Orthomol GmbH is a pharmaceutical company located in Langenfeld offers different supplements and combinations thereof for different uses and lifestyles. The family company which was founded in 1991 is one of the most well-known pharmaceutical companies in the German market, with their products being a main component of any drugstore considering the success that’s been established in the German market as well as worldwide. It should come as no surprise that the pharmaceutical industry is quite customer focused, which means that the industry requires a lot of travelling and personal care by the sales representatives. This puts additional emphasis on the importance of travel expense accounting for Orthomol’s general accounting, which was done externally due to the high amount of effort required.
In the interview conducted with Circula, Daniel Lindner and Christopher Panagiotidis stated that innovation is key for a sustainable development and continuous improvement of the effectiveness and efficiency in any company. This is one of the main reasons why Orthomol has been continuously working on digitizing their business processes and organizational structures. Their aim is to become and work as digital, connected, and economical as possible. Orthomol started using Circula at the beginning of this year, taking them one step closer to achieving their goal and digitally optimizing a significant part of their accounting processes.
Before implementing a new travel expense software, the company’s compared a fair amount of different providers and their products. Since it was especially important for Orthomol to implement a solution that’s as user-friendly as possible, they decided to go with Circula -a tool which offers a user-friendly interface and intuitive use for all different users, stated Daniel Lindner.
It’s remarkable how quickly the employees were able to get accustomed to using the tool. Despite conducting an introductory session to introduce the tool to the team, everyone seemed to have a good grasp on how to use the app, stated both of the Orthomol employees. Due to the implementation of Circula it’s been noted that the employees got a better sense of responsibility regarding their travel expenses, since they weren’t simply required to provide the accounting department with the receipt. The employees in the accounting department were quite relieved about this new change, which freed up other investment options with the new resources, e.g. the next digitization project.
“We wanted something new, we wanted something better. We wanted to go on a digital path. Why not with Circula?”, stated Daniel Lindner, deputy head of finance and accounting at Orthomol.
A Midsize Family Business Goes with a Start Up’s SaaS-Solution
There is no solution that would be fitting to all different challenges, and with that in mind, Orthomol has deemed it a deciding factor to work with a software provider, with whom the constant communication and collaboration is possible. This would enable the development of a solution that would come quite close to what the user’s needs are.
“The perfectly tailored tool for us doesn’t exist. Communication needs to happen, adjustments have to be implemented. Internally speaking we had the best feeling with Circula.”, mentioned Daniel Lindner.
Start ups are distinguished through their agile and flexible company structures, which allow them to react quickly and adequately with the needs of their users in mind. With outside challenges, the internal development and learning curve improves too. Orthomol and Circula’s operations team set up a fixed meeting every two weeks in order to discuss and determine the needs and details of the different challenges faced - completely according to the agile project management style. This helped in keeping the implementation and onboarding process transparent for everyone involved, and determining the different requirements better, which would lead to finding the most ideal solution for Orthomol.
The main thing for Orthomol was having constant and excellent communication with the Software development team, to be able to explain why specific requirements of the tool need to be there and matter more than others, which are usually different to the standard functions of the tool. “Due to the communication and solution-oriented nature of both Orthomol and Circula, the transfer was completely successful and a cause of satisfaction”, Daniel Lindner confirmed during an interview.
Individual Adjustments to the Current Distribution System
The travelling sales representatives are constantly on the road and they use the different CRM systems to store the travel data. With the intention of replacing the manual typing of the travel data, an interface has been created between the CRM systems and Circula, which would automatically forward all travel information to Circula. An interface was also created that transfers the approved travel expenses for payment from Circula to the ERP system used by Orthomol.
Daniel Lindner reassured us that Orthomol is very satisfied with the interface, which is tailored specifically for their requirements.
A Medium-sized Company is Digitally Changing
In terms of innovation and flexibility, digitization is an ongoing process at Orthomol. Many processes were or are still paper-heavy, but Orthomol is working on gradually converting them to a paperless solution such as Circula. However, companies are bound by legal requirements and regulations, which means that the conversion is not as easy as desired in all areas. The digitization of conventional processes in medium-sized businesses does not happen overnight, but develops step by step. In the process, new innovative solutions are constantly falling under the radar of the family business and are tested for suitability.
Not every company in Germany has the courage to simply try something out. The fear of making the wrong decision is too large, which could possibly have serious legal consequences. When evaluating and introducing digital accounting tools, it is important that all processes are always legally compliant.
"Circula has a software certificate, procedural documentation and it is clearly demonstrated that legal requirements and certain standards are met," explains Daniel Lindner.
Tools that strengthen and promote collaboration were already introduced at Orthomol last year, the two Orthomol employees added. Especially in 2020, a year marked by the COVID 19 pandemic, it was an advantage for Orthomol that these collaboration and communication tools had already been implemented. This gave the company more time to get used to the various new platforms and to use them efficiently within the team. When Circula finally joined the company at the beginning of the year, and teamwork was sometimes very difficult for some companies in times of home office and lockdown, Orthomol was able to continue working digitally without any significant loss of productivity. Tools such as Circula in particular can help decentralized teams in such times to digitize their receipts and invoices for expenses and business trips and to submit them in a legally compliant manner.
Orthomol thus recognized early on how helpful the digital transformation of business and communication processes can be in everyday work. It allows people to work together on different projects in real time and to have access to all documents from any location. Digitally supported communication also promotes transparency in the company and strengthens the sense of community - the feeling that every employee should have: I am part of a whole, I contribute something important to the company's success. Especially when working from home, this is a challenging new situation for some companies and HR departments, which they will have to deal with in the future in order to remain competitive and agile. For Orthomol, however, this "new" situation has also brought some good things with it:
"You can see everything, because you also take in information from other departments that you might not have noticed before," says Christopher Panagiotidis.
We’d like to sincerely thank Daniel Lindner and Christopher Panagiotidis for the really nice and open conversation. We’re delighted that we got to help you and your colleagues on this journey of digital change. Happy submitting! 💟