Converging InformationTechnology & Automation Teams - Pharmaceutical Technology

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Converging InformationTechnology & Automation Teams
Getting IT, engineering, and manufacturing on the same page requires a delicate balance.


Pharmaceutical Technology


Taking tips from the field

Companies already implementing integration plans suggest the following:

  • Develop guiding principles of design and let these principles drive technology blueprints that are reviewed annually for investment requirements
  • Conduct peer-reviews of designs and project plans; don't assume that because you have a technology blueprint or template that it will be followed
  • Realize that convergence is easier to achieve with senior management support and a clear vision of expected results
  • Develop a method for best-practice feedback; conduct post-mortems at the end of each project to discuss whether standards, policies or procedures need to be revised
  • Ensure an equal balance of involvement of IT and plant-floor staff in the process
  • Formalize the change-management and change-control process for all plant-floor modifications (e.g., description, authorization, testing, back-out plan)
  • Find a way to make the necessary investments in technology standards.

Integration of control and information systems in manufacturing requires end-to-end understanding of the problems your company is trying to solve. With the right mindset, you can get halfway there. Manufacturers can successfully navigate potential challenges by balancing the right technology, solid leadership, open communication, and outside help. While a transformation of this magnitude can take an enormous amount of time and effort, the long-term returns will continue to pay off year after year.

Julie Fraser is a principal & industry analyst at Industry Directions Inc. and Matt Bauer is director of commercial marketing for Rockwell Software at Rockwell Automation, 415 Eagleview Blvd., Suite 119, Exton, PA, 19341, 610.524.8391,


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