A Tale of Two IT Implementations

In pursuit of the “best of times” business operations-wise, Pfizer and Ferring implement information technologies ready to meet current and future challenges

By Steven E. Kuehn, Editor-in-Chief

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Reporting issues didn’t stop there, either. Medina said it was virtually impossible for executive managers to obtain a common, centralized view of all the production assets in one take (and in a timely fashion) because it still meant connecting to each site to obtain individual site reports. Even though Medina’s team maintained report commonality, a common aggregated view or line-to-line comparisons were not available without more time-consuming manual intervention.
It became evident that because of the company’s incumbent reporting system, not only were Pfizer’s data analysts being effectively stymied from efficiently delivering actionable information to the organization, no matter how much managers insisted, they also were not getting the information they needed for critical decision support up the chain of command. A true, unifying solution was needed. Rockwell Automation’s VisionPoint EMI was ready to step in, creating the right solution at the right time for PGS.

For Ferring, implementing Factory Talk Pharma Suite was both a process quality and quality assurance process improvement program. Working with Rockwell, Ferring is now able to track “time in process” and that includes time spent in QA/QC review. According to Repiton, with Factory Talk, time in process has been essentially halved — a dramatic improvement and one of the primary goals of the whole endeavor. Since the eBR/MES program began in 2010, the number of batches processed by the company has jumped from 7,000 to 11,000; a 56 percent leap in just five years, accomplished, says Repiton, with the same amount of staff, “representing a real return on investment.”

With Factory Talk well implemented and pervasive process data available to key operations, Repiton said Ferring created a solid basis to integrate the system with its IT infrastructure including Laboratory Information System (LIMs) and ERP to provide an MES that supports the organization’s compliance and competitive agility goals. Characterizing it as an operational excellence project, Repiton finds that Ferring is much better equipped to cope with the complexities associated with biopharmaceutical manufacturing and to proactively comply with demanding regulators around the world.

Medina says they had two goals: Business Goals and Technological goals for its VisionPoint solution. “What we wanted to provide [PGS],” says Medina, “was a scalable, dynamic and value-adding information portal across the range of Pfizer core and manufacturing systems.” Adding that for business goals “we needed to improve access to information; we needed to provide better understanding of the information; we needed the ability for users to create their own report scenarios; and we needed the ability for users to run trends for line and historic data.”

In terms of technical goals, says Medina, his department needed centralization and rapid deployment. “Previously it might have taken us one or more days to deploy a report. Of course, that meant we would have to ensure that report was copied over to all the sites. We wanted to be able to deploy reports to all the sites in one shot.” Ultimately, says Medina, through VisionPoint, his department was able to create a platform in which to deliver standardized reports globally, remove the administrative work associated with variances and customization demanded by users, and supply critical metrics and other knowledge when and where it is needed — on demand — ready to support data-confirmed regulatory compliance, product quality and the operational excellence mandatory for competitive success in the 21st century.

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