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Blog Series Part 2 – An appetite for change through digitalisation

Posted on January 24, 2020 by David Staunton, Global Services Director & Ryan McInerney, Technical Consultant

An appetite for change through digitalisation, part of our: ‘Life Sciences 4.0, Revolutionising Life Sciences Manufacturing Through Connected Systems & Data’ blog series

Life Sciences 4.0 is a revolution driven by digitalisation. With any revolution comes change and ultimately reward for those that adapt the quickest and most effectively. Companies like WhatsApp, Apple and Google fundamentally disrupted, forced change and now lead their respective markets by creating new products and services. Those businesses that do the same in the pharmaceutical industry will lead the market for years to come.

We’re already seeing some examples of revolutionary new thinking when it comes to digital-to-physical transfer (transferring digital instructions to the physical world). Johnson & Johnson is working with Hp Inc. on 3D printing medical devices including contact lenses in community settings. Scale is currently a challenge but it’s only a matter of time before factories are redundant. The life sciences industry is reducing risk with the Life Sciences 4.0 revolution – the new products, processes and services will be cheaper, faster, safer and higher quality than their predecessors.

Appetite for change through digitalisation

In a survey of business and operational leaders from across the life science sector conducted by Zenith Technologies, 58% of respondents said that Life Sciences 4.0 will drive the most change in life sciences over the next five years – more than any other technology area. Interestingly, the same number of respondents said that they are currently most focused on digitalisation, with only 46% stating that Life Sciences 4.0 was their current priority.

When asked their motivation for investing in new technology:

  • 77% said they want to save money in manufacturing processes
  • 69% want to save time
  • 62% are aiming for increases in revenue
  • Only 19% want to understand patients better

Ultimately, the criteria that drives decision making and investment in the life sciences industry remains the same – business leaders want to reduce cost, increase efficiency and revenue. This remains true for Life Sciences 4.0. What is new, however, is the mindset. The traditional approach in pharma manufacturing to investing in new technology or equipment has been to identify the need and opportunity, procure, install and validate.

With Life Sciences 4.0,

  • 77% of the respondents said they will invest in people to make more of emerging technologies
  • 46% said they will do so by improving legacy systems
  • 46% said they will leverage third-party support
  • And only 42% said they will invest in new systems.

With Life Sciences 4.0, change will be driven by people interpreting data and reshaping the approach to manufacturing.

In the next blog of this series we look at the part Automation and MES play in the Life Sciences 4.0 journey. You can read the previous blog in our Life Sciences 4.0 series by clicking here.

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