Any business owner in any industry will tell you that one of their goals is to increase efficiency. To spend less time, money, and effort while getting better results is the aim for which every business strives. Nowhere is this more important than in the pharmaceutical industry. In this sector, greater efficiency can have a major effect on a company’s bottom line; it can also mean significant savings to consumers.
The more efficient pharmaceutical companies will create drugs that work better for the people who need them, produce lifesaving drugs faster, and get them where they need to be more accurately. Here we will look at a few best practices pharmaceutical companies can implement to improve their efficiency to the benefit of themselves and the patients they serve.
Invest in Continued Training for Personnel
Pharma companies spend much time obsessing about the process, procedure, technology, and other technical factors related to the creation, manufacture, and distribution of pharmaceuticals. These factors are all important considerations, but one point is often overlooked: training personnel involved in all these aspects of the process.
One of the quickest ways for pharma companies to become more efficient in this area is to invest in training the people who make the machinery (literally and figuratively) of a pharma company go. It is the job of the company to consistently offer SOP training, cGMP training, and on-the-job training with a trainer who can work with personnel in their current positions to make sure they demonstrate the skills necessary to do their job. This is a critical element of pharmaceutical manufacturing and design.
You can have all the streamlined, cloud-based, smart technology and systems in the world but it the people charged with executing the plans don’t have necessary, up-to-date, and continued training to learn new protocols or processes, it will all be for naught and the goal of increased efficiency will be lost.
Be Smart About Data
The heading here is a little play on words because the best companies in the pharmaceutical industry are implementing smart technology in order to collect and analyze as much data as possible and then use that data to make data-driven decisions that will in turn make their processes more efficient.
Every step along the way, from the conception of a drug to a while after it enters a patient’s body, produces data. This data can be captured and analytics can be used to interpret this data through the use of IoT technology. Implementing smart production machinery, storage facilities, supply chain vehicles, and even smart pills can help a pharma company understand what they do in a deeper way.
This deeper understanding will allow a company to see where it is doing well and double down on that or bring it to another area of the company. It can also help you understand where you are falling down and improve that area. The basis for efficiency is when a company uses data to get better in everything it does.
Rigorously Adhere to GxP
In the highly-regulated pharma industry, GxP stands for good practices in every aspect of the company. These are guidelines and regulations you must follow in accordance with local, state, and federal guidelines, many of which stem from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It is critical that a pharma company has good laboratory practices (GLP), good manufacturing practices (GMP), good distribution practices (GDP), and more.
These practices are in place to ensure the quality and safety of the products pharma companies produce. Companies that follow these GxP and put systems in place to adhere to them can be more confident about their manufacturing methods with less worry. Companies that don’t follow these practices may have major issues during audits or inspections and risk being stalled, fined, or even shut down for non-compliance.
The key to GxP is threefold. It involves traceability (recording info about each step of the process), accountability (keeping records of who participated in each step of the process), and data integrity (assuring the accuracy of the information in the two previous steps). These three elements will make a pharma company much more efficient when it comes to GxP. For a deeper look into GxP best practices, this Dickson guide takes an expansive look at the subject.
Create a More Transparent Supply Chain
Getting a drug from the laboratory to a patient is a long, complicated journey with many steps along the way. The drug must go through conception, testing, manufacturing, distribution, storage, and prescription to get into the hands of the people who need it. Managing this process can be time-consuming, complicated, and expensive for pharma companies.
To increase the efficiency of getting drugs to consumers, streamlining the supply chain is a good place to start. The supply chain for pharma companies is even more complicated than in other industries because there are often environmental conditions that must be adhered to along with the usual transportation challenges.
In 2020, though, creating a transparent supply chain is easier than ever. Using IoT and GPS enabled technology, supply chain managers can manage every movement of every product down to a granular level. They can even precisely control the environmental conditions from a remote location with a cloud-based remote monitoring system. This level of control will help companies get their products from Point A to Point B in a much more effective and efficient manner.
Pharma companies are unique in many ways but when you boil the significant factors down to the basics, they just want to do things more efficiently–as does any other company. This added efficiency translates into cost savings, bigger profits, and, maybe most importantly, delivering a better product to patients faster.
From old school techniques such as training employees to mandated issues such as GxP to using the latest technology to more effectively employ data and better manage the supply chain, pharma companies have many ways to become more efficient. The companies that implement a combination of these techniques will very quickly see improvements in efficiency.