India wrestles with drug process automation

Indian drug makers are attempting to respond to a prevalence of extensive manual operations, islands of automation, disparate information systems, paper records that no longer meet business and regulatory requirements, and isolation of manufacturing systems from business systems, according to research from ARC Advisory Group.

Drug makers--especially those involved in generic drug and contract manufacturing--recognize the need to upgrade their information infrastructure, say the researchers. But they face the onerous task of upgrading existing automation assets to lend support to visibility of operations and decision support systems. While at the corporate level the desire to transform business processes exists, a "yawning gap and disconnects between automation systems, operations management, and enterprise systems" precludes the effort, according to a research summary. A lack of integration between real-time plant control applications and the transactional world of operations management, engineering and design leaves manufacturers unable to achieve greater levels of productivity.

The macro view of the industry flows along these lines, says report author Jayanth Bhattacharjee: While measures are taken to ensure clinical excellence and improved quality of patient care, stakeholders demand visibility and control over manufacturing processes. Challenges more often remain hidden, chiefly due to improper or even lack of tracking and traceability functions in manufacturing operations. 

- read the research summary