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Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru June 21 , 2022
Indian pharma is accelerating its investments into tech as automation spurs efficient production timelines and reduces downtime.  The digitalization of industry has resulted in skill requirements, higher productivity and improved corporate performance.

In an effort to keep a finger on the pulse of evolving technology trends, Indian Pharma Machinery Manufacturers Association (IPMMA) has now teamed up with Karnataka Drugs & Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (KDPMA) and Messe Muenchen India at a networking roadshow panel discussion. The event was a precursor to the Pharma Pro & Pack Expo, analytica Anacon India and India Lab Expo to be held in Hyderabad from September 15 to 17, 2022 where industry experts from Karnataka spelt out their views on ‘Technology & Automation: Futuristic Scenarios’.

Kaushik Desai, advisor, IPMMA, who set the tone of the deliberations as a moderator said that digital transformation is no longer optional but has become a matter of survival for many manufacturers, thanks to the pandemic which has shown us the way.

Suresh Khanna, designated partner, Dossier Solutions LLP, said “The need of the hour is to be able to access trained personnel who can lead the sector towards automation. Trained manpower is the backbone of pharma industry technology investments be it in the area of robotics, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.”

YA Chowdary, chief operating officer (CEO), Medreich said that the market demands quality medicines and at same time regulatory expectations were also increasing. The only way to survive in such a situation is with technology adoption.

“However it is challenging for the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to invest but in the long run it will only be beneficial in terms of saving cost and time. Hence use of technology in batches of production and packaging will definitely be fruitful as it will lead the industry towards operational efficiencies. The Year 2025 is phase of smart manufacturing for which Indian pharma has started the journey but it has a long way to go,” noted the Medreich CEO.
 
Sanjay Gopinath, senior vice president operations, Micro Labs pointed out that automation and digitisation are the future for any industry and pharma is a late entrant. This is because the focus on the industry has been on quality management systems and regulatory adherences. Nevertheless technology adoption is imperative for pharma industry to reduce and minimise human errors even as cost saving is a key component in this investment.
 
Delving on technology adoption by the MSME (Micro Small and Medium Enterprises), Harish K Jain, president, KDPMA and director, Embiotic Labs said with considerable challenges in day-today plant operations, high input cost, complexities in supply chain, customer expectations among others, MSMES will have no other choice but go in for technology and automation to increase new capabilities, enhance reliability and better collaboration.

In a fast changing world where technology is taking the centre stage, the future belongs to those who embrace technology and hence MSMES which is the backbone of Indian pharma cannot ignore this, added Jain.

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