Jakarta – Digital transformation has become a necessity for the industrial world today, especially the pharmaceutical sector. The Covid-19 pandemic has become one of the factors that accelerate the process, so that many business operations can now be shortened and more efficient due to adequate technology. According to Yudhi Arieffianto, General Manager of IT at PT Phapros Tbk, the characteristics of the pharmaceutical industry are closely related to government regulations, such as the Good Manufacturing Practice (CPOB), the use of materials, processing, infrastructure and computerization systems.
“These business processes require technology adoption, not only in production, but also in the supply chain. And the selection of technology is influenced by the products being marketed and what contributes most to growth,” he said in a webinar on the Utilization of Digital Technology in the Pharmaceutical Industry with Sahamology recently in Jakarta.
Yudhi said that digitalization of technology can help operational teams such as checking production status, obstacles being faced, congestion points or bottle necks, all of which can be visualized. Previously, the field team did not have access to see product availability, so many things were missed.
“The same applies to procurement. When we receive too many orders, we need a reminder system so that we don’t miss them, a monitoring system to see whether the goods have arrived or not, have been placed or not, and whether they have been distributed or are still in the factory,” he said.
According to him, the pharmaceutical industry is a capital-intensive industry that requires not only large investments in machinery, but also room qualifications and infrastructure requirements. “Technology requires investment, when the process gaps have been identified, then we can look for technology that suits our product portfolio and our needs.”
Yudhi tried to analogize the use of technology in terms of savings. “For example, we choose technology that can save a certain number of hours in the production or management process. Then we calculate it into rupiah value, let’s say the savings is worth 100 million rupiah, while the price of the technology is 500 million. This means that in five months the capital can be returned.”
Yudhi added that the technology digitization process carried out by Phapros is quite complex, as it is related to regulations from the competent authorities. “For example, previously there was Laboratory Management System (LIMS) technology that became a kind of mandatory technology for the pharmaceutical industry, but if we buy it, the cost is very expensive. Meanwhile, if we develop it ourselves, the calculations can be more efficient, user needs and obligations to regulators are fulfilled,” he said.
“In terms of operations, Phapros has developed Business Supply Chain (BISCHAIN) technology to monitor the supply chain and product availability. In terms of manufacturing, Phapros has developed E-CPB, which is an electronic batch management record that can reduce paper consumption and is installed on a mobile device. Thus, batch recording activities which are mandatory for the pharmaceutical industry can be done in real-time and obligations to regulators are also fulfilled.
From the Warehouse, barcode technology has also been implemented by Phapros, so that it can quickly know when goods arrive and are stored. To continuously improve quality and minimize returns, Phapros has also developed a Product Change Control (PCC) system in Quality Operation,” he added.
When mentioned about the utilization of artificial intelligence (AI) technology, he said that AI is a technology that can predict a pattern. Abroad, the pharmaceutical industry has developed artificial intelligence to predict compounds in the use of drugs. This is very possible because in developed countries the database of pharmaceutical ingredients is very complete.
“In Indonesia, some pharmaceutical industry players have started to go in that direction. This includes Phapros, although of course we still have a long way to go. One of the challenges of implementing AI is validity, because pharmaceuticals rely heavily on validity.”