Increased competition, shorter market cycles, greater customer expectations, changing business models and financial constraints are creating unprecedented demands on the life sciences industry’s ability to deliver superior value to shareholders and innovative healthcare to patients across the spectrum of products, processes, services and solutions. At the same time rising R&D costs and drug patent expiration are driving consolidation in the industry. Companies are pushing for internal R&D productivity and acceleration, and they are focusing on cost cutting, especially in business processes not directly related to R&D or sales and marketing, such as procurement, supply chain and manufacturing.
The pace of change is significant and profound. Research has confirmed that the average business changes seven times faster than the ability of its basic information technology (IT) operations to adapt to these changes. This pace of change not only impacts people and processes, it is also demanding new ways in which the life sciences industries must look at their IT strategy and infrastructure as a means of anticipating, enabling, adapting and leading this change.
Set against the complexities of fluctuating demand patterns, plant availability, plant equity, shipping constraints, tariffs, FDA regulations and many more, the planning task is enormous.
Most Supply Chain Planning is done manually or using a variant of MRP functionality in the ERP platform. The problem is that such systems are blind to rapid changes in demand, customer priorities, maintenance, breakdowns, shifts, materials supply dynamics, etc.
Planners have to compensate by holding more materials and finished products inventory than needed to be safe and, this costs money. Real-time planning has to be done manually outside the system and this is very slow, inaccurate and inefficient.
The result is a Supply Chain that is inflexible, slow reacting and expensive, leading to eroded market competitiveness, reduced market share and reduced profitability.
With advanced, on-line planning and scheduling tools life sciences manufacturing companies can achieve:
- Reduced lead times by faster change implementations
- Higher throughput by eliminating bottlenecks
- Increased capacity through better resource usage
- Reduced operating costs and lower capital expenditures
- Improved efficiencies by sequencing production optimally on set-up times and area preparation requirements
- Adherence to FDA regulations
ICRON develops tools and mathematical models that support the planning and scheduling function enabling the adaptation to the changes within the life science industry. ICRON solutions make manufacturing more agile, allowing for quick product line changeovers and rapid system conversions for new product introductions and demand changes.