Illinois-based Ortho Molecular has been serving the medical community for more than 20 years. Employing over 100 people, they manufacture and sell their products exclusively to the health care professional market, priding themselves on evidence-based formulation and superior raw ingredients.
At the heart of the business is a driving force for manufacturing excellence and uncompromising raw ingredient selection. Efficacy is a word the company abides by to ensure they continue to research and manufacture nutritional supplements to get patients better faster. With over 150 products, and now shipping 110,000 bottles a month, they continue to enjoy rapid sales growth.
Ortho Molecular needed to find an ERP solution that could support its aggressive development plans. Experiencing 20% year on year growth meant their existing system was too basic for their increasing needs. “The system didn’t have the capabilities to run our business, and we needed to find a software vendor and partner that could work with us now and still be here 10 years down the road,” explains Amy Pearson, Ortho Molecular’s Comptroller and Project Manager. Longevity and a strong relationship were important selection factors, and remained top of mind throughout the selection process.
In particular, operating in the Life Sciences industry, Ortho Molecular needed a product that could support their specific development and quality needs. “Testing new products was critical,” continues Pearson. “We need to ensure that the quality was managed and documented effectively.”
With a rigorous RFI process in place, Ortho Molecular embarked on selecting the right partners. Having documented their needs, a number of different vendors were asked to present their solutions. “We knew we wanted to follow a Microsoft strategy, and it was important the vendors presented the same products,” says Pearson. “We wanted to compare apples with apples to ensure we were making the right choice.”
Being able to use a product that was out of the box, with minimal customization, was high on Ortho Molecular’s agenda, and they were confident Microsoft would provide the stability they needed into the future. Looking at the different Microsoft solutions, it was soon clear that Microsoft Dynamics NAV was the right choice.
“Tectura had a fully integrated Life Sciences solution compared to their competition, and the support and knowledge to go with it. We were looking for a long term relationship, and there was definitely a fit.”
“As well as Microsoft, we wanted a partner that would be working with us in 10 years time,” explains Pearson. The company had a broad range of needs, and wanted a support team that could help address all of them. “It wasn’t a hard decision to make. Out of four vendors, Tectura had the manpower, the history and the support we needed to help us with our growth,” continues Pearson.
Working in Life Sciences, with specific development, quality and ingredient tracking needs, Ortho Molecular needed a more integrated, functionally rich solution. Debi Zurawski, Ortho Molecular’s Director of Quality goes on to say, “Tectura had a fully integrated Life Sciences solution compared to their competition, and the support and knowledge to go with it. We were looking for a long term relationship, and there was definitely a fit.”
To ensure success, Ortho Molecular included their seven department heads to help specify the business functionality and respective data going forward. With a team leader on site, and bringing in relevant capability when needed, Tectura provided the background and knowledge to guide Ortho Molecular through the setup. This included the items, customers and vendors, ensuring that proper hosting, dimension and inventory groups were all in place. “We needed to have correct data to produce trend analysis,” explains Pearson.
Highlighting some of the initial challenges, Pearson says, “It was hard getting everyone in the same room at the same time, due to their busy schedules. We needed to get the data ready for transfer, agree on any changes and confirm what history was coming over.” Everyone had full time jobs as well as the project work, and the demand was difficult for everyone.
The Life Sciences solution was a whole new process to the organization, and getting it set up correctly was a new challenge, “We had never had these electronic controls in the company before,” explains Zurawski. “We needed to make sure we were bringing over the right data.” With the scale of the organization, and the need for FDA compliance, Ortho Molecular has taken onboard the complete breadth of Tectura Life Sciences’ functionality. “We do still keep paper copies as we don’t currently operate under 21 CFR Part 11 of the FDA regulations yet. However we are looking to move to electronic signatures very soon and integrating them with our manufacturing process,” continues Zurawski.
The company uses the quality control test plans for all of their products, storing all test results and carrying out trend analysis. “After product release, we use the audit trail functionality of Tectura Life Sciences if we need to perform a recall for any reason,” explains Zurawski. Ortho Molecular has never had to execute a recall but has ensured they are ready for any eventuality by successfully running a full mock recall.
Microsoft Dynamics NAV is used for full product release, utilizing the quality control status and release status for all raw materials and all products. “It’s easy to do modifications, and everything is in one place. The initial setup showed off a lot of functionality we wouldn’t have figured out on our own,” says Zurawski. “Tectura was quick to respond and help us through any issues that came up.”
