“Life is Time, and Time is Gold” (Part 1): Manufacturing and OPEX in Pharma

The perfect process overview - with zenon Pharma EditionUltimate performance is not guesswork. It takes science, culture, and technology.


If you were driving down a perfectly straight six lane highway at 100 km/h, a long road with no other vehicles, would you drive blindfolded? The answer without doubt is “No!”.

So why are there so many examples of production in pharmaceuticals (and related industries) operating in the dark? This is not a blindfolded walk through life: we have science providing answers, in a community of different intelligent people. Increased use of technology is the solution that brings it all together.

Let’s get straight to the point. What role does manufacturing have? Well, manufacturing finds itself at the junction of four key business processes:

1. Manufacturing supply chain

The manufacturing supply chain includes the entire execution of current business. Information is shared along the length of its chain, individual elements and goals must consider the whole chain.

2. Operation strategy and deployment

This area concerns initiatives that achieve the priorities and business targets. Here, we develop manufacturing capabilities in the equipment, people and process.

3. New product development

This comprises activities which improve the company’s current catalogue of products and services. Competitive markets demand new products and upgrades of existing ones.

4. New process development

This area focuses on the improvement of current production processes and activities. Industry best practices age over time, continuous improvement retains the competitive edge.

The high revenue ‘Blockbuster’ drug era is in its twilight and pharmaceutical companies find themselves in a transition period to the next era of ‘Flexible & Agile’ facilities and increased global competition.

The perfect storm has hit! The global financial crisis, competition, and pharma’s specific patent cliff, have ignited interest in the manufacturing part of the business supply chain. It must be ‘faster’, ‘less cost’, and meet ‘increasing quality requirements’. The next five years will determine the winners and losers; now production costs count and manufacturing efficiency is being calculated.

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