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The Prescription for Pharma’s Digital Future

Could IoT be the prescription to success in the quest to digitally transform Pharma manufacturing?

As a solutions provider to the Pharma sector we believe the role of IoT is central to achieving  comprehensive digitalization. Yet there are some significant hurdles to overcome. Many Pharma manufacturers are using processes that are being phased out in other industries. IoT in healthcare is projected to be worth over $534 billion by 2025, yet Pharma seems to be lagging behind in transitioning to digital technologies to keep pace with other sectors in healthcare and beyond.

Pharma manufacturing faces unique digital transformation challenges

The regulatory maze. The rigorous requirements of regulatory compliance in the pharmaceutical industry are designed to ensure drugs are manufactured safely, efficiently, at scale, with reliable quality and in precisely measured doses. In a manufacturing environment that is characterized by convoluted supply chain and logistical processes, complex and delicate chemical interactions, and stringent quality controls, the prospect of digitally transforming every aspect of the business is a daunting task, which may be one reason Pharma has had a tendency to be late to the industrial digitalization party.

Product quality and the customer relationship. Innovation within Pharma can be a challenge in light of potential negative impacts on the customer. Even minute changes in active ingredients, quality and purity ­can have serious consequences for patients who expect a product to be safe, effective and of the highest quality available. Layers of ‘middlemen’ (hospitals, doctors, reps, pharma retailers) effectively remove Pharma manufacturers from direct engagement with the actual patient experience. With today’s savvy consumers who expect active interaction and demand transparency, this lack of customer engagement constitutes a risk which could translate to customers jumping ship to another provider.

Demand vs. production capabilities. Unquestionably, the global pandemic has increased the demand for needed products as well as major advancements in production capabilities. Yet, with social distancing protocols in place, keeping up with increasing demands on production with fewer people on production lines poses even more difficulty for Pharma manufacturers who desire to improve the manufacturing process with shop-floor automation, electronic batch records, warehouse management systems and other innovations.

Innovative approaches to digital transformation are needed to meet the challenges

The regulatory maze. The major burden for ensuring consumer safety lies firmly at the manufacturing stage, where it is essential to use industry-accepted practices to maintain safety and efficacy. IoT technology and solution providers will incorporate this understanding by creating solidly reliable and intelligent applications that meet Pharma’s high standards of regulatory compliance and operational excellence.

Product quality and the customer relationship. Consumers will increasingly base their pharmaceutical buying choices on the perceived relationship and influence they have with their Pharma manufacturers. In response, manufacturers will increasingly look to position consumer input in the production loop to change product needs and quality based on real-time customer insights and market data. Those manufacturers who place priority on building this interactive relationship with customers will succeed in the post-COVID era.

Demand vs. production capabilities. Raising the bar of innovation means adopting a “remote everything” mindset and digital operational strategy (as discussed in our previous blog on the subject) in order to address increases in production demands.  Remote management technologies and capabilities that were previously considered ‘nice to have’ are quickly becoming mandatory elements – AR/VR, AI, task collaboration, simulations, workflows, and more. Global multisite manufacturers must install an effective process to test, validate and measure ROI, production efficacy and success on a single plant before scaling globally.

A prescription for Pharma manufacturing that produces tangible results

As a problem-solving partner to our Pharma manufacturing clients, Decisyon has fine-tuned our focus on those solutions that actually deliver significant value to Pharma manufacturing in a sustainable way.

We have created smarter ways to access company data and machines in order to customize and deploy appropriate solutions in shorter timeframes than ever before. We are utilizing AR and VR for managing change formats, AI to transform “simple” predictive maintenance into a prescriptive model, advanced workflows to build simulations, implementing real-time asset management using IoT sensor data, and task collaboration to accelerate global control and execution by COOs and plant cluster managers.

Pharma’s full digitalization is closer now than you might think. We are excited to play a vital role for our clients in the Pharma sector in connecting and mapping the full value chain from raw material to distribution to consumers, and to be catalysts in the acceleration of the Industry 4.0 paradigm on behalf of our customers.

How can we help you on your journey to quickly transform to a comprehensive digital environment to elevate/accelerate your business outcomes? We’d love to help you meet your goals and overcome any challenges.

Speak with one of our IIoT experts today.


View a case study of how one global Pharma manufacturer increased shop floor productivity, increased competitive edge, gained faster time to market and installed a 360 degree global analysis with a Decisyon solution.