In the spending of most life sciences companies, roughly equal amounts go to CRO engagements and the volume purchasing of lab supplies and other goods. Contracts may be few in number and purchasing transactions many more. That lends additional weight to any inefficiencies and poor financial controls in the area of purchasing and procurement.
Need for control and simplicity
When it comes to item purchasing, approvals are essential, especially given that the same person might need to set up vendors, make purchasing decisions, and initiate transactions. Many businesses allow this to happen because their staffing is lean or when managers feel that scientists and other subject-matter experts know best what to purchase from what company. With consistent, timely approvals by people who can take responsibility but are not directly involved in the steps of procurement, based on purpose-built workflows configured in NetSuite, we can help you reduce the risk of these activities.
Most life sciences companies want to keep close tabs on their cashflow and spending, especially when they are not yet generating revenue. While their IT is often lean in terms of staffing, in terms of software systems it can be overly complex and cause high management workloads. When life sciences businesses use specialized, separate procurement and contract management tools which may not integrate with their financial software, that complexity can become overwhelming.
Many ways to streamline procurement
We will always keep your software environment as simple and manageable as possible, and there are several routes to achieve this. NetSuite already includes a full-fledged procurement module, which includes such capabilities as configurable dashboards, automated requisitioning, and management of vendors and RFQs. These features can align with your policies and compliance mandates, and they can also sync with the approval workflows you configure or that we implement for you. Your procurement then takes place on the same platform as your other business activities, and stakeholders can clearly see how well it serves the company and supports its goals for financial performance. Automation can keep the amount of administrative busywork at a minimum.
If you prefer another procurement solution, you are not forced to plan on an increased IT workload or put up with disjointed processes. Sikich has created standardized integrations between NetSuite and several popular procurement tools, and we have also implemented them for many of our life sciences clients. One of these is Prendio, a very mature procure-to-pay solution which was developed for biotech and life sciences businesses. The integration created by Sikich connects Prendio to the accounts payable management in NetSuite and to the program and project layer that we implement within NetSuite for life sciences companies. You can directly correlate your procurement to programs and their financial performance.
Coupa is another procurement platform that many, especially larger, life sciences companies use, although it is not specifically designed for the industry. In integrating Coupa with NetSuite, we can ensure that anybody who is authorized to issue POs or purchase goods can easily access the tools to do so efficiently. At the same time, finance managers have the visibility to control spending within budgets and policies.
PunchOut2Go helps life sciences companies keep procurement within acceptable spending thresholds and take advantage of best available rates by surfacing vendor catalogs and accessing them from within their preferred procurement system. We have performed and delivered the required integrations between Punchout2Go and NetSuite for many life sciences clients.
Connecting procurement, processes, and performance management
There are other procurement systems that are less widely used than Prendio, Coupa, or PunchOut2Go, and for some of these Sikich has created other integrations with NetSuite that can elegantly be repurposed. For users in the procurement and finance departments, we enable visibility, simplicity, efficiency, and speed. Qualification, selection, purchase, and delivery have to happen quickly, or important work may be disrupted. And, you will always be able to correlate procurement actions to vendor records, program budgets, KPIs, and purchase orders managed in NetSuite.
If you’re not used to thinking about integrations as an asset to your life sciences business, it may be time for a change in perspective. You may see integrations differently when you experience how they can organically enhance your business software, adding valuable functionality and extending the reach of your users and digital resources without increasing complexity.
Visit our NetSuite for life sciences page to learn more and get in touch with the Sikich life sciences team.