficient in using ERP to fuel startup success. And that’s why we at Strategic Information Group (Strategic) are so proud to partner with Octane Enterprise Solutions. Strategic brings a long history, deep expertise and proven validation methodology to arm Life Science startups with a platform needed to build and sustain growth, regardless of your unique manufacturing requirements or distribution challenges. Whether you’re using Contract Manufacturing Organizations (CMO’s) or manufacturing internally, distributing from your own facility or using third-party logistics warehouses (3PL’s), targeting US or outside US markets for your initial product launch, Strategic understands your challenges. And more importantly, we have the expertise to solve them.
The Strategic and Octane partnership can facilitate the timely knowledge sharing needed for startups to drive innovation and efficiency as they scale. This includes implementing ERP systems to meet the urgent business reality of now, while likewise rising to tomorrow’s challenges. Challenges that are both anticipated and unforeseen. Strategic Information Group knows how to position startups for success. We look forward to hearing about your big ideas and revolutionary products that we hope we never need. Then, we’ll equip your startup with an ERP built for sustained excellence.
About Strategic Information Group
Strategic Information Group (Strategic) has helped hundreds of Life Sciences companies leverage QAD ERP as an effective platform for growth and to meet regulatory and compliance mandates. Partnering with us, startups have commercialized and established companies have reached their exit strategies—whether that’s an IPO, growth to hundreds of millions, or a sale to a corporate conglomerate. Our customers get the tools they need to successfully manage their manufacturing and business processes, meet regulatory compliance mandates and become self-sufficient in meeting day to day ERP needs. For more information, visit Strategic.com