Chapter 1

Agile, Compliant, Connected

“Much like in healthcare, advances in diagnostic tools are helping process manufacturers to improve outcomes, maximise output and reduce costs”

Matt Birtwistle Manufacturing IMU Director, HSO

Chemical and pharmaceutical companies must find ways to innovate faster, operate more efficiently and respond to change more effectively. All while regulatory burdens inflate and the threat of another pandemic looms large.

Digital tools are helping to ease these burdens and unlock exciting new possibilities.

The dramatic spread of COVID-19 disrupted  and continues to disrupt lives, communities and businesses worldwide. The way manufacturers from all sectors came together and responded to minimise the impact on economies and supply chains should be a source of great pride.

The virus tested the chemical and pharmaceutical industry like never before. The companies working in the sector made an invaluable contribution by delivering essential products and services like hand sanitiser, surface disinfectants, rapid testing kits and treatments.

They showed tremendous resilience in the face of skyrocketing demand, countless supply chain bottlenecks and staff shortages. They adapted and innovated across exceptionally compressed timescales, they transformed their operations and pioneered new delivery methods.

Yet, demand is still high – chemical and pharmaceutical markets are both forecast to achieve double-digit growth for the foreseeable future; supply chain disruptions persist, and experts warn that another large-scale pandemic is not a question of if but when.

Chemical and pharmaceutical companies also face the same challenges as any manufacturer: spiralling input costs, erratic customer behaviour, greater regulatory compliance – particularly regarding traceability and carbon emissions, and a shortage of new talent.

Encouragingly, process manufacturers, like their discrete manufacturing cousins, recognise that disruptive technologies and data-driven strategies are key to their operations becoming agile, fully compliant and connected.

Indeed, the essential requirements for chemical and pharmaceutical businesses to digitalise have never been greater.

“The essential requirements for chemical and pharmaceutical businesses to
digitalise have never been greater”

Success today requires companies to:

  • HAVE MORE EFFECTIVE R&D PROCESSES - Artificial intelligence, machine learning and high-performance computing are removing barriers to innovations and transforming new product discovery, development and lifecycle management.
  • BECOME MORE SECURE, RESILIENT & COMPLIANT - Big data, high-capacity storage and smart analytics are helping meet greater compliance requirements through process and data integrity. At the same time, cloud-based continuous asset discovery, vulnerability management and threat management provide comprehensive and flexible enterprise-wide security.
  • BE MORE AGILE IN PRODUCTION - Cloud technologies and AI-powered automation are helping streamline factory operations and scale-up opportunities to drive productivity, reduce downtime and consistently deliver products on time without sacrificing innovation and speed.
  • CREATE MORE TRANSPARENT SUPPLY CHAINS - Intelligent automation, improved asset tracking and unified data systems across the end-to-end supply chain are improving inventory visibility, agility and profitability.
  • IMPROVE FORECASTING AND INVENTORY PLANNING - AI is automating and elevating fulfilment with rule-based orchestration to predict market demand and optimise near real-time production planning to support productivity goals and minimise disruption.
  • CONNECT THEIR PEOPLE, PRODUCTS & PROCESS - A modern, hybrid workforce needs equipping with secure collaboration and information management tools
    and skills to keep pace with the new complexities and speed of digital manufacturing.

The cost of getting any of these wrong won’t just be financial. If there is one thing more than any other
that the past two years have taught us, it is what can be achieved through the power of collaboration.

Partner with HSO and access Microsoft’s best in class cloud business applications, data and analytics, alongside our extensive industry experience, our technology-driven business transformation capabilities and unique global delivery network.

Everything you need to start a chain reaction in your business and achieve success in today’s digital and global world.