All around us the world is changing. Everything is happening faster, with bigger impacts for us all.
More people are gaining access to healthcare, more live with health conditions, and more medicines are being discovered to help improve the quality of lives.
AstraZeneca is pushing the boundaries of science to deliver life-changing medicines.
Global manufacturing operation faces a growing demand to deliver an expanding quantity and range of medicines, at the right time for patients. Meeting this demand is key to ensuring they can improve the lives of more people.
AstraZeneca’s Södertälje site, near the Swedish capital Stockholm, is one of the largest manufacturing sites in the world and the biggest in their network of 26 sites worldwide. There, and across the supply chain, the organisation is accelerating digital and technical innovation to make smart factories a reality today.
They use digital copies of the live factory environment to quickly and easily determine how to deliver medicines to patients in more flexible and sustainable ways.
Data capture and standardisation allows them to use advanced analytics to observe current performance, predict future demand, and analyse risks in real time. This drives smarter, faster, and more sustainable decision making.
To enable these new approaches, their training is some of the most vigorous and complex in industry, particularly in aseptic (sterile) manufacturing where operators must dress and move in specific ways. With augmented reality, training is enhanced and accelerated by the ability to physically practice in a safe but realistic environment.
Of course, technology forms only part of the transformation to smart factories. Global Operations cannot run successfully without well-trained staff, and they are transforming too – into a digitally enabled workforce, employing digital tools to support them in their work, adopting a culture of lifelong learning and moving from ‘doing digital’ to truly ‘being digital’.
Meanwhile, supplier relationships and transparency are strengthened by the ability to remotely visit and view operations with little or no notice.
AstraZeneca is are also using artificial intelligence, machine learning, cognitive computing and autonomous collaborative robots to improve process robustness and safeguard supply to patients, including through enabling:
· Operators to access digital instructions to guide them as they work
· Computer vision to check for potential obstructions, even in the hidden depths of equipment
· Robots to swing into action to automate repetitive tasks
· Automated goods vehicles to seamlessly move materials across the site
· GPS trackers and sensors to monitor the location and temperature of our products, even while in transit, to ensure they arrive in perfect condition for patients
At AstraZeneca, smart factories are very much at the heart of efforts to transform the lives of patients, and to build a better, more sustainable future.