INTERPHEX 2015 offered attendees multiple opportunities for conversations focused on new products and approaches. One source of such discussions was the Rockwell Automation Center for the Connected Enterprise.
Pharmaceutical Processing sat down with Rockwell Automation’s Paula Puess, Global Market Development Manager and Khris Kammer, Manager of Information Solutions Consulting to get their take on the show, recent market developments and what the future may hold for the pharmaceutical marketplace.
Jeff Reinke: Seeing Rockwell Automation with such a large presence at INTERPHEX is interesting. What drove that decision?
Paula Puess: Although PharmaSuite MES software doesn’t not have as large a presence in the U.S. pharmaceutical marketplace, we’ve been in this business for a long time. In Europe our software systems are in place many of the largest manufacturers. So due to some key acquisitions and the continued growth of our core product offerings, Big Pharma knows us Rockwell Software MES quite well on a global level.
JR: I found the Klyo Collaborative announcement, where Rockwell is joining a group of six other design, engineering and consulting firms to aid biopharmaceutical companies with a host of solutions focused on small and large-scale product developments, interesting as well. What do you feel will be the greatest benefit of such a partnership?
Khris Kammer: Anytime you can increase collaboration amongst different providers, the customer will benefit from an ability to get things done more quickly. I think that’s the biggest benefit with the partnership – the ability to integrate the necessary products and processes needed to speed product development in a modular and scalable fashion. This is huge for overcoming the difficult transition from formulation to factory.
JR: In working with either CMOs or Big Pharma clients, what typically comes first – the hardware or the software?
PP: We’ve found that CMOs are typically more production focused, so the equipment or hardware is very well integrated. They turn to this data and other manufacturing intelligence assets in looking at performance and driving efficiency, but Big Pharma, in general, seems more focused on software implementation as a way to drive greater connectivity throughout the enterprise and possibly across multiple locations. This is about insuring product and brand integrity.
KK: On the Internet of Things (IoT) front, we work closely to get things specified accordingly at the beginning of the project, regardless of the customer type. This is where our past history in the marketplace, applying things we’ve learned from other industries and our confidence in our own products helps in ensuring the processor doesn’t lose time during the integration process.
What’s interesting is that we find a great deal of machine-to-machine communication taking place within the pharmaceutical production facility. Our job is getting all these assets talking to each other so the data is easier to access and utilize. Getting back to your initial question, in general we tend to start with the software and the hardware sort of backs in as we get more focused on production solutions.
JR: Pharma is unique in that, as an industry, it’s at the forefront of many production-focused technologies. In contrast, enterprise-wide data integration has not always been a point of strength. How do you work with processors this respect?
KK: Regardless of industry or the type of customer, we’ve found that the biggest driver or obstacle to innovation and investments in software or automation is cultural, rather than an issue of technology. So while we’re still working with the pharmaceutical marketplace to capture all the potential of our offerings, these are innovative companies that understand the value proposition garnered via the deeper implementation of information software and related automation technologies.
So now it’s showing the processor how data-focused approaches will improve performance in multiple areas. What’s unique with Pharma is that there is less need to help them understand why it’s important to access the data being generated. Rather, we need to pay greater attention to the manner in which they access this information and then act on what they’re seeing.
PP: This is key because this technology leads to so many other areas of pharmaceutical production. Some of the biggest issues relate to regulatory mandates impacting serialization and track-and-trace. Integrating software applications that help address these regulations also allow for processors to better manage other areas of the enterprise, including supply chain and product development.