AspenTech has a 40-year track record of delivering innovations in the supply chain planning and scheduling space that solve real customer pain points and result in financial and operational performance improvements. Our global ecosystem of supply chain implementation experts plays a crucial role in these success stories.
Today, we will hear from one expert on the AspenTech supply chain team; Abhro Choudhury, who has recently been recognized as one of the 2023 Pros to Know by Supply & Demand Chain Executive, the leading publication covering the business technology industry for supply chain executives at manufacturing and non-manufacturing companies. The award recognizes outstanding executives whose accomplishments offer a roadmap for other leaders looking to leverage supply chain for competitive advantage; and we are honored to have a member of our team recognized.
According to Marina Mayer, editor-in-chief of Supply & Demand Chain Executive and Food Logistics: “This year’s Pros to Know list is filled with supply chain professionals whose achievements and success stories have helped move the needle in the supply chain. They promote safety, sustainability, and workforce development. They work toward helping heal the supply chain. They’re in the supply chain,”
Mayer further stated that the publication “received close to 400 nominations this year, the highest number of nominations ever for this award. It’s proof that today’s supply chain professionals are doing great things for the supply chain. They embody what a true leader should be and, without their initiatives, programs and collaborative efforts, today’s supply chains would be in worse shape.”
The following is a conversation between Abhro and another AspenTech “Pros to Know” recipient, Roch Gauthier
Roch: Hello Abhro and congratulations on this very significant recognition from our peers in the supply chain industry!
Abhro: Thank you Roch for those kind words. We are living in very challenging times for supply chains but where there is a challenge, there is excitement and innovation, which drives my passion to help our customers to transform their supply chains and gain resiliency in their operations.
Roch: What is your perspective on the status of supply chain digitalization in the pharma and life sciences industry?
Abhro: This industry had been lagging with respect to adopting digital technologies in manufacturing and supply chain, but the pandemic changed it all. The pandemic exposed lots of fragilities in pharma supply chains. As such, the industry saw a great boom in investments in digitalization initiatives in the last two years. Though we see the intent, and different digitalization initiatives are progressing well, there remains a lot to be done. I perceive that it is also because many companies have not yet received good returns on some of their digitalization investments. AspenTech advocates for the Pharma 4.0 operating model which provides the recipe to succeed in this transformation. It is crucial to have a strategy and the execution aligned - so starting small (focussing on a few use cases), reaping the benefits, and then having a roadmap to roll the success across the enterprise. Roch, what are your thoughts? Do you see any difference as compared to other industries?
Roch: Most manufacturing companies are implementing technologies to further improve their supply chain performance, agility, visibility, sustainability, and resiliency. We see this happening across the full spectrum of the process industries—from oil and gas and bulk chemicals, all the way across to specialty chemicals, consumer packaged goods and pharmaceuticals. The pandemic really contributed to accelerating digitalization initiatives across all industries.
As you’re working with top pharmaceutical and life sciences companies, share some of the major challenges that they are looking to resolve.
Abhro: I’ve had the opportunity to work with supply chain and operations leads from major bio-pharma companies and globally they all are facing very similar challenges. Let me summarize the top 4 challenges:
- Visibility: In pharma manufacturing operations, many companies find it crucial to ensure real-time information is shared across the entire value network to enable a step change in decision making. A recent blog highlights how our solutions help solve this.
- Agility: The key point to address is how can companies react to disruptions quickly and effectively. An AspenTech and Longitude market survey shared nearly 50% of pharma companies are unable to leverage data to resolve supply shortages1. The solution to this is to have a digital twin of your supply chain so you can take the right data driven decisions proactively.
- Workforce: A recent study from McKinsey states more than 80% of pharma manufacturing companies are facing talent issues2, thus it is very important to utilize the talent pool efficiently.
- Collaboration: Even with the advent of different technologies, this remains a major challenge in day-to-day supply chain operations. I have shared some insights on the importance of digital collaboration in a recent blog. And results show when we enhance collaboration and break silos then organisations can achieve great improvements in productivity.
Finally, biopharma manufacturing the processes are long and thus the importance of managing tasks is key to ensure efficient operations. The reason is that not all personnel can do every task, as they require different skillsets and typically certification is required as well. These constraints make it extremely complex to schedule production resources and execute the associated tasks. To address these challenges, these constraints must be considered while creating and updating production schedules. Day-to-day operations involve various stakeholders and the decisions need to be made very quickly which adds to the complexity of the overall execution.
Roch. Glad that you also brought the point of collaboration earlier. What we see increasingly across the entire process industry sector is the imperative to improve collaboration across supply chain and manufacturing operations execution teams.
The pandemic contributed to this trend significantly as the main challenge during that time was related to supply chain and manufacturing execution. Most manufacturers were unsure of where trucks, inventories, raw materials were located at any given moment. As such, they had very little confidence in planning for the longer term, and thus focused their efforts on shorter term planning and scheduling.
AspenTech has been helping manufacturers enable sales and operations execution (S&OE) business processes which allow them to be nimble and adjust to changing supply and demand conditions. A key success factor is communication across functional stakeholders and the results are amazing in many cases.
A recent example includes a specialty chemicals producer who was able to increase production throughput at one of their batch manufacturing facilities by an astounding 20%—with no capital investment—thanks to supply chain scheduling and collaboration solutions provided by AspenTech. This project had a 2-month payback period and follows a similar philosophy to your previous point of starting small, reaping the benefits, and then rolling out to the enterprise.
Abhro: I will also mention that advanced planning & scheduling solutions, when augmented with other AspenTech industry-leading solutions like manufacturing execution systems, enterprise data management, predictive and prescriptive maintenance and process analytical technologies, can completely transform pharma operations and yield even greater benefits enabling companies to become truly “a smart enterprise”.
We help our customers to boost efficiency, productivity and increase access to medicine!
- “Culture Reimagined - How Pharmaceutical Firms Can Use Data and AI with Confidence.” AspenTech, https://www.aspentech.com/en/resources/report/culture-reimagined-how-pharmaceutical-firms-can-use-data-and-ai-with-confidence.
- Pharma operations: Creating the workforce of the future, https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/life-sciences/our-insights/pharma-operations-creating-the-workforce-of-the-future