In today’s pharmaceutical plants, reducing costs and accelerating schedules are ever-present challenges. After receiving FDA approval, manufacturers must get new products into production as quickly as possible.
They also need to effectively focus resources on critical
production areas and quickly adapt or change operating and
commissioning priorities.This allows schedules to be compressed as required by market demands.
New technology developments such as industrial wireless
are having a profound effect on plant operating strategies.
By enabling greater workforce mobility and connectivity,
wireless allows manufacturers to diversify production, and
change from a single-chain product to producing multi-chain
products, in an efficient and flexible way to help meet the
needs of patients.
TODAY’S BUSINESS CHALLENGES
Around the world, pharmaceutical manufacturing is
evolving from a high margin, large volume, make-to-stock,
supply-driven operation to a price sensitive, small volume,
make-to-order, value-driven operation. With limited available capital, equipment, and talented human resources,
maximizing asset utilization and return on investment is becoming vital to future success and survival.
For generations, pharmaceutical producers have configured
their facilities to run campaigns of single products. To meet the
challenges of the new global economy—and blockbuster drugs
being replaced by multiple products with small production
batch sizes—companies are transitioning their new and existing
facilities to modular, flexible plant configurations (See Fig. 1).
Flexibility has value for pharmaceutical companies due to the
time required to build dedicated capacity, the finite duration of
patent protection, and the probability that new products will not
reach the market due to technical or regulatory reasons. Having
flexible capacity generates tangible options, which enables manufacturers to delay the decision about constructing product-spe-cific capacity until technical uncertainty is resolved. In addition,
initiating production in a flexible facility can enable the firm to
optimize production processes in dedicated facilities.
DEMAND FOR NEW TECHNOLOGY
During the next decade, pharmaceutical manufacturers
will be under greater pressure to utilize technology advancements to improve their operational agility. Already
a vital enabler of research, technology is also essential to
other functions from clinical trials to commercialization.
New mobile solutions that streamline these processes and
speed time-to-market are rapidly being deployed.
Wireless technology will be the cornerstone enabler for
plant operations to increase visibility, quickly adapt to market changes, improve production efficiency and rapidly configure equipment controls for new products.
Industrial wireless networks provide better coverage on
the plant floor than traditional wired systems, and allow
personnel to interact efficiently with a wide range of equipment. Workers can spend more of their time paying closer
attention to processes using devices such as hand-held
tablets. For example, an operator assigned to multiple production units can receive alerts at any time and respond to
abnormal situations along with performing routine tasks.
With wireless technology, manufacturing facilities are able
Improving the flexibility of pharmaceutical plants
to eliminate fixed workstations and hardwired controls, and in-
Mobile solutions that streamline production processes are becoming more
essential as manufacturers try to improve their operational agility.