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Pharmaceutical Manufacturing and Packing Sourcer

Adopting Automation

For decades, robotics have been available, but have been either too costly or difficult to implement. With significant improvements to software and machine-learning, along with more cost-effective robot manufacturing, robotics have become a viable option for players throughout the supply chain, including small-scale operations.

Robotics have never been as adaptable as they are today, and this will increase exponentially in the near future. This flexibility, in conjunction with radical improvements in software, will fuel an explosion in robotics implementation.

Robotic Opportunities

Automation offers a wealth of opportunities in the pharma industry. Recent advances in automation technology have made it more accessible and userfriendly. Upgrading or creating manufacturing lines with more automation increases reliability, safety, compliance, security, and, in most cases, efficiency. These benefits have made automation more than a show piece for highvalue lines, but a major component in modern manufacturing.

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John McCullough, Continuous Improvement Engineer at Sharp Services, leads the US department’s lean development and transformation. His background has been focussed on lean transformations over the past 10 years in industries such as pharma, chemical, and consumer products. John has experience in operations management, continuous improvement/operational excellence, industrial engineering, material requirements planning systems, and quality management. He has a master’s degree in industrial engineering from Lehigh University, US, and an undergraduate in mathematics and physics from Moravian College, US. 

Justin Ludwig, Operations Project Manager at Sharp Services, designs and implements novel mechanical and electrical solutions to improve packaging processes and equipment. 
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John McCullough
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Justin Ludwig
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The security of the pharmaceutical supply chain is an issue of growing concern, with recent reports addressing its vulnerability to counterfeiting. The complexity of the European supply chain is one of the key factors of this counterfeiting pandemic, with millions of medicine packs being moved around the EU, annually. Aside from this, fragmentation has resulted in decreased transparency in the supply chain and increased difficulties to track and trace medicines, leading to significant threat from counterfeiting. As a key source of income for the European economy, it is essential that the supply chain remains safe and free of counterfeits. A significant stumbling block within the industry remains to be the lack of a unified, single‐source pan‐European or indeed global database where scanned bar codes on drug packaging can be verified at point of dispense. At some point in the future the pharmaceutical industry, regulatory bodies, clinicians and retailers will need to join forces to overcome this.
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