How a medical device manufacturer/distributor manages organizational complexity without putting compliance at risk
“That’s a huge indicator of the power of the system.”
— Rand Aksamit, Business Analyst at Tactile Medical
Often, our customers come to us when they’ve reached a critical point — planning for or immediately after an IPO or acquisition, or after they’ve gone through an audit and found some deficiencies in their change processes.
We recently started working with a customer that was in none of these situations. They were an established, publicly traded company with complex reporting and compliance requirements. But they were also relatively new to NetSuite — their instance was less than a year old, and hadn’t yet accumulated the kind of technical debt we see in more mature accounts.
Our goal was to set them up with tools that would help them keep things that way, while streamlining their audit process and simplifying discovery and troubleshooting. Here’s how we did it.
The Client: Tactile Medical
Every day, Tactile Medical is helping people with lymphedema live better and care for themselves at home. What’s unique about Tactile Medical — something that has implications for how they use NetSuite — is that they both manufacture and distribute their products.
As a result, their operations are extremely complex. Their ERP team is responsible for the enterprise software that runs their accounting, manufacturing, shipping and billing. And on top of that, they have to worry about regulatory compliance as both a medical device manufacturer and a public company.
In other words, there are a lot of moving pieces in play. And while their move to NetSuite gives them a powerful platform to manage things effectively, Tactile’s team needed tools to ensure they weren’t going to lose sight of big picture goals like change management and compliance.
And that’s exactly what we set them up with. Here’s a quick look at some of the things the Tactile team loves most of all about Strongpoint — and where they can go with the platform in the future.
I know exactly when somebody's deleted something out of the system.
— Ruth Mickelson, Manager of Business Applications
In a complex NetSuite account, BAs and systems leadership need to have visibility into what’s happening. Tactile Medical uses Strongpoint’s change management system integrated with ServiceNow to manage development activity in their account. All activity is logged in an immutable record and checked for compliance against the company’s approval policies.
As Ruth Mickelson, Tactile's Manager of Business Applications told us, “I think one of my favorite things is the way that it tracks everything. I know exactly when somebody's deleted something out of the system. I can find out why, and who, and should they have — or not have. Just the fact that I can look at the logs and see who has done what.”
Key Feature: ‘What Changed’ Reports
Change management is incredibly useful for tracking activity in a complex NetSuite environment — and producing audit-ready reporting that ties changes back to an originating request and approval. But when the Tactile team needs to troubleshoot something, they turn to our “What Changed” report.
As the name suggests, the “What Changed” report shows you everything in the system that was changed in a specified time period. Without Strongpoint, Tactile’s team could only do this by searching through NetSuite system notes — a time-consuming process that involves parsing thousands of entries to find what’s most important. With the ‘What Changed’ report, however, everything they need is in front of them.
“When we do run into an issue, or something just doesn’t seem right, I can find who made a change, or what happened,” says Mickelson.
“When you see something like that and it’s helpful, that’s a huge indicator of the power of the system,” adds Business Analyst Rand Aksamit.
Complex Solutions for Complex Systems
When you’re dealing with complex ERP systems, sometimes there are no easy solutions. When discussing the onboarding process with Strongpoint, Fall told us, “I think the reason it’s complex is because of what we’re dealing with here. There’s a lot to it!”
“What has helped is the staff. The project managers specifically have been really, really good about helping us walk through all that complexity.”
Now that they’re up and running, Tactile Medical has a powerful tool to ensure that, as their reliance on NetSuite grows, they’ll be able to scale up while still maintaining tight controls over their complicated accounting, billing and manufacturing processes.
“Once we start to get more and more data in there, I want to start using more of your tools,” Mickelson told us. Saved search cleanup, and user role management will both be instrumental in keeping their account streamlined as they move forward. And Agent Controls and our SoD module will automate much of the work around compliance — giving Tactile’s team what we like to call ‘sleep at night’ value.
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