March / April 2018

Embracing Innovation

James Breen

ISPE has identified facilities of the future (FOF) as a priority in its strategic plan, and is paying particular attention to helping members and corporations understand the skills they will need to advance and maintain a competitive edge. These “musts” are key to facilities of our future (FOF) programs:

  • Manufacturing facilities must be able to respond to the rapid changes in technology.
  • They must meet global customer demands and expectations.
  • They must be agile and flexible enough to produce multiple products, often simultaneously.
  • They must manufacture products at the highest quality standards at all times.

Over the past few years ISPE has mobilized its global resources to develop programs, conferences, and training that reflect viewpoints from regulators, academia, owners, equipment vendors, and service providers on the FOF trends in manufacturing.

In 2016, ISPE added FOF as a seventh category in its Facility of the Year Awards (FOYA). These prestigious honors recognize global teams that exhibit the highest caliber of innovation and technological ingenuity in pharmaceutical engineering projects. In 2017 Lilly was recognized for its Puerto Rico/Indianapolis Continuous Oral Solid Dosage project, garnering category wins for Facility of the Future and Process Innovation. The company was named Overall Winner on 31 October at the 2017 ISPE Annual Meeting & Expo Membership and Awards Breakfast in San Diego, California, a recognition that demonstrates the value and importance of this topic within the pharmaceutical industry. FOF was a key theme in the ISPE Annual Meeting keynote presentations, as well. Enno de Boer of McKinsey discussed “Digital Manufacturing: The Next Frontier of Innovation” and its impact on pharmaceuticals and other industries. FOF will also be a key topic at the 2018 ISPE Europe Annual Meeting this March.

“The life sciences can also learn lessons from other industries, and can use that information to catalyze the development of new FOF concepts”

Roger Connor, President Global Manufacturing and Supply, GlaxoSmithKline, another keynote speaker at the 2017 Annual Meeting, encouraged attendees to embrace innovation and the manufacturing process of the future. “If we do,” he said, “not only will we deliver for the person at the end of the supply chain, we will become an example for all other industries. Maybe someday they’ll call us for help and inspiration.”

The Global Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Leadership Forum (GPMLF), comprising some 50 industry leaders from top pharmaceutical companies around the world, works with ISPE and regulatory agencies on critical issues facing the industry. GPMLF is also focused on FOF, leading discussions and providing information to the pharmaceutical industry on how to handle new technologies and how to prepare workers to participate in this transformation.

The life sciences can also learn lessons from other industries, and can use that information to catalyze the development of new FOF concepts. Aerospace, for example, is an industry that is as regulated as ours and is one from one which we can leverage best practices.

The speed of change and developments in technology are causing organizations in all industries to rethink their business models. Industry 4.0, the Internet of Things, 3D printing, digital transformations, machine learning, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, robotics, and virtual reality are some of the challenges facing industries and organizations around the world.

While these changes will no doubt be disruptive, they will also create new opportunities for people working in the industry. The workforce of the future must understand these trends and know how to use developing technology. Both ISPE and GPMLF have identified the workforce of the future as a strategic priority; both organizations have made commitments to help prepare their members and employees for the future. It’s an exciting time for the pharmaceutical industry.

If you have comments on how ISPE can better address the topic of Facilities of the Future, please reach out to jbreen4@its.jnj.com.