SAP ERP or Dynamics AX?

Have you compared SAP and Microsoft's ERP solutions for the process industry, or specifically for pharmaceutical businesses?

99 Answers

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SAP with its other acquired applications (APO/ Business Objects /LPO/MII / ME) definitely provides lot more functionality in diverse / complex / automated ISA95 based manufacturing environment and also has a lot of open potential for diverse manufacturing models in Planning & execution. Standard SAP ERP is well suited for low complex manufacturing (pharma packaging, Medical device etc..), but for a complex manufacturing (biologics or API MFG) you will need a MES and additional (MOMS) manufacturing operations management system
AX is an excellent application for a low complexity manufacturing (packaging, medical devices, simple chemical processing etc..) environment.. Some of the complex planning and complex manufacturing execution processes will need third party application, which are not as tightly integrated as SAP.
Below comparison is based on basic ERP of SAP and AX. IF CRM/APO/BO/ME/MII etc is added there is no comparison.. The below comparison is only between ECC & AX
Operator delight (manufacturing) – AX is better than SAP
Customer Delight (sales management) – AX is better than SAP
Vendor delight (Procurement Management) – AX is better than SAP
Validation Documentation – SAP has more knowledge depth than AX
Low complexity Manufacturing – No Major difference between AX or SAP
Integration to third party – SAP is better than AX
Knowledge and resources – SAP has a lot more than AX
ROI – AX is a much better then SAP

As far as FDA 21 CFR Part 11 validation is concerned, you would find lot more knowledge and resources for SAP than AX, but the effort of documentation and testing will be the same.

SAP has a lot more vendors providing FDA 21 CFR Part 11 validation services than AX and the quality of those resources is very, very mature. AX does not have that industry expertise depth

Lot of SAP vendors have developed accelerators for validation, which have gone through test of time and there are vendors who have developed SAP centric applications to fill SAP deficiency GAP (EX: Weigh & Dispense, recipe Authoring, Equipment/labor validation, container management etc..)

In my current situation the company has selected AX over SAP. The decision was purely based on cost and complexity of manufacturing.. There are certain industries which do not need the complexity of SAP, AX is a very good solution. CIO of this company looked the functionality needed for next 5 years and did an excellent job by focusing his ROI on customer delight and operational efficiency. “bad for my career but good for company bottom line”

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Back in 1999 JD Edwards made a strategic decision to align with the top software providers for Pharma, and that decision has carried JDE forward into 2015. I would point out that the new inventory functionality in EnterpriseOne 9.2 will dramatically improve the process manufacturing requirements.

Oracle's JD Edwards EnterpriseOne has robust functionality for process manufacturing. From a cost basis, versus SAP, JD Edwards wins every time.

AX has limited functionality and will require customization the JD Edwards delivers off the shelf. This is not to say that you won't have some level of customization in JD Edwards; it will be significantly less customization than AX and will be easier to manage at an organizational level.

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SAP is good for manufacturing and so many clients are using the SAP for
process industry
Here we use SAP for process orders execution and other components
integration of manufacturing industry

I don't have any exp on Microsoft ERP

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Real User

I worked for both SAP and Microsoft Dynamics. Many years ago there was a partnership to make AX FDA compliant, but that did not go very far. AX today has basic process manufacturing capabilities and strong globalization support, but it is not a good fit for a highly regulated industry in my opinion. SAP has strong presence in Pharma and is arguably the best solution to enforce compliance, but it comes at the cost of flexibility and cost.

Regarding other people's suggestions on JD Edwards... I agree that JD Edwards is potentially a good fit for pharma, but I would be concerned about the future roadmap here. With Fusion as the future solution, I would be concerned about the roadmap of JD Edwards.

Besides functional requirements, make sure you look at vendor viability and the role the solution plays in that vendor's portfolio. You will run this product 10-15 years, so make sure the product has a large and growing install base and a thriving ecosystem of consultants and complementary solutions. How large is your company? Do you have multi-national operations? How many sites? Will this solution be your corporate ERP? Good luck with your selection process! I don't envy you.

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I used to sell Dynamics and currently sell SAP as well as another ERP developed for the Pharma Industry.
Hands down from cost, stability, and design this ERP is the one to look at : video http://www.katalyst-erp.com/home.html If you need help please give me a call at 708 743 2024 Thanks Joe:

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The most cost effective solution with best functionality would be Oracle's JD Edwards.
If you are going with SAP or Microsoft Dynamics without considering JD Edwards then you are not doing justice with yourself.

A number of top pharmaceutical companies are using JD Edwards.

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Community Manager

Hi Farukh- can you share with the community what you found? Did you choose to implement one of the solutions?


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Top 20Consultant


I have not compared SAP and Microsoft, you could look at Oracle's JD Edwards,

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