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Pharmaceutical Manufacturing and Packing Sourcer

A New Standard

 

At a time when costs are under scrutiny like never before and efficiencies are sought at every possible turn, it is vital that pharmaceutical manufacturing and process industries do not just look at short-term cost savings at the expense of the bigger picture. Despite the cuttingedge nature of many of its products, the pharmaceutical industry has been more used to incremental change in manufacturing than to quantum leap advances that anticipate the future. The relative separation of manufacturing and research and development (R&D) continues to characterise the industry. At the same time, apart from clinical trials and sales activities, the industry is at a distance from the healthcare services and the patients it serves.

Closing these gaps will become increasingly important for pharmaceutical companies if they wish to stay competitive. Integration of the patient and healthcare systems with R&D and more flexible manufacturing will enable companies to make drug development and production more responsive to patient needs and demands. Companies will move away from batch manufacturing with ‘after the event’ offline product testing, to fully automated and integrated continuous manufacturing, with quality designed into the process.

Never before has it been more important for the pharmaceutical industry to look to new advances in manufacturing capabilities to help them grow, develop and respond more quickly to R&D advances.

When finance teams are focused on outgoings, it can be easy to concentrate on short-term costcutting measures such as investing in cheaper machinery and parts. In the current economic climate, this cost-saving approach to the bottom line could be a key area of focus for a business. Although financial health is essential for ensuring the success of a company, particularly in challenging times, it can also mean that longer term investment benefits and potential disadvantages are not as carefully scrutinised. It is, therefore, vital for pharmaceutical manufacturers never to lose sight of whole lifecycle costs and the total cost of ownership (TCO) of both the machinery and its interaction into the plant, while it is also incredibly important for pharmaceutical production companies to assess the flexibility of a line to be quickly modified to meet the needs of new product. For instance, if the packaging moves from a four-pack to six-pack, the line needs to be able to meet this change quickly.


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Keith Thornhill joined Siemens in July 2001 as a Business Development Manager in the Motion Control department, focusing on automation solutions for packaging machinery. He has been working in the motion control arena for 22 years. He started his career with Electro-Craft, before moving to Rockwell Automation. In his later years with Siemens, he has focused on raising awareness of the productivity benefits that motion control can deliver to end users, both in the food and beverage sector, and more recently in the secondary processes of the pharmaceutical industry.
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