Project background and main business challenges
A Swedish group with 23 factories and 3,500 employees around the world, Recipharm in Kayserberg specializes in ophthalmic solutions. A year and a half after being bought from Novartis, the company was investing €18m to expand the site’s production capacity, and anticipating the planned transfer of its information system when the Kayserberg sale was completed.
Its Blow Fill Seal® technology is used to shape, fill and seal vials using just one machine, making productions conditions perfectly aseptic. Its products, ophthalmic drops in single-dose packaging, are currently sold almost exclusively to its customer Alcon.
As part of its investment, 1,100m² will be redeveloped, being the capacity of four new production lines. The first production line entered service at the end of 2017, allowing the company to climb from 400 to 600 million units output per annum.
Opting for SAP ERP with the Cadexpress Life Sciences solution
Until 2016, the Swedish pharmaceuticals group Recipharm’s Kaysersberg site was an integral part of Novartis Group. Following the sale, the site’s transition from one firm to another entailed one major consequence, namely how to keep its information system running, and in particular the ERP system. Especially since Novartis uses a centrally-managed Oracle JDE system, while Recipharm uses SAP, typically run more locally, with each production site operating as a standalone unit.
Selecting the SAP ERP system made it possible to retain the existing functionalities of the current system, while allowing effective integration within the group’s current organization, including as regards financial processes and other applications in the information system.
We had two years to finalize the handover of the site, during which a Transfer Service Agreement signed with Novartis allowed us to continue using the old system. Two years that we had to put to best use, to migrate data to a local system, within the deadline. This was a constraint of our own making, since the TSA cost money and any slippage would have cost us more, so we needed to migrate as quickly as possible.
Selecting a prepackaged solution meeting pharmaceutical requirements
In addition, there are regulatory aspects, which are very restrictive in the pharmaceutical field, where any shortcoming can lead to products being withdrawn from the market. Under such circumstances, an IT project needs about 30% more time, which is spent on documenting assessment and testing. For this reason, Recipharm chose TVH Consulting, the publisher and integrator of packaged industry-specific solutions that was already working with the group on a SAP implementation on another site in France.
Using a prepackaged project in the form of SAP Cadexpress Life Sciences ERP, specifically designed for the pharmaceutical industry, was the right decision to meet all the challenges faced.
As we sell our products worldwide and manufacturing processes and everything implemented by way of technology has to be approved (testing, deployment, date- and time-stamping, etc.), the Quality Department confirms regulatory compliance.
Industry experts who talk your language – eight success factors
TVH Consulting’s twin expertise in both IT and business has made Cadexpress Life Sciences a success and explains our choice of this solution, fully meeting all of our needs given the urgent backdrop of the sale of our subsidiary.
- The inclusion of change management support through the designation of user managers for each area. Workshops were organized to take stock of requirements and how people worked.
- Weekly project meetings and a monthly steering committee between our in-house people and TVH Consulting
- Production site operational with well-trained staff for a full working week
- Increased vigilance regarding the assessment process relative to regulatory requirements as led by the Quality Department
- Logistics Department focused on smooth truck rotation
- Production Department ensuring the availability of product manufacturing infrastructure
- A clear and accurate picture of the optimization factors to be suggested for planning and budget simulation
- A innovative, scalable solution in line with the desire to modernize production facilities
The short time taken to complete the project meant we were able to go live in May 2017, a few months before the deadline, with 187 users. As a result, we met the commitments we had made, thanks in particular to the responsiveness and efficiency of our partner, TVH Consulting. Selecting the right integrator is crucial because, over and above deadlines, such projects involve people. The service provider needs a functional approach, a degree of flexibility, to speak the same language as us, to facilitate skills transfer, and keep control over data quality, in order to secure the full project implementation.