Almac Group is an established contract development and manufacturing organisation that provides an extensive range of integrated services to the pharmaceutical and biotech sectors globally. Its services range from R&D, biomarker discovery development and commercialisation, API manufacture, analytical services, formulation development, clinical trial supply, IRT (IVRS/IWRS) through to commercial-scale manufacture.
A privately-owned group employing over 5,600 people, Almac is headquartered in Craigavon, Northern Ireland with operations in Europe, the US and Asia.
As a result of both organic and acquisitional expansion, Almac operate a range of “legacy” financial systems, some of which are no longer supported by the vendor, and rely heavily on spreadsheets. Furthermore, due to the growing workload in the Finance department, Almac had to recruit additional team members to support the growth in global business.
Almac is a forward-looking organisation, receptive to taking proactive steps to ensure that all future requirements of the business will be met. Following a full strategic review across the Group, it was agreed that the financial systems should be modernised and Almac embarked on a project to determine the most appropriate Financial System Strategy to meet their requirements over, at least, the next 10 years.
Seeking counsel from an expert partner, Almac engaged with Gradient to support the determination of an appropriate strategy and, potentially, in sourcing a suitable solution.
Put simply, the Finance team at Almac were ultimately seeking to achieve more with the existing resources and free up the team to focus on added-value tasks rather than routine admin tasks.
In order to determine the most appropriate way forward, Almac wanted to assess the available solution options first.
The main benefits Almac sought from a new Finance solution were:
Improved accuracy and efficiency across the Group, through:
Eliminating the re-keying of data and multiple manual / spreadsheet-based activities
Removing the requirement to print, scan and email documents around the business
Greater control over the day-to-day operation of the business, including compliance, by:
Automating as many processes as possible
Greater visibility of, and insight into, the operation and performance of the business, through:
A single, integrated system across the Group
User-friendly analysis and reporting tools
What the Client Says
“The Gradient team provided professional, independent guidance underpinned by best practice throughout which enabled Almac to stay on track and ensure all requirements were met, both on time and on budget.”
In order to help Almac decide on the appropriate next steps, Gradient worked closely with the Finance teams across the Group and documented their various current, ‘as-is’ Finance processes and identified the opportunities for improvement. This was followed by a review of the software market to identify potential solutions and vendors, and approximate costs.
The findings from this initial phase, including the likely investment and potential returns, were summarised by Gradient in a report presented to the Almac Board. Based on this, the Board made the decision to move to the next phase of the project and source a new solution.
During the second stage of the project, Gradient worked closely with the team in an effort to determine how the business could operate if underpinned by a new, ‘fit for purpose’ Finance system. Gradient then converted the ‘to-be’ processes into a detailed specification (tender) document and initiated the procurement process by issuing the requirements specification to potential vendors identified in the initial phase of the project.
Gradient managed the tender process and assessed the vendors’ responses before reviewing them with the Almac team. As a result, three vendors were invited to demonstrate their solution to Almac.
The demonstrations were managed against an agreed agenda which detailed aspects that the team requested to see. These introductory sessions were followed up with further demonstrations and discussions which enabled Almac to agree on the most appropriate solution to meet their varying requirements.
During the final phase of the project, Gradient provided Almac with commercial advice and delivered workshops to address key topics in preparation for implementation.
“Gradient provided independent advice, guidance and direction throughout this project which enabled the Almac finance team to focus on the core requirements and technical aspects of the final finance package.”
“The collaboration between Almac and Gradient was effective, efficient and productive enabling completion of each phase of the project as planned.”