The Best Building Management System in the Pharmaceutical Industry

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The pharmaceutical industry has recently been in the public eye like few industries had ever been before. Lately it seems the whole world has been discussing vaccination research, production, storage, and all the complex factors that go into creating and distributing life-saving pharmaceutical products.

Pharma has long been among the most regulated industries in the world, controlled by a series of federal and international regulations. In what is already a complex industry, these layers of regulatory requirements and associated reporting add a significant set of crucial tasks to manage. That’s why every building in the pharmaceutical industry needs to be in peak operating condition at all times. In the era of automation, this requires deployment of an analytics-driven building management system for the pharmaceutical industry.

Having a data analytics capability integrated with a building’s management system is rapidly becoming a must-have. Identifying the right system, and the right partner to install and operate it, is a critical component of achieving the potential gains made available by modern, advanced building management technology.

No matter where you are in the pharmaceutical supply chain, you need an analytics-ready BMS to ensure the highest level of infrastructure efficiency and regulatory compliance for a challenging and fast-paced environment.

The Need For Exacting Building Standards in the Pharmaceutical Industry

For both domestic and foreign operations, pharmaceutical businesses exist in an extensive and complex regulatory environment.

In the US, pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities are governed by the Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP) for Finished Pharmaceuticals (CGMP) in the Code of Federal Regulations. The CGMP covers all phases of the pharmaceutical process, controlling for safety and quality. These include standard issues, like cross-contamination and general safety, but many pertain directly to the functioning of the building itself. These include:

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Lighting

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Temperature

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Humidity

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Ventilation

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Electrical supply

All of these are crucial factors for regulatory compliance and the viability of pharmaceutical products due to the tight control parameters in this industry. It is an exacting business, and that means being able to carefully and precisely control temperature, humidity, air pressure, and other atmospheric conditions.

Even the slightest fluctuations or errors can be enormously costly. From both a business and a regulatory perspective, this means the building must be reliably networked and all systems need to be integrated into an easy-to-operate management front-end. Otherwise, there is simply too much data in too many isolated systems for any human or team to reasonably operate. But to deliver high performing building systems 100% of the time, there are many variables to account for and manage.

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The Unique EMS Issues for Pharma Companies

The combination of powerful manufacturing and delicate lab work makes for a challenging pairing. Some of these challenges include:

  • Equipment density. Equipment density tends to be much higher in pharma than in other industries. Not only does that concentrate power use, but it also has an impact on air temperature, humidity, and quality. 
  • Pressure control and exhaust systems. The need to maintain air purity and pressure control often means a large number of systems installed throughout the facility. 
  • Multiple pressure envelopes. Air pressure requirements vary across lab environments. Clean rooms, for example, have very stringent pressure controls. Balancing all of these requirements throughout a facility or across facilities can be a significant challenge. 
  • Office space. Whether the offices are in a different part of the campus, or in the same building as the lab or factory, they have different needs. 

All of this raises the issue of related systems not working in a coordinated way. Too often, systems are installed at different times or using different controls. That can lead to redundancy and wasted effort. And that means a lot can go wrong.

Key Concerns of Building Management for the Pharmaceutical Industry

What happens when buildings are run inefficiently or without a plan for central control? 

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Downtime

You’re in an industry where downtime is unacceptable. The pressure from shareholders, from the medical industry, and from competitors, is immense. If systems overheat, if air pressure isn’t tightly controlled, if equipment fails, there needs to be a shutdown. If regulations aren’t met, the shutdown can come from the outside.

While that is bad for business, the real issue comes from consumers. They are depending on life-changing or even life-saving medicine. Delays in shipments, problems with supply, and lack of access can be more than irritating—they can be catastrophic. Helping improve lives is the mission of every pharmaceutical company, and downtime compromises that mission.

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Wasted or Recalled Batches

When temperature, air pressure, air quality, and other requirements aren’t perfectly met, batches of valuable product may have to be thrown away, or research started over. That can be a costly and frustrating waste, hampering you in the market.

Even worse is a recall: it is costly, attracts audits, and hurts your reputation. Recalled batches also mean medicine not getting in the hands of the public. This can do material harm to the people you are working to help. Making sure that your products are tightly controlled for quality saves lives.

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Energy Costs

Your facilities use enormous amounts of energy. Disconnected controls for multiple separate systems can be incredibly inefficient, raising costs across the board. And automaton on its own can’t handle everything.

Adding advanced analytics to building management systems for the pharmaceutical industry is invaluable for addressing these unique challenges.

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Penalties

If pharmaceutical products are compromised or a shutdown comes from the outside, there can be significant penalties, including fines. 

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What the Best Building Management System in the Pharmaceutical Industry Can Do for You

Building management systems already play a central role in maintaining lab, office, and manufacturing environments. But getting the most out of your BMS and adding advanced functionality requires a well-architected system that integrates an intelligent analytics platform to provide meaningful insights from all connected equipment, sensors, and devices.

onPoint is a state-of-the-art platform that can integrate with all open protocols to ensure network-connected systems can securely share data to give operators a single place to go to manage, monitor and maintain all building and IOT equipment. Designed by controls experts, onPoint uses machine learning algorithms to continually learn how buildings function and help identify potential improvements and opportunities for automation. An analytics platform is how a building manager truly manages their diverse systems.

All of this has enormous upside for any building. At its most basic, it can lead to greater efficiency. As historical data is built up and combined from sources across various areas, additional insights can be gained and leveraged for increased efficiency through automation. This can lower costs, increase production, and extend the operating lifetime of your automated systems.

onPoint also offers:

Visibility into interconnected systems

An analytics-driven building management system can model the connected systems and show how they work together. This helps shed light on inefficiencies related to how systems are connected and can identify areas to target for improvement. By seeing how everything works together, you can understand how to make it work better.

Better preventive maintenance

Having a better view into your entire system helps you understand what needs maintenance and when. This is based on organized, historic device performance data combined with advanced fault detection and diagnostics with smart analytic rules. This approach flags problems early and allows you to target your resources, fix what is needed, and maximize uptime.

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Different labs need different air pressures. Some areas require high heat, some freezing temps. Air has to be regulated throughout the building. The office side of the facility has vastly different requirements. Being able to unify all your equipment and systems into one operational interface means being able to control it centrally. That reduces costs, reduces the risk of error, and reduces headaches. 

Customizable reporting 

You have a lot of bodies to which to report, from the FDA to the WHO to OSHA. Reports can be customized depending on what needs to be reported to whom. Leveraging a centrally stored superset of all system data for report generation saves time, and ensures that you don’t have to worry about missing anything when it comes to regulatory compliance. 

People around the world demand the best from pharmaceuticals. You should demand the best from your buildings. By choosing the right technologies and the right integration partner, you can transform your building management system into.

Contact us to learn more about how Buildings IOT can transform your building management