Procurify Customer Story

How a $ 12 billion biotech startup Reduced Its Procurement Timeline by 50%

WHAT IS SAMUMED?

Samumed is a leader in biotech research for regenerative medicine. Their unique technology aims to combat a number of important diseases, including osteoarthritis, pulmonary fibrosis and Alzheimer’s disease. Founded in San Diego, California in 2008, Samumed was initially focused on oncology therapeutics. In 2010, the company saw a major R&D breakthrough that would form the basis for a much broader biotech platform. Since then, the company has expanded its research operations at a rapid pace, and is now conducting clinical trials in seven different disease areas. Valued at $12 Billion, Samumed is considered to be the most valuable private biotech company on the planet.

“Since we’ve implemented Procurify, I’ve heard nothing but good news about procurement, and I can think of no higher compliment for an operational platform.”
-Cevdet Samikoglu, CFO, Samumed

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THE PROBLEM

Originally, Samumed had relied on a spreadsheet-based system to manage procurement. Purchasing volume has since expanded by 10x, and they needed a more scalable platform to manage their rapid growth.

REQUIREMENTS

An integrated procurement system that would improve the purchasing experience for all four main user groups:

THE CHALLENGE

With growth comes change, and Samumed found that many of its original systems were not able to support program expansion. In particular, procurement quickly became a key challenge.

Originally, Samumed’s process was as follows:

  1. Lab personnel enter their requested purchases into a shared Excel spreadsheet.
  2. The lab supervisor reviews and approves the purchases.
  3. The purchasing department consults the spreadsheet, contacts the relevant vendors to place orders, and marks the orders that have been successfully made.
  4. Lab personnel see that their orders have been placed, and switch over to a new tab for the next batch of requests.
  5. Purchasing staff submit statements and receipts to the accounting department for manual reconciliation.

While this system was workable initially, it was definitely not robust enough to support Samumed’s rapid growth.

“In 2010, our total procurement averaged 100-200 line items a month,” explains Cevdet Samkoglu, Samumed’s Chief Financial Officer. “By 2017, that number had ballooned to 1,000. With so much more volume, it was clear that our needs had gone above and beyond what Excel could handle.”

Specifically, there were several major problems:

Read The Essential Guide To Managing Biotech Labs — a primer on how Finance Can Work With Operations To Create More Accurate Reports Without Slowing Down The Procurement Process

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SEARCHING FOR A SOLUTION

The time had come for Samumed to upgrade to a more sophisticated procurement system. In searching for the right solution, the company wanted to ensure that the procurement experience would be improved for everyone, including:

Samumed knew that if any one group failed to benefit from the improvements, they would be reluctant to make full use of the new system. This would cause a bottleneck in that department, preventing the system from being used to its maximum potential.

Thus, the chosen solution had to be both powerful and easy to use, serving the needs of all user groups equally well.

Initially, Samumed tried to leverage the built-in purchasing module that came with their enterprise accounting system. However, they found this solution cumbersome, and lacking in certain key features. The company then considered several other third-party options, but ran into similar issues.

Eventually, Samumed discovered Procurify, and knew they had found the right solution.

“What ultimately set Procurify apart was its ease of use,” explains Cevdet. “A new user could play around with the software and figure out how to use it within minutes – it was really that simple.”

Samumed was also impressed with the quality of service Procurify was able to provide, citing it as one of the best experiences the company has had with any software provider.

“Of the various systems that we’ve implemented at Samumed, Procurify was one of the easiest to roll out,” says Cevdet. “And since implementation, the Procurify support team has also been very receptive to feedback.  Our suggestions are always well-received and thoughtfully considered.”

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THE RESULTS

Since implementing Procurify, Samumed’s accounting team has collected regular feedback from the various user groups. Everyone consistently reports high levels of satisfaction, saying that Procurify has improved their workflow significantly.

