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42 per cent of European and US pharma companies maintain factory space they might never use

New research reveals that 42% of senior executives in the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry across Europe and the US admit their company maintains factory space it might never need, exposing a lack of data-driven planning and asset-optimisation.

The research, commissioned by Aspen Technology, a global leader in asset optimisation software, explores the progress of digitalisation among 300 decision-makers in the UK, US, Germany, France, Spain and Sweden.

The findings reveal how ill-prepared many data-deprived manufacturers are for the future even though many understand the transformational capabilities of digitalisation and the challenges they face. More than half of all respondents (54%) believe Covid-19 will continue to disrupt vaccine manufacturing and 50% think the pandemic will force a rethink of where companies locate their manufacturing plants.

Nearly three-in-ten (29%), however, believe data can deliver most value in predicting product demand, monitoring supply chain quality and predicting and resolving supply shortages.

“Companies that are digital culture leaders have the edge now in asset-optimisation and planning,” said David Leitham, senior vice president and general manager pharma, AspenTech. “Not only do they benefit from predictive maintenance to reduce downtime, they can also use artificial intelligence and machine learning to reduce unused factory and asset space and be far better prepared for shifts in demand.”

Many decision-makers understand what data can do. More than a third (34%) of senior executives in the research say data can deliver most value in helping them optimise production line capacity, and 33% say data will help guarantee security of the manufacturing process.

“Many pharma companies still need to develop a culture that embraces artificial intelligence and machine learning to unleash their potential,” said Leitham.

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