Degrees of digitalization

Oct. 13, 2017
Armed with the education and motivation, pharma now needs a plan.

By Karen Langhauser, Pharmaceutical Manufacturing chief content director

It’s not too late for the pharmaceutical industry to dodge its reputation for being woefully behind other industries in terms of adopting technology. Pharma, facing somewhat of a “digital crossroads,” is still poised to capitalize on the vast benefits of digital transformation.

Digital transformation is best defined as the adoption of new manufacturing and business processes made possible by automation, communications and computing technologies represented by conceptual models such as data analytics, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Industry 4.0. The pharmaceutical industry has seen great advances in transformative technology, and it’s becoming increasingly evident that many of these innovations can give manufacturers an edge.

A recent Pharmaceutical Manufacturing survey separately asked 200+ drug manufacturers and equipment and services suppliers(*) their thoughts on the industry’s progress in terms of digital transformation. When asked which areas of pharma manufacturing they felt would see the most benefit from increased digitalization, both manufacturers and suppliers noted the same top three target areas: plant-floor production, quality control and supply chain management.

Close analysis of the survey results against the backdrop of today’s pharmaceutical industry landscape reveals that while the utopian picture of the benefits of digital transformation has been painted, in order to start realizing these benefits on the plant floor and throughout the supply chain, pharma needs a structured plan of action.

Read the full piece at our sister publication, Pharmaceutical Manufacturing, here.