“ProConcept ERP meets our highest manufacturing demands (ISO 13485 norm concerning medical devices), it supports our growth and allows us to control our operational activity”.
A labour of love
Symetis, based in Ecublens (VD), Switzerland, markets and develops safe and intuitive aortic heart valve replacement systems (TAVI). No more major open heart surgery, no need to open the thorax. The surgeon introduces the folded valve on the end of the catheter, and then places it accurately at the top of the heart via the femoral artery.
This low impact technique is prescribed for high-risk patients suffering from severe aortic stenosis. This pathology, caused by the diameter of the aortic valve shrinking, disturbs blood flow to the heart, therefore weakening it.
The cardiac prostheses is composed of non-coronary native porcine leaflets attached to a self-expanding stent, giving it a ten year lifespan. The entire structure is assembled with over one thousand sutures.
The company was founded in 2001 by Jacques Essinger, Symetis commercialized their first product ten years later. Today the company has 291 full time employees: 104 in Ecublens and Germany, along with 187 in Brazil. The Swiss site in the canton of Vaud fabricates the instruments used to introduce the valves, whereas the valves themselves are produced in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, who have expertise in this field.
Symetis distributes its products throughout the world, but principally in the European market to hospitals, clinics, physicians, and distributors. The company was purchased in the second quarter of 2017 by Boston Scientific for the sum of 435 million Dollars (432 million Swiss Francs). The Heart valve replacement (TAVI) market continues to grow; this amounts to several billion dollars worldwide.
“We guarantee complete traceability in several seconds from the components to the finished products and vice-versa, which regularly surprises the regulatory authorities who audit us.”
In the heart of the company: ProConcept ERP
If Symetis sooths the hearts its cardiac patients, then the management application, ProConcept ERP from SolvAxis, makes the Vaudois company’s heart beat faster! “Meeting our highest manufacturing demands (ISO 13485 norm concerning medical devices), it supports our growth and allows us to control our operational activity”, reveals Alexandre Gimenez, Supply Chain manager. Our monthly financial closing is completed in record time (two or three days), and with unrivaled reliability. “When I arrived in the company a little over two years ago, ProConcept was seen as a constraint that did not provide the expected added value. After analyzing this, it was recognized that its use was inadequate”.
Significant internal preparatory work was started, updating the basic data, making the dynamic data more reliable by reviewing the processes and reassigning access rights to conform to the roles and responsibilities of each actor, allowed the system to become even more reliable. Users were also trained in their required tasks. “This stage lasted around two months, after which we understood exactly how important it was to use the system correctly and reaped the benefits by eliminating numerous tasks that added no value in order to focus our efforts on our core business (no more physical inventories at end of the month, visibility over the operational activities and adequate prioritization aiming to support them, all with a minimum effort while searching for required information). We were also able to delete the warehouse management software by using the existing functionalities inProConcept”, explained Alexandre Gimenez.
“As a consequence, we were able to adjust our procurement and production plans at any time, using the high quality, real time information available: we could evaluate the risks of stock outs and react proactively”, underlined Gimenez.
“We guarantee complete traceability in several seconds from the components to the finished products and vice-versa, which regularly surprises the regulatory authorities who audit us”, notes Alexandre Gimenez.
To reach this level of performance the supply chain manager worked closely with the SolvAxis consultants. As of August 2015, Symetis took the decision to enrich the use of ProConcept in three phases:
Simplification of the reception process and implementation of usage status management (for inspection, released, quarantine, rejected).
Review the distribution and integration process for our partner responsible for the distribution center in ProConcept.
Integrate the valve manufacturing operations in Brazil.
The first phase required us to migrate from version 10.3 to 11.1, this was conducted transparently for all our users.
Symetis SA Chemin de la Venoge 11 CH-1024 Ecublens VD
A month and a half was required to implement the first phase. “Instead of a lengthy specifications document, we expressed our needs through a flow diagram and presentation slides. The excellent consultants at SolvAxis understood our needs immediately and knew how to meet our expectations.” The integration of the users when drawing up the expectations, and then during the test and validation stages, was a major success factor.
“We relied upon this first phase to implement the second phase. The review of the distribution and integration process for our partner in Germany took two months. We did not want to give access to our IT network to our logistics partner. The Web access functionality allowed us to remove this constraint, as it only allows access via one door to ProConcept. Our customer service can now select the products that will be sent, or recovered, from customer sites. Our obsolescence rate has dropped to zero as opposed to much more previously.”
The last phase was more complex to implement, as it was difficult to integrate the users in Brazil when defining the needs. “We drew up a specifications document with a wide scope allowing for rapid adjustment during the implementation stage. This stage lasted five days: finalization of the system the first day, training for the second and third days, introduction of the dynamic data the fourth day (inventories, current production orders, transfers in progress between locations, …) and the set up of reports along with the assisted go live on the fifth day. We were also supported by the web access that offers big advantages in IT architecture terms, and therefore maintenance costs. All that is required to work with ProConcept is a PC, an Internet connection, and secure access.”
“These three successive changes were delivered on time, on cost, and with the required quality! It is so rare when talking about IT projects, that it really needs highlighting”, noted Alexandre Gimenez.
It is through ProConcept ERP, that Symetis now has a complete image of their value chain in a single system. Redundant information has been eliminated, as they are often the source or errors. “Decision making relies on the information available at a given time. It is therefore easier to take the right decision when you have real time, reliable information.”
Alexandre Gimenez recommends this software application to any SMB “Without any hesitation”. “It is reasonably priced, and rapidly implemented. The tool is flexible and accessible to all. Furthermore, the maintenance service is highly reactive”, he concludes.
Today, thirty persons in Ecublens, fifteen in Brazil, and six in Germany work with this tool.
Why SolvAxis ?
Swiss: We build software the Swiss way, for Swiss companies.
Expertise: Serving SMEs in your industry for 30 years.
Technology: State-of-the-art technology platform.
SolvAxis has a 30-year heritage of designing functionally rich and deeply integrated ERP solutions.
Our products continue to evolve, from our web-based user interface to the ongoing development of specific functionalities.