Why pharma manufacturing needs a transformational approach
As a leading hub for complex, high-value manufacturing, Singapore is developing fast. One of the key industries gravitating to Singapore’s growing talent, expertise and specialist infrastructure is pharmaceutical and med-tech manufacturing. For example, Sanofi has developed in Singapore one of the most sophisticated vaccine manufacturing plants anywhere in the world.
The life sciences industry is changing fast. In order to remain competitive, life sciences businesses need to address a number of critical imperatives. They must become more innovative, harness new technology and operate with greater agility in order to seize and respond to opportunities faster. They need to evolve towards digitally-enabled cultures that support a focus on data as a source of value and differentiation that can unlock actionable insights through advanced analytics. And all this has to be in the context of complying with strict regulatory practices.
When scientific innovation meets leading-edge technology
To achieve all that and more, it’s becoming increasingly important to harness new technologies such as cloud, machine learning and automation. These can increase the speed and efficiency of manufacturing and R&D. But they can also enable the data-driven collaboration between internal and external partners that is essential to drive innovation, efficiency and speed to market.
The lab opportunity
One vital stage in the pharmaceutical product lifecycle is testing and quality assurance. Product batches must be carefully checked before moving on to manufacturing at scale and testing labs play a crucial role here. Their efficiency (or lack of it), can have a significant impact across the life sciences value chain. But most labs today work with relatively low levels of technology enablement. They typically rely on manual processes, customised application and often paper-based methods. All of these factors make labs ripe for transformation.
As laboratories realise the potential for digital transformation, we are seeing growing interest in Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS). These promise to effect as large a change for laboratories as enterprise resource planning (ERP) did for enterprise systems and functions. Laboratory informatics is a fast-growing field, with digitalisation offering the prospect of far higher levels of efficiency, access to what’s often siloed data and greater integration between previously fragmented systems.
Part of a bigger story
But labs are only part of a much bigger story. For example, at the manufacturing plant itself, there are gains to be made from digitalisation through manufacturing execution systems (MES). As technologies such as sensors, data and analytics continue to expand in the manufacturing context, it’s creating the opportunity to achieve far more efficient and predictive manufacturing environments. There’s a chance to increase yield and reduce wastage. And that’s particularly important in the life sciences space where ingredients are expensive and scarce.
While there are clear gains to be made from digitally enabling parts of the life sciences value chain, the real value lies in bringing the whole chain together. That means integrating manufacturing, laboratory and enterprise systems to go beyond just removing bottlenecks but instead transforming the speed, innovation and productivity that life sciences businesses can achieve end-to-end.
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Disclaimer: This content is provided for general information purposes and is not intended to be used in place of consultation with our professional advisors.
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