LAB PERSONNEL ENJOY A MORE STREAMLINED PURCHASING PROCESS

Previously, lab personnel filed purchase requests through a single-user spreadsheet, and would have to wait their turn if someone else was using it. In Procurify, multiple users can operate simultaneously, eliminating wait times.

In addition, Procurify allowed Samumed to build up a searchable catalog of commonly ordered items. Lab personnel can also easily add new items by entering the product URL into Procurify. The system automatically creates a new entry, extracting key product information from the web page and filling in the required fields.

This has saved lab personnel considerable time, as they no longer have to manually enter product details every time they re-order the same items.

SUPERVISORS RECEIVE AUTOMATED NOTIFICATIONS AND RELEVANT DATA

Procurify sends an e-mail notification to lab supervisors whenever there are open orders waiting for approval. Supervisors can then log into the cloud-based platform at any time of day, from their PC or mobile device, to monitor and approve orders.

Procurify centralizes all relevant data about the procurement process, including order history, overall spend and remaining budget. This is a major convenience for supervisors, providing them with the information they need to make good decisions about pending orders.

THE PURCHASING TEAM CAN EXECUTE ORDERS MORE EFFICIENTLY

Samumed’s purchasing team used to have an entirely manual process. They would sort through the approved requests, group product requests by vendor, and call up sales reps to place their orders. Not only was this labor-intensive, it also left a lot of room for human error.

Procurify has automated this entire process. Once orders are approved, they flow to a “Procure” tab, where buyers can easily consolidate product requests by vendor. Then, the system generates a purchase order for each vendor, with all relevant products included.

All these steps are handled by the system, which minimizes the load on Samumed’s lean purchasing team, and eliminates the possibility of incorrect orders.

ACCOUNTING HAS GREATER VISIBILITY OVER THE ENTIRE PROCUREMENT CYCLE

Before Procurify, the accounting team had poor procurement visibility, and reconciling orders, payments and deliveries was a time-consuming process. Troubleshooting of inconsistencies required lengthy e-mail and verbal communications, greatly extending the reconciliation period.

"It’s not just Procurify’s ability to free up their time, and create more efficiency, but the improvements in accuracy that it brings to reports is something that our accountants value greatly. The confidence with which our accounts guys finish their work has also gone up because of the interconnectedness of the ordering and the reconciliation modules.”
-Cevdet Samikoglu, CFO, Samumed


With Procurify, any time there is a question about an order, accounting staff can easily search the system to find all necessary information. This gives them integrated visibility into every step of the process – from who submitted the request, to who approved the request, to the purchase order, to when the delivery was received.

TOTAL PROCUREMENT TIME SAVINGS OF 50%

The quality-of-life changes reported by Samumed’s various departments has also translated into quantifiable results.

From the time Samumed installed Procurify, total procurement volume has expanded by 20%. Despite this large increase in orders, the company has seen an approximate 50% time savings over their earlier procurement procedures.

Reflecting on this result, Cevdet remarked, “Given our rapid growth, it would have been impressive for us just to maintain our previous procurement timeline. Instead, Procurify has cut that time in half, which is truly outstanding.”

“Procurify is like a great goalkeeper on a soccer team. When the goalkeeper does his job, people may not notice it, but it forms the foundation for the team to score goals elsewhere and win. Since we’ve implemented Procurify, I’ve heard nothing but good news about procurement, and I can think of no higher compliment for an operational platform.”

— Cevdet Samikoglu, CFO, Samumed

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ABOUT PROCURIFY
Procurify is the leading Smart Spending solution for mid-sized businesses. Its flexibility and highly intuitive user experience makes it the go-to solution for startups, companies and organizations that want to spend their money in a more planned and controlled way.

Around the world, hundreds of companies — particularly those in Biotechnology, Pharma and Healthcare — use Procurify. Some of our clients in these industries include: Finch Therapeutics, BlackThorn, Icagen, The California Medical Innovations Institute, Premier Biotech and many more.   

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