The industry 4.0 is something we hear more and more around us, but what is it? And what has it got to do with pharma?
A quick history lesson
Basically, Industry 4.0 can be regarded as the fourth industrial revolution. Going back into history we can identify the first industrial revolution as the mechanization of water and steam power. The second industrial revolution involved the introduction of electricity and the third industrial revolution started when computers and automated systems were introduce.
So what is the fourth Industrial Revolution?
The way manufacturing processes are designed in the Industry 4.0 era focus on interoperability and interconnectivity. Key concepts related to Industry 4.0 are: the Internet of Things (IoT), smart factory, cyber-physical systems and IOS (Internet of Services).
So what does this mean in practice? Looking at a typical manufacturing site, we can see Industry 4.0 all around us. Most machines in the production line now allow for real-time monitoring and a very detailed collection of all relevant data and parameters.
This data can be connected to other relevant processes varying from the supply chain to machine maintenance and even to Human Resources.
The digitization of processes in manufacturing brings many benefits, starting with improved productivity through better planning, less downtime, and more accuracy.
This also directly affects quality, because errors can be detected sooner in the production process and any deviations can be predicted better.
Ultimately this leads to better compliance, better insights in the total business process which increases profits and can lead to new business opportunities.
Industry 4.0 in Pharma
The key elements described above will allow Pharmaceutical manufacturers to optimize operations and to connect their workers with their resources. This will ultimately produce better patient outcomes, with a better quality product.
The replacement of manual processes with basic automation and digital technology will help manufacturers to decrease process variability, and improve consistency in product quality.
Repetitive tasks can be better performed by computers and form the groundwork for creating a digital infrastructure, which is then expanded by increasing IT connectivity.
Traceability also plays an important role in this process. In the last few years, many pharmaceutical companies invested in the first generation of Serialization hard- and software to be able to comply with the Falsified Medicine Directive which came into effect in 2019 in Europe.
This already creates significant benefits for Manufacturers, Governments and most importantly the patients.
Track and Trace systems allow for real-time optimization, which helps manufacturers to gain valuable insights in how products move through the production lines and identify how and where issues occur, thanks to the qualitative data.
Governments can ensure the safe supply of medicines which are guaranteed to be sources from the original manufacturers.
Traceability also allows for better control of stock levels to ensure that there is always sufficient supply available and no products are wasted because of overstocks.
Ultimately this leads to better care for the patients who receive the best possible quality of medicines at the right time.
How can we help?
Softgroup and MK2 software offer a broad range of state-of-the-art hard- and software solutions with regard to serialization and traceability.
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