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SHL Group

SHL Group Streamlines Global Operations with Kinetic

SHL Group (Scandinavian Health Ltd.) is currently the world's largest privately-owned designer, developer and manufacturer of advanced drug delivery devices. The organization was established in 1989 by Swedish entrepreneur Roger Samuelsson, with the goal of combining world-class manufacturing in Asia with the strengths of Western Management practices.

SHL manufactures medical devices that include pen injectors, auto injectors, and inhaler systems. SHL also makes a range of other products, including: pressure mattress systems, patient lifting slings, medical soft goods, beds, neurosurgical devices, catheters, and industrial equipment.

"Epicor service is simple and direct, allowing us to focus on our demanding operations more effectively and attentively. Our final success with Epicor ERP [Kinetic] can be attributed not just to the company's international background, but to its ability to support SHL's demand for business integration across regions."

Ake Karlson
Managing Director of SHL Healthcare | SHL Group

SHL Group consists of several distinct companies: SHL Medical, which designs, develops, and manufactures advanced drug delivery devices for leading pharmaceutical and biotech companies; SHL Healthcare, which develops and manufactures equipment solutions for use in the home, hospital, and long-term care; SHL Technologies, which provides contract manufacturing and engineering services for the production of complex medical technology and industrial products; and, SHL Pharma, which provides design, development, final assembly, labeling, and packaging of drug delivery devices to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.

The Challenge

Operating on three continents in very different business cultures in the U.S., Sweden, and Greater China would be a challenge for any organization. When it was essential to successfully and efficiently unite global development teams with efficient manufacturing and a skilled workforce in Asia, it was a challenge that SHL Group had to address and overcome. This meant finding solutions to a complex array of challenges in logistics, resource management, accounting and communication, and at the core, the need for tight, precise data integration and communication across the entire enterprise.

SHL Group's clients speak highly of its production center in Asia and the company's well-earned reputation for product quality, implementing FDA 21CFR Part 820, ISO 13485 and other international quality standards. With a commitment to never sacrifice quality, it has been essential for the SHL Group to keep ahead of ever-changing international standards on medical devices and equipment, and to ensure tight integration across all areas of its business around the world. However, SHL Group soon discovered that it would not be an easy task to efficiently integrate data originating from within different business systems. It was often impossible to simply transfer the data directly.

Email, for example, is normally thought of as fast and efficient. In practice, it can involve delays for an organization as complex as SHL Group. For instance, if a client asked about a production task in Taiwan; in the past, an email would be sent to the Taiwan department, and relevant data emailed back. However, this could easily result in a day's delay in response, when what was really required was a system that would deliver complete transparency for the whole process.

The Solution

Senior management at SHL Group came to realize that an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system had become an essential requirement for efficient operation, and so a dedicated team was tasked with formulating a series of standards. They concluded, it was essential for the ERP supplier to be an international company, one able to support the Group's operations across different regions. It was vital that the system selected be linguistically compatible and able to support business operations in three languages: English, Chinese, and Swedish, and that the supplier must be able to offer truly worldwide technical support.

SHL Group invited 10 ERP suppliers to make presentations, and quickly had a short list of three candidates that were assessed and ranked accordingly. Epicor was chosen as the supplier, based upon its high scoring across all the categories. SHL Group stresses that Epicor was seen to be a "direct" system supplier and developer. SHL Group could see that other international brands mostly provide products and services through their regional agencies. Since SHL's operations exist in different locations, the choice offered by other vendors was not appealing (i.e., purchasing the relevant systems from regional agencies with future after-sales service provided by those agencies). In contrast, the Epicor service organization was judged to be simple and direct, with a seamless approach that would enable swift implementation and support, leaving SHL free to focus on its demanding operations.

For its part, Epicor was well aware that SHL Group operated in several different countries and regionsand that it did not want to partner with different suppliers across different regions. As a single supplier, Epicor is able to support clients in globally diverse locations. In this way, clients can save the time and trouble of dealing with different organizations.

