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Process industry scheduling in general is difficult. Yet accuracy and robustness are critical. There are many differences between process and discrete manufacturing. In process manufacturing, for example:

  • Fluids cannot readily be assigned to storage buffers.
  • Bottlenecks shift throughout the course of a schedule.
  • Processing equipment can serve as storage.
  • Materials cannot be mixed in storage vessels.
  • Material is often recycled.
  • Operations produce by-products.
  • The same material may be packaged into many forms.

In addition, pharmaceuticals provide more concerns. For example, processes:

  • run for extended lengths
  • have time varying resource requirements
  • are sufficiently complex that it may take in excess of a year to produce final product
  • produce materials with finite shelf lives
  • incur extended shutdowns (sometimes in excess of a month)
  • involve complex changeovers and process-to-process overlap.

These considerations place immense requirements on planning systems. They must be flexible even with many constraints, capable of representing and solving problems for processes that have widely varied structures, and capable of generating fully detailed schedules for time periods greater than one year. All these features are necessary to plan for strategic inventory buildup, sometimes well in advance of - or even in the face of - extended shutdowns.

Traditional bucket-based planning does not always suffice, due to depth of the bills of material (BOMs) and long process times. Simultaneous consideration of multiple BOM levels, sequencing, assignment, and lot sizing is required. In short, at a minimum, a scheduling and planning system designed at least with process industry considerations is a prerequisite.

The competitive advantage in the pharmaceutical industry lies in blending new technologies and old-fashioned perseverance to discover cures for the many complex diseases we face. A well-structured implementation of information and computational technology streamlines manufacturing and distribution, enabling resources to focus on research, marketing, and optimizing how new products are staged into a competitive market.

Optimization Engine to your rescue

Optimization Engine for pharmaceutical industry fromTM GoldenEmbryo Technology is a readymade tool for the pharmaceutical industry’s needs of production planning, scheduling & optimization. It can not only help you achieve the goals mentioned above, it will help you to reduce your manufacturing lead times substantially. Using Optimization EngineTM you can do scenario analysis, profitability analysis, product mix analysis, achieve available to promise functionality and many more benefits.