Pharma Companies See Measurable ROI With Digitized Manufacturing

Technology Trends Shaping the Pharmaceutical Industry

Pharmaceutical development is experiencing unprecedented changes — particularly in the speed and level of complexity of manufacturing processes. Spoiler alert: technology is the biggest contributor to this transformation.

  • Reduce risks of contamination.
  • Cut development costs.
  • Simplify compliance for biopharma manufacturers by reducing or eliminating the need for clean-in-place (CIP)/sterilizing-in-place (SIP) operations.

Obstacles in Pharma Manufacturing

No pharmaceutical manufacturing pathway is complete without a few hurdles, road hazards and detours — not to mention the consumption of enormous amounts of time and money. The ranking priorities tend to include getting products out the door on schedule, making sure products don’t come back, and keeping budgets intact along the way. Still, seemingly small hurdles can escalate into compliance issues that can stall production, adding more strain to already tight schedules and budgets.

  • Inability to share information and data, which often leads to duplicated efforts and rework.
  • Lack of end-to-end visibility and traceability across the supply chain.
  • Errors, omissions, product damage and returned products.
  • Difficult to be predictive. Without real-time data you can’t see the trends.
  • Most of the time you don’t have the data’s history, which is needed for many reasons such as data integrity compliance. Locating the history is costly and time-consuming.
  • Problems with procedures or materials might go undiscovered until after a product batch is completed.

Overcoming Manufacturing Obstacles

There is no reason to continue trudging through production processes and getting tripped up by unforeseen obstacles. A few tactics that companies can implement across their organizations to keep production on schedule include:

  1. Encourage production staff to stop making mistakes.
  2. Keep retraining staff in hopes that they can accomplish Nos. 1 and 2.
  3. Double- or triple-check spreadsheets and paper documents in case employees struggle with №2, but this is counterintuitive to №1.
  4. Attend to production problems as they occur, applying temporary fixes or makeshift workarounds as needed.
  5. Encourage employees to improve their penmanship to make production reports more legible, but still follow tactic №1.
  6. Hope that luck and adrenaline can compensate for the lack of planning and having the right tools.
  • Big data — The ability to quickly gather and aggregate large amounts and various types of data in real time.
  • Predictive analytics — The use of new and historical data to forecast industry activities, behaviors and trends.
  • Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) — The ability to gather data in real time from remote locations in order to control equipment and manufacturing conditions.
  • Cloud computing — Platforms for hosting services and applications over the internet as well as sharing data securely and economically.

Making Your Manufacturing Life Easier

A basic principle of digital technology is that connecting systems and machines creates intelligent networks and automates manufacturing processes throughout the supply chain. That said, phasing out paper-based processes is actually becoming more of a necessity than an option. Otherwise, as technology continues to evolve, plodding through manual processes will undermine your ability to keep pace with the industry.

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