ERP Beginners Guide for the Chemical Industry

Engineer using Panni Management's ERP software on a tablet near oil refinery at night.

Are you a mid-size company in the chemical industry? Do you want a 360-degree view of your operations? Then enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, specially created for chemical companies, is just what you need. You can even integrate your customer relationship management (CRM) system with the ERP software to have a single platform overview of your business.  

Panni’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) for the chemical industry by Sage X3 offers broad scope, deep functionality, and configurability that meets the needs of today’s chemicals market. Industry-specific capabilities include:

  • Integrated customer relationship management and new product development
  • Sales forecasting with campaign support, seasonal profiles, and collaboration
  • Trade management with sales promotions, campaigns, and rebates
  • Mixed-mode production capabilities ranging from high-volume, make-to-stock, and made-to-order custom-formula solutions
  • Multiple measurement units
  • Batch balancing for best capacity utilization
  • Multi-level traceability and shelf life/expiration date management
  • Integration with compliance to ensure all materials comply with environmental regulations
  • Operations delivered to the shop floor
  • Integrated warehouse management systems (WMS) on mobile devices.

Now that we know some capabilities that comprehensive enterprise resource planning (ERP) offers the chemical industry let’s learn more about ERP in general, and how it is relevant to the industry. 

What Is an ERP?

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is a platform that companies use to manage and integrate essential parts of their business, eliminating incompatible technologies and costly duplicates. 

It links information about the production, distribution, finance, and human resources. The platform, for example, integrates accounts payable, order-monitoring systems, stock control systems, and customer databases into one system. Besides the chemical industry, enterprise resource planning software is available for the food and beverage, manufacturing, and cannabis industries.   

What are some general benefits of using enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions? 

  • Improved accuracy and reporting
  • Increased efficiency
  • Increased compliance and risk mitigation
  • Centralized data collection and analysis
  • Improved service delivery
  • Ability to adapt swiftly to unexpected changes
  • Integration and unification of departments
  • Improved interdepartmental communication.

An ERP can be a solution to most of the problems faced by a company. However, ERP implementations can fail. What would cause its implementation to fail?

  • Lack of buy-in from senior management
  • Not appointing a senior resource from the company side for the implementation
  • Failure to implement a project plan approved by all stakeholders
  • Data migration is not carried out properly
  • Insufficient testing prior to go-live
  • Companies don’t rethink how they are organized
  • Companies are reluctant to abandon old working processes
  • Companies are reluctant to let go of old software that worked well in the past.

Importance of ERP Testing    

Testing ERP applications can be challenging, as a small change could have a substantial effect on interfaces, system configurations, supporting infrastructures, business process steps, and security. As a business solution for the chemical industry, an enterprise resource management (ERP) system might need to integrate with unique chemical industry software and replace or complement accounting software, while maintaining customer satisfaction, safety management, and compliance management. 

Automating ERP testing, instead of doing manual testing, saves on cost, time, and resources. While test automation monitors data structures routinely, business-critical applications continue to run. Sage X3, the preferred chemical enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution used by Panni, includes an automated test platform that simplifies upgrades and configurations. It is scalable and extensible to support real-world scenarios. Upgrades are done quickly and accurately, with minimal downtime and financial loss. You can be confident that customizations and modifications have gone through full, end-to-end regression testing. 

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) testing is especially important in customized areas, to ensure critical business functionality is achieved before going live.

ERP Features to Look Out for in the Chemical Industry 

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software for the chemical industry has the same essential tools as a generic system, but offers additional features tailored to the operational needs of the industry. Panni’s chemical ERP software is delivered with a modern user interface and hosted in the cloud or on-premise. Features available to chemical companies are: 

Formulation and R&D. Help research and development (R&D) teams develop new formulas or modify existing formulas. Bills and materials can be specified as ‘in-development’ to protect the configuration. Formula versions and seasonal formulas are maintained. 

Safety Data Sheet (SDS) and a globally harmonized system. Ensures compliance by maintaining and tracking all levels of regulatory information. Information for the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) is fully maintained by the product. SDS sheets are available for printing in the required standards. 

Potency management. Support accurate tracking and measuring of product potency. 

Location control and bin restrictions. Warehouses can be divided into various staging types, including staging, quality control, subcontractor, and traditional storage areas. The staging types are user definable. It offers high-level control over how and where inventory is stored. 

Quality control. Support and enforce your specific quality standards. Test results are recorded and maintained together with the product’s history to serve as the basis for the Product Lot Certificate of Analysis (CoA).      

With the right implementation, you can improve the flow of your chemical stock inventory, simultaneously responding faster to customers and marketplace trends. Track inventory from development to delivery with a barcode label system and use the access to a live purchasing database to stay ahead of fluctuations in product and shipping, taking control of the costs. 

The Benefits of an Industry-Specific ERP   

Every industry has key friction points and bottlenecks in its business processes. Industry-specific enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions are designed to include problem-solving tools for these weaknesses. There are multiple regulations for the chemical industry, and another benefit of a dedicated solution is that it will integrate complex compliance processes into everyday workflows.   

Industry-related suites will use experts that understand the business to provide inputs during the software design period. It results in a solution unique to the industry and a service provider offering more informed troubleshooting and support. Less customization is needed with industry-relevant ERP offerings, as many key features are already available. This complete offering saves time and costs as the implementation process is smoother. Customization may still be required in specific instances, but they will be smaller as the enterprise resource planning software already fulfills most business needs.      

One of the final benefits of an industry-specific enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution is that it already contains all the basic tools required to run a business. You get the business features such as accounting and inventory control, together with the industry tools, for an all-in-one solution.

Panni works with mid-size chemical industry clients throughout North America. The company understands the key challenges facing the chemical manufacturing and distribution industry, including having to comply with domestic and international regulations for hazardous materials. Sage X3 enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions make these challenges more manageable. Do you need a solution that understands and delivers your chemical industry business needs? Contact Panni today. 

Transforming businesses since 2009

For over a decade, Panni has helped companies transform their businesses to lead, innovate and be profitable. With the right combination of technology and experienced developers and consultants, we help companies with Change Management to achieve the organizational objectives. We believe in long-term relationships with our clients and provide top-notch support with fast turnaround times.