All the processes and controls are also now in place surrounding the use of bill of materials. The company has set up the right levels of security, so only certain people can make relevant changes, and only certain people can set up item cards. Zurawski goes on to say, “It’s really easy to make changes, and we now have all the specifications associated with a product on just one item card.”
“Tectura really took the time to understand our business, and set up a full chart of how things work within Microsoft Dynamics NAV. They were able to share solid advice based on their experience.”
Ortho Molecular now uses the FIFO method for inventory costing which is proving to be a success, and is also using the full extent of the product for financial reporting. “Tectura really took the time to understand our business, and set up a full chart of how things work within Microsoft Dynamics NAV. They were able to share solid advice based on their experience,” highlights Pearson.
The organization has integrated their website to enable customers to place orders directly with shipping, bypassing customer service. Orders can now be placed either via their 25 sales reps, directly by the customer or entered online. Ortho Molecular has further streamlined sales order processing, integrating their FedEx and credit card capability to accept payment and ship goods easily.
Posting and inventory groups are now used to support a growing part of the business which is customized labeling. A customer can now have their own label positioned on the product once it’s been ordered. This flexibility has greatly enhanced their levels of customer satisfaction, and is helping the business move into new markets.
Prior to Tectura’s Life Sciences solution, Ortho Molecular didn’t have key business metrics that they could rely on. It is now a different story explains Pearson, “We can now trust the accuracy. Being able to drill down into the information and get to the detail is a real benefit to the finance team.” The organization can track inventory all the way back to an original invoice, and the freight that was on that invoice. “We can now account for everything that’s rolled up into the cost of the finished goods," continues Pearson.
“The finance team has reduced month end closing from 3 days to 1 day, and reduced the man hours needed.”
Ortho Molecular has improved productivity across the organization, and can now make decisions faster. “The finance team has reduced month end closing from 3 days to 1 day, and reduced the man hours needed,” highlights Pearson. The goal is to produce month end reports within 4 hours and have them in the hands of the CEO and the President by midnight of the last day of each month.
Zurawski emphasizes the benefits that Ortho Molecular achieves with Tectura Life Sciences and says, “We now have the ability to do a recall electronically, whereas previously, there wasn’t an easy, electronic format to gather which vendor we purchased from, and all the materials used.” Zurawski is particularly impressed with the additional functionality achieved following a recent upgrade saying, “We can now print work orders for manufacturing with all the right classifications of whether particular products can be used and where they are. With this enhanced categorization, we can stop, if necessary, particular inventory from being used in manufacturing.”
Working with Microsoft Dynamics NAV has meant all the test plans are now in one spot. “It’s easy to pull up the last five times we’ve made a product, understand the trends, and make comparisons,” continues Zurawski. “We are now much better organized with Microsoft Dynamics NAV.”
Errors have been minimized with a more effective shipping process in place. “With the use of bar coding, we can scan products before packing. The error rate has significantly reduced in our shipping department,” says Pearson. “From printing, picking and shipping the product, the manpower time has been cut in half.” Using the previous system, there was a lot of double handling, and now boxes are handled just once. It’s a much faster process and Ortho Molecular has more control of what is going out of the door.
The organization now enjoys a more streamlined customer service function. Previously, the sales person had to remember all the different pricing scenarios, promotions and discounts relevant to a particular customer. This is all now programmed in and automated. “Customer service is more efficient. Recently, a new customer service member who had only been with Ortho Molecular for 3 weeks, was able to place an order within a matter of minutes,” highlights Pearson.
“Tectura had the support staff and the years of knowledge to help us with our unique situation. We knew we were going to be difficult, and it’s been a great implementation with all users still on board.”
When reflecting on the relationship with Tectura, Pearon says, “Tectura had the support staff and the years of knowledge to help us with our unique situation. We knew we were going to be difficult, and it’s been a great implementation with all users still on board.”
Ortho Molecular is happy with the result, and wouldn’t change anything about the system. However, if there is one lesson to be learned from the implementation, it would be to take testing more seriously. “Looking back, we would definitely over test everything,” says Pearson. In particular, the organization has been pleased with their access to the Tectura support team. “The turnaround has been great. Tectura has always solved any issues and provides great advice. It’s a very valuable tool we have,” continues Pearson.
Zurawski concludes by saying, “We have saved on people as well as time to complete specific tasks. We have made cost savings from our finance department all the way through to the number of people needed in our manufacturing process.” The executive team can now make more informed decisions at both a product and a customer level, helping manufacture products more effectively and running a business that is more closely aligned with customer needs.