As we see pharma 4.0 getting coined as a term summarizing the tech revolution for pharma companies, the past few years have seen a surge in investments in automation technologies in the sector across the globe. What’s driving this wave? The growing need for efficiency, process optimization, regulatory process automation, and creating a robust and sustainable supply chain that benefits all stakeholders. 

At the cusp of transformation 

Industry 4.0 is driving the competitiveness and success of pharmaceutical manufacturers as we speak. In the coming years, we’ll see digitization, automation, and online testing embrace smart quality control in its entirety. The shift is about transitioning towards a smart and resilient solution that is highly agile. CXOs and supply chain heads will have more control and ownership with complete visibility of operations that will pave the way for real-time responsiveness to data and information, and cognitive connectivity between people, processes, materials, and equipment. 

Regulatory compliance

Pharma companies grapple with GMP compliance continuously. What the industry needs is a shared and automated solution that allows for a seamless way to record, review, store and manage documents. With digitally enabled labs, automated systems that offer easy data production, collection, and exchange, pharma manufacturing companies can reduce investigation workloads, improve compliance with reduced variables and errors, seamless and accurate data integration, retrieval, and analytics.

With customized technological solutions, these companies can benefit from IoT platforms and digital assistants and visually interactive operating procedures that offer a holistic site-wide governance, risk, and compliance (e-GRC), further meeting the ever-evolving FDA guidelines. 

Data Integrity and intelligence 

Shared data centres that will accurately integrate data from process centres, lab instruments, and other relevant monitoring systems are what will lead to embracing pharma 4.0 as a practice. Companies will be able to own and customize their tech architecture with AI, IOT frameworks, and robotics – whose analytics will add an edge and elevate the existing capabilities of pharma manufacturing units from where they currently are. Operations need to speed up and pre-empt their business use cases to achieve digital maturity that will help them capture the maximum value that these technologies have to offer. This will also allow organizations to avoid costly investments and unclear benefits or goals.

Quality assurance and Cost Saving

Given that the Pharma manufacturing and warehousing processes are highly regulated, there are multiple guidelines that need to be always followed. Automation as the word suggests eliminates scope for any manual intervention and therefore errors, leading to optimized performance and high scalability.

Thanks to automation across processes related to sampling, dispensing, weighing, sorting, and more, operational costs have seen a phenomenal decline. Pharma companies have become effective and flexible and the scope for human error is eliminated. Real-time data collection, automation of processes, robotics, and advanced analytics would see a transformational influence in the coming years as pharma manufacturing companies iron out their challengesand continue to address the needs of the healthcare sector.

Manufacturing and Warehouse automation is set to transform the core functionalities of pharma manufacturing companies. This decade will see optimization of existing processes and production capabilities. Improved efficiency, speed, high levels of data integration, and accuracy will build a transparent fabric for every unit. 

We might have to wait a while before we see companies adapting to these technologies at scale as they are an expensive affair still. But, at the same time, we aren’t too far either, to witness companies prioritizing to formulate their long-term evolution strategy and a clear business case.