Expanding service capability
As pharmaceutical manufacturers shift more responsibility to automation suppliers, suppliers are increasingly taking on the
role of MACs and offering:
- Process automation systems
- Programmable logic controller
- Skid-mounted controls
- Cabinets and enclosures
- Wiring and wireless networks
- RFID, barcoding, and printing
- Portable and handheld devices
- ISA95 Level 3 manufacturing applications
- Integration of enterprise resource planning systems.
Relying on a single provider addresses historic challenges in implementing plantwide manufacturing solutions. Operational
functions need to be evaluated based on organizational structure to determine the best fit into either the enterprise domain
or the real-time plant floor arena. Technology can then be applied to achieve this functional structure. Using solutions from
various suppliers can result in product overlaps and gaps in functionality. Partnering with a provider who has experience
in applying the breadth of these applications, as well as investing in the supporting technology, minimizes potential gaps
When implementing plantwide integration solutions, the project team must work closely with multiple plant functions. Each
operational organization has specific requirements that need to be addressed. Cross-functional work activity must be properly
defined before selecting products and applying technology. In an ideal world, this cross-functional alignment is independent
of the platform. In practice, however, some alignment decisions depend on the applications selected. Critical functions need
to be implemented in a manner that enables easy adoption of the technology, thus ensuring its success.
As the pharmaceutical industry works with fewer resources, new approaches and roles are necessary. Pharmaceutical manufacturers,
especially those that deal with multiple sites, must adopt standards to ensure easy integration and ongoing support of manufacturing-process
solutions. An automation supplier can provide one focal point of responsibility for manufacturing automation to reduce solution
risks, deliver improved project implementation time, and provide operational savings.
One life-sciences manufacturer, for example, built a green field facility with two filling lines. The company used an automation
supplier, taking the approach described in this article, resulting in $1.1 million in savings. Automation was completed ahead
of schedule and 9% under budget.
Manufacturers overall can lower implementation and ongoing support risks by selecting a long-term automation partner that
is investing in products and services to improve operational excellence.
Bob Lenich is director of Syncade Suite Product Marketing and Joanne Salazar is manager of Syncade Suite Marketing Programs, both at Emerson Process Management, 12301 Research Blvd., Research Park Plaza,
Bldg. 3, Austin, TX, 78759, tel. 512.834.7033 and 512.832.3448, Bob.Lenich@Emerson.com