IoT in pharma manufacturing: 10 mins with Joseph Kiran Kumar

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Even the traditional pharma manufacturing industry with stringent quality and safety requirements has no escape from the revolutionary wave of industry 4.0. With the optimistic estimation of how quickly the healthcare industry will embrace healthcare IoT, the best way for pharma companies to stay competitive is to learn from peers and keep up with the trends. At TECHX Asia, we invited Joseph Kiran Kumar, Head of Information Technology at Eisai Pharmaceuticals India to share more on the team’s current efforts in digitalising manufacturing processes. Here is a quick preview on what you will learn from him in Singapore this 6-7 September.


Q:In your opinion, what makes a successful pharma manufacturer?

Joseph: Companies can ensure uninterrupted supply of drugs to the customers by improving efficiencies in each function especially in manufacturing. Implementing operational excellence models to reduce the cycle time, reduce variable expenses and increase the yield. Automation in manufacturing would bring in lot of value and will bring in economies of scale in long-term.


Q: What are the challenges specific to the pharma industry when implementing IoT in a manufacturing process?

Joseph: Pharmaceutical industry is a regulated industry and usually is a late adopter of any innovative technology unless and until the technology concerned is directed at ensuring regulatory compliance and/or there have been success stories associated with it. Few challenges pertaining to implementation of IoT in pharma industry include the limitations with the existing equipment to support IoT which means getting approvals for procurement of IoT compliant equipment, Perceived safety issues concerning the usage of IoT devices especially on the shop floor, Security of such devices that could potentially cause information security breaches and of course the fear of change.


Q: Please share with us some of your insights implementing IoT and other disruptive tech in digitalising pharma manufacturing process

Joseph: Digitalization is going to be key success factor and this can be leveraged through IoT and other operations technologies. The line between IT and OT is getting blurred and the result is the IoT. Automation of manufacturing and Quality control processes through AI systems and use of robotics in the areas which are hazardous for humans to work, 3D printing of tablets which would pave the way for personalized medicine encouraging combination of multiple drugs into one would be go to technologies that would cause disruption in the pharma manufacturing process.


Q: Please give us a quick preview on what our audiences should expect from your presentation at TECHX and what makes you excited to join us at TECHX this September?

Joseph: I would be speaking on how IoT would add value in the improving the efficiency and overall agility of the pharmaceutical manufacturing while reducing costs. As this is a regulated industry I would bring in few insights into how the IoT and other digital technologies can be leveraged while ensuring compliance to GMP. Also, I would speak of both the limitations and perceived limitations of IoT in pharma manufacturing.

I am excited to be part of TECHX as I can see experts in the areas of disruption converging to TECHX 2017 to share their experiences in diverse areas such as the smart cities and government, logistics, telecom etc. I look forward to interacting with them and understand the application of various technologies in their areas and how I can leverage the same in manufacturing especially pharmaceutical manufacturing.


Want to find out more? Join us at TECHX Asia in Singapore this 6-7 September.

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