The manufacturing world is undergoing its fourth technological revolution, referred to as Industry 4.0, spurred by the proliferation of digital capabilities (Internet of Things), and therefore the integration of those capabilities into existing production and provider systems. Although there are skeptics of the Industry 4.0 movement, one cannot ignore technology’s impact on the way manufacturers—including those within the pharmaceutical industry—conduct business.

While the wedding of the physical world of pharmaceutical manufacturing and therefore the cyber world is complex and challenging, it's also exciting for anybody fortunate enough to specialize in it. a mess of technological advances is being heralded at an increasing rate. Non-traditional firms are getting into the manufacturing IT space, offering innovative and next-generation choices. Pharma manufacturing technology professionals are pressured to innovate and adapt so as to urge a leg abreast of the competition, grow their industry positions, or, at the very least, ensure they don’t lag behind.

The following disruptive trends are a source of great opportunity—as well as a challenge—for those in Pharma IT:

1. Additive manufacturing driving innovation

Additive manufacturing, also referred to as 3D printing, creates physical objects supported a digital model by “printing” (applying) materials in successive layers. This digital technology has constructed the likes of airplane engine parts, medical/dental transplant, custom prosthetics, and even innovative product designs not formerly possible. It's already leveraged in manufacturing across commodity, art, fashion and therefore the like. And with the progression in material science, alloys, and composites, the revolutionary ability across the manufacturing spectrum is limitless. For Pharma particularly, there are various possibilities from the printing of original machine and lab parts, to artwork and labels, to molecular models.

"As an IT leader, I even have learned that it is often self-defeating to specialize in too many inventions directly, resulting in a scarcity of sufficient progress on any"

2. Advanced Analytics (Multi-Source and Multivariate) providing new perceptions

The information age has created mountains of knowledge in every field. More data has been created within the past two years than within the entire history of the human race—and manufacturing generates more data than the other sector. That being said, the proliferation of knowledge itself isn't the disruption. The disruption is that the way the info is processed, made available, and ultimately wont to drive outcomes. This includes the power to mix structured and unstructured data using modern in-memory data warehousing technology and advanced statistical modeling just like the statistical method. With the advances in storage, memory and compute power at a significantly lower cost point, this approach becomes viable for giant and little manufacturers, providing data insights for optimization in development, internal control, process analytics, and beyond.

3. Intelligent sensors and decision automation allowing the workforce

A fundamental basis of the digital manufacturing revolution is that the use of sensors (IoT 4.0). Especially, intelligent sensors, which are comprised of both a sensor and microprocessor, are ready to detect conditions and answer them. They understand the environment they're placed in, apply learning algorithms and manage a good range of selections that were previously operator managed. As this capability expands, the disruption is going to be significant. Workforce requirements will change and manufacturing and it'll need a special set of competencies. For instance, IT groups will get to upskill a part of their workforce in order that they can install, program and support this new technology.

4. Mobility revolutionizing the work

Smart devices within the manufacturing setting provide a revolutionary thanks to connecting operators to their work, and to every other, in real-time. Moreover, the workers’ adoption curve is rapid, given the proliferation of smart devices in their personal life and their comfort level with them. Manufacturing mobility applications span the spectrum from the removal of paper documents and therefore the processing of routine transactions, all thanks to innovative employee-crowd sourcing of problems, issues, and investigations, combining process execution and social collaboration.

5. Robotics changing the landscape of the workplace 

The new breed of robots is unlike those before; they're ready to sense and learn, remember/recall and apply dexterity to their tasks. As they become smarter, cheaper, and safer, they're being applied for much quite the normal automated jobs in manufacturing. Additionally, their precision is way beyond that of humans, and that they are even capable of social “intelligence,”—working side by side with humans and learning to collaborate even as readily as they learn their tasks. This is often referred to as “cobotics,” where operators and machines are teamed up. Cobotics is very successful when used for specific ergonomically challenging tasks. and therefore the range of applications will grow as automation providers introduce more sophisticated sensors, and better functioning robotic equipment, expanding well beyond aerospace and automotive, where they need readily been deployed already.