October 8, 2020

6 Ways the Life Science Industry Benefits from NetSuite

By Atit Patel

The Life Sciences industry represents one of the most intriguing and rapidly expanding markets globally. The sector is comprised of companies ranging from startups to Fortune 100 that emphasize research and development to create products and services that help people realize a higher quality of life. Life Science includes companies in pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and biotechnology working to achieve scientific breakthroughs. Recent advances in technology and artificial intelligence have driven additional growth and opened new business opportunities and markets. Lately, the emphasis on testing for and treating COVID-19 has put an even bigger spotlight on the industry.

While the research and development of new products and therapies are the primary goals of most Life Sciences firms, in many cases, these same companies cannot accurately and efficiently track their programs’ performance. Companies in this space require meticulous project management, including accurate tracking and inventory management and costs as pre-revenue research develops into a marketable product. The ability to track and allocate these operational costs to multiple dimensions and segments is a critical need. Unfortunately, many Life Sciences firms do not have systems or processes in place to support these needs.

Introducing NetSuite

NetSuite, the #1 cloud-based ERP application, has experienced a surge in Life Sciences companies adopting the system to support their ongoing operational and financial management needs. By leveraging NetSuite, companies can generate accurate reporting to satisfy stakeholders’ needs and provide operational support to scientists and researchers.

Some of the common issues and inefficiencies that NetSuite can efficiently resolve include:

  1. Inventory management: Tracking the different inventory types can be painful, especially with hundreds of chemicals and reagents. NetSuite’s inventory management system can handle numerous attributes of items needed for daily use. Multiple measure units can be utilized to separate how goods are purchased, stocked, sold, or consumed. Cycle counting allows inventory to be counted in sections, which provides accurate inventory levels in the system compared to what is sitting on the shelves in the lab in real-time.

  2. Manufacturing costing for clinical trials: For most Life Sciences companies, capturing costs requires an intensive, manual process tracked in Excel. Lab resources will spend many hours tracing costs back to a clinical trial for reporting. This manual tracking can lead to missing costs and deadlines. By using NetSuite’s manufacturing module, costs can more seamlessly be captured and associated with creating a new drug. Once these costs are associated with the new drug, NetSuite’s Project and Manufacturing module can be leveraged to record these costs towards a clinical trial. These records provide visibility into where the drug is in the clinical trial phase and how spending is aligning with the trial budget.

  3. Grant management: Some of the research funding may come from grants. There are many types of grants, including foundations, donors, and government. Each grant has a separate set of rules and restrictions on how the money can be spent. Grants must be tracked in their respective buckets, per the agreement, or could lead to defunding or non-renewal. Fortunately, NetSuite can track these funds by using a combination of project records, customer records, and segments. NetSuite can also be set up to bill based on a milestone of a grant, and the documents can be printed directly from NetSuite to upload into a grant management portal for reimbursement. Finally, Grantors prefer NetSuite because of its auditing capabilities, as it is easy to trace each cost back to the source and see if it meets the restriction criteria.

  4. Intercompany transactions and transfer costing: Often, companies have separate entities for manufacturing products and distribution. NetSuite can be set up to create intercompany transfers from one entity to another. It can collect all costs associated with the transfer and apply them to COGS once the item is sold. This data allows for accurate costing for the product. Furthermore, these intercompany transactions will automatically create elimination journals during your month-end process by using the auto-eliminate feature.

  5. Controls and compliance with regulatory agencies: Compliance might be one of the most significant factors when choosing an ERP system. The system should handle any regulation that is required by having its own set of configurable controls. NetSuite ERP is SOX compliant and has the capability of being 21 CFR Part 11 compliant. Bridgepoint Consulting has the expertise to set up complex workflows and procedures that satisfy the FDA’s requirements around electronic data management.

  6. Automating purchasing and CRO management: By leveraging Purchasing Contracts and Blanket Purchase Orders, the procurement team can manage budgets, costs, and orders within NetSuite. Ensuring the laboratories are always stocked, and inventory is available when needed. In addition to contracts, NetSuite can manage Clinical Research Organizations (CRO) outsourcing. During the manufacturing process, a step might require you to outsource and track some of the work and associated costs. Bridgepoint Consulting can customize NetSuite’s native functionality to track CRO spend and attach supporting documents during this process.

Having partnered with numerous Life Sciences companies, Bridgepoint Consulting has deep experience helping these firms implement NetSuite, and leading practices, to achieve scalability and transparency as they transform research into revenue-generating products. Our team of NetSuite experts can help bridge the gap between collecting data from scientists, managing this data, and creating useful reports using NetSuite as a base. Bridgepoint has the knowledge and expertise to provide impactful solutions, regardless of whether a company is pre-revenue, leading clinical trials, manufacturing products, or post-sale.

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About Atit Patel

Atit Patel is a Senior Consultant in Bridgepoint’s NetSuite Consulting practice with over 8 years of experience providing business solutions using SAAS products. He has worked for franchises, healthcare software start-ups, and biotechnology companies to automate day-to-day accounting/operational processes including solutions for cross-departmental issues. Using his previous knowledge, Atit has helped design unique solutions within NetSuite for clients in the manufacturing and biotechnology space. He enjoys working with companies to help drive efficient and scalable processes across the entire organization using an ERP system.

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