Doug Lawson, CEO at ThinkIQ, explains how smart manufacturing is growing in many industrial sectors, but big pharma is lagging
Over the past decade, many of the key ideas behind Industry 4.0, a.k.a. smart manufacturing, have been percolating throughout the economy and picking up momentum. The makers of foods, beverages, metals, electronics, and defence products have been taking the lead. In essence, Industry 4.0 replaces the traditional shop floor, characterised by discrete machinery and manual process controls, with a fully-digitised, highly automated, integrated manufacturing environment largely running their production.
At least in principle, a whole series of advantages can flow from making the transition to smart manufacturing. They include increased agility, greater efficiency, and higher quality production – each of which would benefit any industry.
But the $1.25 trillion pharmaceutical industry, for whom product quality means everything, has largely lagged behind. While there are important differences between making a life-saving medication and making a box of cereal for children, there is even more that they have in common.