Exploring how digital transformation will revolutionize process optimization and decision-making within the pharmaceutical industry
Digital transformation is ushering in a new era for pharmaceutical research and manufacturing, characterized by advanced solutions, such as automation, networked technologies and machine learning, that support faster decision-making and more efficient process control. This present-day industrial revolution, known as Pharma 4.0, is accelerating innovation and creating opportunities to shorten development timelines and cut the cost of bringing new medicines to market.
For organizations looking for a seamless transition to Pharma 4.0, maintaining a strong digital infrastructure will be a key priority, with particular focus on the assimilation of sensor technologies, information management and data analytics. To make the most of these digital tools, much can be learned from the seamless integration of the sensory organs, nerves and brain in the human body, and how these biological systems gather, process and analyze information. This blog dissects the anatomy of effective digital infrastructure, and how these component technologies can be used in combination to realize the benefits offered by Pharma 4.0.
Using connected technologies and sensors to achieve comprehensive oversight
The human body uses its five senses to build a complete picture of its surroundings. Without these sensory stimuli, the body may be slower to respond to danger or take advantage of emerging opportunities. Likewise, to achieve comprehensive visibility of laboratory, manufacturing or supply chain processes, gathering real-time data on critical quality attributes and environmental conditions is key.
Multiparameter sensor technologies are transforming workflow oversight, with tangible benefits for productivity and quality. The availability of connected laboratory equipment, such as refrigerators and centrifuges, is helping organizations achieve the highest standards of excellence by monitoring production and storage conditions in real-time. This level of visibility enables early corrective action by alerting operators to deviations from predetermined parameters. Connected laboratories are also taking advantage of instrument telemetry data to identify equipment performance issues and initiate timely maintenance. This empowers businesses to maximize output by reducing unplanned downtime. By actively monitoring data from every corner of the value chain, companies can build quality and efficiency into their processes and respond to potential risks faster.
Enhancing data integrity with integrated laboratory informatics systems
In the human body, electrical signals from the sensory organs are transmitted to the brain via the nerves, which play a key role in protecting these impulses to prevent loss of fidelity. Laboratory information management systems (LIMS) are analogous to the body’s nervous system, securely transferring and processing workflow data to ease retrieval, analysis and sharing.
Integrated informatics platforms bring data together in a meaningful, organized way, simplifying accessibility and providing oversight of the entire value chain in a single system. By taking an integrated approach to data management, organizations can eliminate the inefficiencies and silos that can occur when separate systems are used by individual teams and workflows.
With laboratory data used to make critical decisions downstream, it is essential that information is accurate and complete. LIMS enhance and maintain the integrity of data by eliminating manual transcription processes. With information stored centrally via a LIMS, all authorized users have secure access to a single source of truth, protecting the integrity of data to support robust analysis and decision-making.
Deriving intelligent insight from data using advanced analytics
The human brain is a cognitive powerhouse, processing memories and sensory stimuli to make decisions and anticipate outcomes. Taking inspiration from the brain’s complex workings, ongoing advances in predictive analytics are helping pharmaceutical companies analyze massive amounts of data from across the value chain to optimize processes, drive efficiencies and boost productivity.
Tools, such as machine learning and other kinds of artificial intelligence, are already being applied across pharmaceutical workflows to identify trends and anticipate issues before they turn into bigger problems. For example, by identifying early signs of declining instrument performance, data analytics can help organizations avoid unplanned maintenance and keep workflows running uninterrupted. Similarly, in automated production lines, for instance, these tools can be used to intelligently manage inventory and direct resources in the most efficient way.
Importantly, when it comes to applying artificial intelligence for process optimization, decisions are only as good as the data on which they are based. Using robust informatics systems that protect and maintain the integrity of information across end-to-end workflows is, therefore, critical for achieving the most actionable insight from predictive analysis. Ultimately, by drawing on large amounts of high-quality data, seamlessly stored and organized using integrated informatics, advanced analytics tools have enormous potential for optimizing supply chains, and reducing costs and delays.
Digital infrastructure: Building the pharmaceutical value chain of the future
The human body’s sensory organs and nervous system form a highly integrated network capable of remarkable physical and cognitive performance. By looking to the body for inspiration, and combining a strong digital infrastructure for data monitoring, management and analytics, pharmaceutical companies stand to realize the full potential of Pharma 4.0 for enhanced productivity, efficiency and innovation.