Ease of Implementation Across SHL Group

It can take time for employees to adapt to a new ERP system at an organization that's the size and scale of SHL Group. Nobody expected that a new system would be easily adopted. While SHL's management team anticipated a learning curve in the implementation and operation of the new system, the installation of Kinetic (the new name for Epicor ERP) turned out to be quite simple and smooth, beyond their expectation. Currently, the Epicor system has been successfully installed at SHL's production centers in mainland China and Taiwan. Next, SHL Group intends to install it at the U.S. production facility.

The comprehensive and swift technical support Epicor provided further guaranteed successful implementation of the new ERP system. SHL Group discovered that each time Epicor was contacted for technical support in Europe or Asia, Epicor always responded in a direct and timely way. And language and culture were not barriers to communication. 

Diversified Resource Management and Keeping Track of Operations

SHL Group has quickly come to realize the unique approach offered by Epicor; specifically, the way its ERP system integrates many functions of enterprise resource management. Today, international enterprises need something more than simply a financial management system; it requires a distribution management system, a production management system, and a user relationship management system, as well as APS, MES, BI, and more. Epicor integrates all these modules into a single ERP system. The system and modules all automatically update.

Once in operation, the Epicor system proved very helpful for SHL's business and benefited them in ways that had not been previously anticipated. As SHL's internal operational data was migrated into a digital format, executives had immediate access to the latest information. Now, as Kinetic is put into practice, they can monitor the operation of each production center through their own devices, including laptop computers, tablets, and smartphones, enabling them to respond to clients' questions and quotation requests in a timely manner and provide better customer service.

Epicor was confident that its business management process (BMP), an integral part of Kinetic, could support SHL's industry-specific demand for a customized workflow and implement any approval processes or electronic signature through key aspects of the company's day-to-day operation.

Meanwhile, Epicor connected services have maximized the level of automation for SHL, such as data exchange with its partners, to prevent manual errors. More importantly, in response to the rigorous demands of the medical equipment sector, Kinetic enterprise quality management is helping SHL to pursue the highest quality monitoring procedures, to ensure its products meet internationally recognized quality standards.

Many of Epicor's clients share characteristics similar to those of SHL. They often have multiple subsidiaries, operate in different locations, and involve diverse currencies and materials in the production process.

By working with an established provider with a strong track record, SHL is already reaping the benefits in terms of business growth. With Epicor multisite capabilities, all of the trade information is in a digital format, so employees don't need to repeatedly provide information such as purchase orders, quotations and shipping orders. In this way, SHL can save time and avoid manual errors.

SHL's development plan anticipates that their U.S. operation will also use Epicor applications to achieve a completely integrated ERP system and make full use of the solution's versatile functionality.

Global Implementation, Global Solution

SHL Group has concluded that the successful implementation of Kinetic can be attributed not just to the company's international background, but to its ability to support SHL's demand for business integration across the different regions where it operates.

As internal information, including financial data, human resources data, production data and material resources data, become more transparent, SHL colleagues at different locations can immediately and efficiently communicate with one another, with the same information available to all parties. Meanwhile, the executive team has been able to accurately monitor the group's ongoing operations and make faster and better decisions going forward.

About Epicor

We're here for the hard-working businesses that keep the world turning. They're the companies who make, deliver and sell the things we all need. They trust Epicor to help them do business better. Their industries are our industries, and we understand them better than anyone. By working hand-in-hand with our customers, we get to know their business almost as well as they do. Our innovative solution sets are carefully curated to fit their needs, and built to respond flexibly to their fast-changing reality. We accelerate every customer's ambitions, whether to grow and transform, or simply become more productive and effective. That's what makes us the essential partners for the world's most essential businesses.

Company Facts

Locations: China, Sweden, Taiwan, and USA

Industry: Medical devices and equipment manufacturing

Number of Locations: 4

Website: www.shl-group.com

Challenges

Unite global development teams in Asia and promote precise data integration across the enterprise. SHL also wanted efficient, informed communication and decision-making across three languages and three countries.

Solution

Kinetic (the new name for Epicor ERP)

Benefits

  • Facilitates speedy cross-regional communication and data integration
  • Increased business efficiency
  • Ability for management to make informed decisions faster
  • Enhanced business competitiveness

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