Shop Floor and Top Floor, Unite!

Technology can solve enterprise-level problems.
May 02, 2009
Volume 33, Issue 5

Erik Greb
INTERPHEX was held in New York on Mar. 17-19, 2009. The pharmaceutical industry turns to this show for the latest innovations in pharmaceutical manufacturing equipment, but drug companies can benefit from the conference's presentations as well. Although production machinery was the main focus on the exhibit floor this year, two speakers provided practical advice about how to weather current economic challenges.

In their talk, Jayne Morris, principal engineer at Amgen (Thousand Oaks, CA), and Kim Van Camp, product manager at Emerson Process Management (Pittsburgh, PA), said that Amgen is using the information-technology infrastructure library (ITIL) to reduce cost and risk and to maximize productivity. ITIL is a worldwide standard that provides a framework of best practices for managing IT services through the IT service life cycle. Having used ITIL to manage its IT services, Amgen decided to apply aspects of it to automation, too, in hopes of improving service and change management.

Morris explained that when a company implements business processes such as service-level management and incident management using the ITIL framework, it can increase coordination, improve response time, resolve incidents quickly, and prevent incidents by sharing knowledge. Thus, ITIL focuses on continuous improvement and leads to more efficient automation-service delivery.

Although the presenters focused on automation and IT, they revealed one way of addressing enterprise-level concerns. Both underscored the idea that creativity can reveal the connections between seemingly separate things, and that ingenuity can lead to solutions for large problems.

Erik Greb is an assistant editor of Pharmaceutical Technology.