There’s a saying that change is the only constant – therefore, to stay relevant, innovation needs to remain at the forefront of all business activity. Never has this been more important now, as we look towards the dawn of Industry 4.0.
However, several sectors are still skeptical about adopting the change—especially the pharmaceutical sector. Compared to other industries, the pharmaceutical sector is significantly behind the curve and needs to focus on Industry 4.0 as the blueprint for interconnectivity, automation, machine learning, and real-time data. Industry 4.0 has combined physical production and operations with smart digital technology, machine learning, and big data to create a more holistic and better-connected ecosystem for companies that focus on manufacturing and supply chain management.
A major player in the global pharmaceutical industry is advanco. For over a decade, advanco has been providing leading solutions for the serialization of products, with a particular focus on the global pharmaceutical industry. The Development and Support team at advanco brings more than four decades of experience in the supply chain sectors, arming its customers with solutions based around its industry-leading serialization software, known as ARC.
This end-to-end solution works seamlessly through manufacturing, packaging, and along the entire serialization supply chain. Over the years, the company has continually adapted to the changes and stayed abreast of the trends. The mission of advanco has not changed but the pace has change, with agility and the speed of getting products active in the marketplace now being essential buzzwords.
Due to the ARC platform, advanco – which was acquired by Parabellum Investments, led by Founder and Chief Executive, Rami Cassis, in 2020 – has an edge over its competitors and is continually delivering excellence to its consumer. advanco was acquired by Parabellum Investments, led by Founder and Chief Executive, Rami Cassis, in 2020.
The ARC platform is a leading open serialization software solution that is focused on strengthening the supply chain in the pharmaceutical industry. It is specifically designed for pharmaceutical manufacturers and CMO’s that need to utilize multiple-line management systems, simplify integration, and enhance flexibility. It also ensures compliance with global legislation such as EU Hub, MDLP, Turkish MoH, US DSCSA, which impacts the packaging-line technologies and production management systems.
Integration across enterprise levels enables ARC to function as the central hub for managing serialization data and facilitating product traceability across the entire supply chain.
The ARC MESs system (Manufacturing Execution System for serialization) serves as a management hub for data and controls the pre-warehouse serialization process. ARC MESs is designed to process data that contains the most valuable, information in the consumer’s organization and is tasked with the management of serial item orders, online monitoring, reporting, and auditing. In addition, the ARC MESs system provides an accurate picture of the product batch—with the capability to drill down all the way to the individual serialized item. Due to its flexibility, it streamlines communication and keeps teams and partner technologies informed of activity for the organization, thus providing a secure place to maintain data over time.
The ARC LESs (Logistics Execution Systems for serialization) is the operating system of the warehouse that is responsible for post-packaging serialization, aggregation, and shipment processes. ARC LESs ensures that errors like package breakage and misappropriation are discovered and corrected, irrespective of the original packaging technology used. LESs also ensures the free flow of all in-and-outbound serialized goods and oversees the data integration of single-item operations that flows through the warehouse.
The ARC Cloud provides supply-chain level data exchange without compromising on the on-premises level reliability. Flexibility, accessibility, and scalability have been the bywords for cloud computing for the past decade. And although the cloud has been the very popular destination for migration and outsourcing of IT operations, the pharmaceutical industry has traditionally lagged with its strong focus on closed-system security and validation of computing functionality. This focus and the need to exercise strong control on the system meant that on-premises systems have been favored in a multitude of applications, especially manufacturing operations. However, the governmentally mandated serialization systems require that multiple parties across the pharmaceutical supply chain cooperate to enhance visibility across the whole system.
Innovation has always been at the center of advanco and its offerings. Being able to swiftly adapt to the changes has helped the company in the harsh times of COVID-19. The pandemic brought along some never-heard challenges and unimagined demands. With COVID-19 there was a new demand for a cold chain solution to cope up with the low temperatures, of anything up to minus 80 degrees, to store and supply vaccines around the globe. Apart from this, the type of packaging had to frequently be adapted to meet various scenarios.
“The frequent changes to packaging size, aggregation hierarchy, and machinery involved meant that the software needed to meet the challenge had to be adapted within a short timescale,” explained Alf Goebel, the CEO at advanco.
Being a veteran in the industry, Alf is a senior enterprise software sales and marketing executive, with over two decades of enterprise software industry experience. His strong operational experience helped him in growing businesses in Europe and the US. Throughout his journey, he has worked with Global Partnerships SAP and Lupo Ventures and has held senior executive positions at several leading technology companies, including Snow Software, MSC Software, and Software AG. By combing his extensive experience with his rare business acumen, Alf has been leading advanco to new heights. Despite the unanticipated challenges of COVID-19, he was swiftly able to tackle the challenges with his team.
The key to surviving in such situations is to be open to innovations. With a little more agility, innovation can be made much easier in the pharmaceutical sector by opening up multiple systems and established methods of working. Being an independent company, advanco could work with any machine from any supplier making it machine and hardware-independent.
“This is a key way of making innovation easier and is a strong way of overcoming the problems seen in the industry up until now,” explained Alf.
The post-COVID era will bring a new set of challenges for everyone – especially the pharmaceutical sector.
Digitalization and the virtual world are here to stay, hence the sector needs to adapt to the changes. The advent of the virus has highlighted the importance for product track-and-trace to work together, resulting in a supply-chain which will minimize costs for pharmaceutical companies. Indeed, we are already seeing the implementation of agile supply chain regulation which will require a strong industry-standard open interface and interoperability. To do this, the hardware and the software among different vendors needs to be much more aligned and should work much closer together.
The importance of this cannot be over-stated. To be able to track every single item, at every single stage of the process from source to supply to consumer, is essential. To have complete, watertight confidence that products are the bone fide, official ones, is an important step. If we do everything possible to work together and pool resources to nip this in the bud now, we will all be in a much better shape should we witness another global outbreak which needs global cooperation to conquer.
To bring a vast change like this, the leader’s mindset is crucial. It is the leader who has the vision for the future and questions the status quo— especially in a sector that changes and sees as much evolution as the pharmaceutical sector. Besides, the leader must also possess the skill to convince people that the set traditional methodologies may not be the best ones and prepare the team for the change. Alf believes that agility and change are often the key things that need to be adopted for the good of the sector as a whole.
Understanding the importance of evolution and change, advanco is constantly expanding and undergoing evolution to mirror the complex and shifting needs of the pharmaceutical serialization sector. Currently, the team is primarily focused on expanding their growth in the USA, as it is a big market for the pharmaceutical sector and also the one that needs innovation to streamline it and make it agile enough to cope with the demands of the post-COVID era.