Enabled by advanced digital technologies, pharmaceutical manufacturers are finding they can improve time to market, reduce waste and reduce costs

The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the need for pace and innovation in pharmaceutical manufacturing. Prior to Covid-19, digital technologies were already used in the pharmaceutical sector but the range of applications and the pace of adoption is now expanding quickly across discovery, manufacturing and supply chain.

Advanced digital technologies such as machine vision, Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning (AI/ML), digital twins and sensor-dense Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT) in production facilities, have changed the face of pharmaceutical manufacturing. Many organisations are moving beyond proofs of concept and are starting to scale these technologies and find additional areas to impact.

With additional digital technologies, organisations are discovering they need enhanced data skills to manage the flow of very large data volumes. Operations management now requires skills in data modelling and visualisation with many manufacturers recruiting new teams or turning to external specialists.

Automation technologies are helpful to manage processes to tighter tolerances with new generation instruments and equipment designed to be network-connected and to operate in harmony with upstream and downstream equipment, giving operators more management options, more granular notifications and enhanced intervention options.

AI/ML approaches can help to improve complex processes. Figuring out the impact of different input variables to output KPIs such as yield or waste or cost, can bring insights previously very challenging (or impossible) to discover and surface.

Supply chains are increasingly connected through digital technology with information transfer migrating from documents to data and from novel formats to recognised standards, allowing agility and resilience within the supply chain.



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