AI and IoT

How AI and IoT Integrated with ERP can improve compliance for Pharma Manufacturing

The relentless focus of industry on Artificial Intelligence has overshadowed the importance of other technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT) and blockchain. One can rarely see any CEO/CIO saying IoT or blockchain is a focus area for their business. Like AI, IoT can also effectively improve efficiency and compliance and be a key enabler for business transformation. When AI and IoT are used together, the capability and effectiveness increase many fold. IoT has many other advantages but since compliance is the most important factor for the success of a Pharmaceutical business, we shall focus on the use of AI and IoT for the same.
The most important factor for success in the Pharmaceutical Industry is to ensure high-quality products and manufacturing in a fail-proof manner. Considering the imaginary nature of AI, its ability to help business compliance is limited. But by combining it with IoT and integrating with a cloud ERP it can bring in significant value for business.

What is IoT?

Internet of Things (IoT) are devices or sensors that can capture information from the physical environment and integrate it with cloud-based software. Some examples of IoT devices that are used in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing are temperature sensors, network-connected weighing scales, intelligent cameras, biometric devices, RFID readers, connected handheld computers, etc.

Following are some excerpts from our decades of experience in helping Pharma companies enhance quality and compliance in their business.

Table of Contents

Confirm Material Identity

Imagine this situation, a material needs to be picked up from a bin in a warehouse for dispensing to manufacturing. The supervisor instructs a worker to pick up the material. By mistake, the worker picks the wrong item. Though there can be a lot of manual verification to avoid such errors, humans always work like humans and there is a rare possibility of catching mistakes. An IoT device equipped with a QR code or RFID scanner can be integrated with the ERP and can verify and confirm the material identity.

Intelligent Weighing Scale

Many mistakes are observed during material handling and weighing in Pharmaceutical manufacturing. Especially when the same material is being dispensed from multiple source containers into multiple dispensing containers. IoT-enabled weighing scales can directly connect to the ERP system to ensure accuracy and reduce the risk of manual errors. The weighing scale can load the information from ERP about which product and how much quantity is required. When a wrong weight is captured it can have a built-in alarm system and automatic locking mode to stop the process and continue only after due correction.

AI-powered Camera for Task Monitoring

AI-powered IoT cameras can be used in manufacturing and quality control processes to ensure that the SOP(standard operating procedure is being followed). The camera can be trained with a custom AI model to detect deviations such as the wrong person performing a task, an uncalibrated machine being used, a person performing a task without wearing masks/caps/gloves, and many others. The recorded videos can also be used as evidence that the task was performed with the highest quality and standards.

IoT-based BMR(Batch Manufacturing Record)

IoT-based BMR can be used to ensure 100% automation and automated record management. A touchscreen-based device can be used to show the steps to perform and as and when the performer is doing the task, the evidence is recorded. The IoT-capable machines can be integrated with the BMR device to ensure that the machine performs as per the BMR.

Device to Control Material Movement

When material moves from one area to another during multi-stage and multi-process manufacturing, IoT devices equipped with QR codes or RFIDs can be used to ensure that there is no mistake in material movement.

Temperature monitoring

Maintaining the right temperature during manufacturing, transportation, and storage is critical for many pharmaceutical products. IoT-enabled temperature monitoring can be integrated with ERP to ensure that there is no deviation in temperature. ERP has the information about which material is stored in which bin of the warehouse. Smart IoT devices with AI capability can monitor and raise an alarm when the temperature of a bin drops. In the event the temperature cannot be maintained, the CAPA module can ensure the right action is performed to avoid the impact of temperature fluctuation.

Considering the importance of compliance in the Pharmaceutical Industry, Indian manufacturers must have a road map to adopt cutting-edge technology to stay competitive in the current global market. This would help India maintain the status of the “Pharmacy of the world” in the foreseeable future.