The global pharma industry has been growing steadily over the years. Tremendously vast and diverse, its scope covers drugs and vaccinations, pharmaceutical and medical devices, nutraceuticals, biotechnology, extensive R&D, sample testing, and clinical trials, among others. There’s no dearth of action, as a lot keeps happening in the industry on a daily basis. Given its sensitive nature, the emphasis is always on producing effective and reliable drugs and devices as the industry deals with critical life-saving medicines and equipment. Quite naturally, there are a number of industry regulations in place as well, and they continue to get more stringent with the changing times and evolving needs.
Not surprisingly, in such scenario, the pharma manufacturers keep looking for tools that support new technology, innovation, patient safety, producing cost-effective and quality drugs, and help maintain quality/hygiene standards and meet regulatory requirements. While the existing monolithic Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems barely suffice in meeting all these requirements, the pharma manufacturers are in dire need of next gen ERP systems which are equipped with revolutionary technologies that help meet the future needs.
Even as the pharma manufacturers keep hunting for such futuristic solutions, we take a look at how a modern ERP will revolutionize the pharma industry and help the manufacturers address the future challenges with élan, in this blog. But before that, we will also briefly understand how exactly the current pharma ERP looks like. Continue reading:
The current generation Pharma ERP
In its current avatar, Pharma ERP provides the manufacturers with simple and cost-efficient process model. It acts as a solution that seamlessly links all departments and integrates all processes such as planning, purchasing, sales, inventory, marketing, distribution, etc., thus resulting in flow of real-time information, streamlined operations, maximized productivity, reduced costs and increased profitability, and proactive as well as informed decisions, etc. Additionally, the Pharma ERP also helps manufacturers to be in full compliance to the cGMP requirements. In a nutshell, it allows the pharma manufacturers to operate more efficiently and profitably.
But can it meet the needs of the future?
While there is no doubt that the current generation ERP system has enough functionalities to meet the present-day needs of the manufacturers as well as the end consumers, but the question arises, has it got in it to address the future needs and challenges? With the changing times, the challenges for the manufacturers are only multiplying. The readily-available information at their fingertips has made the internet generation of consumers more empowered and more demanding than ever. They now settle for no less than high quality drugs, and that too for an extremely affordable price. This has had severe implications for the pharma manufacturers.
But this is not the only headache for the pharma manufacturers heading into the future, as the things are likely to get more difficult to manage for them with an increase in volume of business as well as change in technology. There will be supply chain hassles, issues on the inventory management and warehouse front, security of proprietary information, among a host of other things. Dealing with all these future challenges will require pharma manufacturers to incorporate technological innovations to their ERP system. Or simply put, they will require a modern ERP that can revolutionize the way they work, apart from helping them deal with the future challenges effectively & efficiently.
Enter modern ERP
Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), Blockchain, 3D printing, and telematics are some of the technologies a pharma business will engage with at some point in future. These are the technologies that are going to shape the future of manufacturing businesses, with pharma manufacturing business being no exception. Sample this: In pharma manufacturing, where exacting precision is often a critical requirement, AI technology can come in handy, with the robots repeating same task at the shop floor hours after hours with same quality and accuracy.
Then there’s the Blockchain technology, which has widespread application in the pharma industry. The manufacturers can digitally document every single movement of the product in the supply chain, and enjoy benefits such as real-time tracking of the products, reduced time delays, costs, and human errors, decreased cases of fraudulence, and improved transparency and security of proprietary information.
IoT can help the pharma manufacturers create a supply network with end-to-end visibility not just to the internal stakeholders, but also to the patients. Using this technology, many pharma manufacturing companies are shifting their products from batch to continuous manufacturing, while some other companies are establishing an integrated manufacturing process across their manufacturing plants. This revolutionary technology is also helping the manufacturers identify bottlenecks among several processes within a plant, and determine whether any equipment is being overused or underused, thereby increasing operational efficiency. There’s also the 3D printing technology, which allows making three dimensional solid objects from a digital file. The technology has been touted to emerge as one of the biggest game changers in pharma manufacturing, with its scope covering drug dosage forms.
An important aspect of pharma supply chain is cold chain management, which refers to the process of moving temperature-sensitive products through the supply chain. Unexpected events often result in the temperature-sensitive drugs and medicines losing their efficacy while in transit. So, the pharma manufacturers are increasingly looking for use of technologies such as Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID), and telematics to ensure proper cold chain management so that medications reach patients retaining their effectiveness and quality.
When all these technologies become mainstream in the near future, the world of pharma manufacturing will never be the same again. However, it is not these technologies alone that will change the game for pharma manufacturers, but their amalgamation with the right ERP system.
To sum up
With changing times, growing complexities, mounting challenges, and evolving technologies, pharma manufacturers will require a solution that can adapt to them all. The old-school ERP systems won’t be able to stand the test of time, and that’s where the need for a modern, and flexible ERP system will be felt, which will revolutionize the pharma industry and help the manufacturers meet the needs of the future.