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European Biopharmaceutical Review

Upskilling Staff

The pharmaceutical industry has been at the forefront of UK manufacturing for several years, with Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures highlighting that the sector helped British manufacturing grow at its fastest pace for nearly four years in June 2016 (see full pdf). In November, Purchasing Managers Index data for UK manufacturers emphasised industry resilience – climbing from 48.3% in July to 53.4% (see full pdf).

This comes despite enduring a significant skills shortage, tighter competition through expiration of patents and market uncertainty over the recent Brexit vote. Globally, pharma and life sciences companies are undergoing rapid changes. The substantial cost behind the development of new pharmaceuticals and active ingredients is no longer the largest issue facing the industry. Decreasing product prices, stagnating demand in traditional markets and missing supplies of strongselling active ingredients are just a few of the increasing number of obstacles.

Shifting Business Landscapes

Recent ONS figures show a growth in labour productivity, having increased by 0.6% in Q2 of 2016, returning to pre-downturn levels for the first time (see full pdf). While an encouraging figure, the fact remains that the UK still lags behind other G7 nations like Germany and the US in terms of productivity – a gap widely attributed to differing levels of automation technology adoption. The pharma sector must now focus on overcoming the challenges posed by the modern business landscape. Although it is moving in the right direction, further work must be done to ensure maximum effectiveness.

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At Siemens, Alwyn Jones is Head of the Pharmaceutical and Life Sciences sector in the UK and Ireland for their Siemens Digital Factory and Process Industries and Drives division. He is responsible for managing this sector’s strategy, working in collaboration with their global pharma network.
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Alwyn Jones
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