Going Mobile - Pharmaceutical Technology

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Going Mobile
Seven Reasons Why Pharmaceutical Makers Are Adopting Mobile Technology

Pharmaceutical Technology

Companies reduce safety stock, stock-outs, and material shortages when workers can quickly track the location of items at any time. The progress of deliveries can be tracked through the data recorded by workers using handheld computers, which improves customer service.

Mobile technology also streamlines communication, which enhances inventory handling and management and reduces bottlenecks. Furthermore, mobile technology allows pharmaceutical companies to minimize their material handling labor and reduce inventory waste through shrinkage or spoilage.

In addition, mobile technology allows workers to capture real-time data on customer accounts and billing, purchase-order receipt verification, and shipping manifest—all at the point of performance. Transaction and transportation costs are reduced, and pharmaceutical companies can extend some of their savings to partners and suppliers.

5. Mobile technology and 21 CFR Part 11 reviews. The presence of mobile technology in pharmaceutical manufacturing is supported by considerable research and an extensive exchange of information between the mobile providers and drugmakers.

Although FDA doesn't mandate the adoption of mobile technology in Guidance for Industry: Part 11, Electronic Signatures—Scope and Application , the agency strongly encourages aspects of it, such as electronic record-keeping and signature capture. With a tamper-proof electronic record that can be sent and received through mobile technology to any data back-end system, pharmaceutical companies have complete records they can quickly provide at any time for 21 CFR Part 11 reviews.

Mobile technology can help streamline record storage. The electronic records generated by mobile technology also enable management to stay abreast of production developments within their facilities and make the adjustments necessary to reduce their risk of being out of compliance.

An FDA team performing an inspection will find it helpful when electronic records can be immediately produced for the facility they are reviewing. As part of many of its inspections, FDA includes a review of a company's production records. Some of the most common compliance violations among pharmaceutical companies involve imperfect records.

6. The value of investing in mobile technology. The value of mobile technology is simple: it enables companies to do more for less expense. The technology lets companies execute key business processes more efficiently, with considerably less hassle than paper-based systems.

Mobile technologies enable companies to spend more time developing products, serving customers, repairing equipment, and communicating timely and accurate information about the supply chain, manufacturing, and sales. This efficiency improves decision-making and the bottom line. End-of-day data entry by field staff is eliminated. Incomplete or illegible records are replaced by a system that captures and uploads accurate and complete electronic data.

To keep production on schedule, companies use mobile technology to identify problems with equipment and to isolate potential failures before they occur. Adopters of mobile technology in the pharmaceutical industry find they can extend the life of key assets. Thus, mobile solutions give companies time to perform more planned work.

7. Evaluating the bottom-line benefits of mobile technologies. The efficiency and cost-effectiveness of mobile technology appears on companies' bottom lines in several ways. One pharmaceutical company, for example, found in a recent study that, with mobile technology in place, its cost for handling an individual work order decreased from $4.90 to $0.84 because it used fewer administrative resources and eliminated redundant data entry.

Mobile technology brings companies value because it makes processes run more effectively and assets last longer. These improvements effectively lower the total cost of the asset in question by as much as 30–50% in many cases and deliver a quantifiable and quick return on investment, sometimes in six months or less.

Mobile technology also facilitates a more strategic approach to the allocation of human capital. It allows managers to reduce unnecessary foot traffic by their technicians and have them available when assets require attention. Mobile technology helps refine inspection and production processes, and improvements are reflected in healthy cost savings.

Equipment uptime, of course, is crucial in the pharmaceutical industry, where production should be at full capacity, and downtime equals lost dollars. With the additional "wrench time" mobile technology enables, technicians can devote more of their schedules to preventive maintenance to keep assets in operation longer.


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