Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Using BPM/Workflow in the Pharmaceutical Industry

A primary focus of the pharmaceutical industry is the capture and standardization of operating practices.  Repeatability, documentation, and compliance to regulations are at the forefront of any pharma operation. 

A typical pharmaceutical manufacturer will have industrial automation and software applications that manage the physical operations--Programmable Logic Controllers or Distributed Control Systems, handling the temperatures, speeds, movement and packaging; batch recipe management to handle recipes,  procedures and processes, such as Clean In Place; Recipe validation; audit trails; and version control; and sensors and other discrete automation devices which contribute to authentication, confirmation, and location of the products as they travel through the process.

There is something more that these manufacturers can do...add workflow to their solution stack.

Why?  Because workflow can act as an integration engine for these individual applications. You can trigger a workflow process off of any operation--even extending into the traditional "business" domain, or into ancillary functions such as warehouse management, quality, or supplier management.

Let's look at an example.
Company is a global provider of pharmaceuticals, with multiple locations.  They already have a Manufacturing Execution System (this is very common) but need to "fill the gap" of procedural handling, work order management, and verifications.  They also want to use workflow for recipe management--in this case, Clean in Place (CIP) procedures that are part of their GMP (good manufacturing plans).   Workflow is a good solution in that it provides integration capabilities (to their Batch Recipe Management system, ERP, and process automation systems) and because it is "platform agnostic" (does not depend on a specific hardware or software provider to work).

Consider workflow if you have "open ended processes" such as Clean In Place, Recipe download, verifications, or audit trail requirements. To read more about Invensys' workflow offerings, click here.

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