Pharma Company Transforms Mobile Asset Tracking Globally

PlantQuest has partnered with a major pharmaceutical company to improve mobile asset management, integrating its technology into the client's US and European facilities. This collaboration has led to substantial operational efficiencies and annual savings of €995,000 per annum at a key site. The solution offers real-time asset tracking, interactive maps, and dynamic alerts, tailored to each facility's needs.
Crebhan Hughes
5 min read

In a transformative collaboration, PlantQuest has partnered with the world's leading pharmaceutical company to resolve challenges in mobile asset management. By integrating PlantQuest’s cutting-edge asset location technology into the client's existing product infrastructure, PlantQuest has helped to streamline the client's operations and has also played a part in the client achieving an estimated annual saving and increased production output of€995,000 in one of their flagship facilities.

The client is a global leader in the pharmaceutical sector, with an extensive manufacturing network that spans the US and Europe. Among its flagship facilities are a multi-functional 230-acre site in North Carolina, a €1.8 billion facility in Ireland, a 106-acre campus spanning 200,000 square meters in Puurs Belgium, and a 90,000 square meter facility located in Dublin Ireland.These four locations are the first sites in the company's production network to adopt PlantQuest, with plans to roll out across another 6 sites by the end of 2024.

1. Key Partnership Wins

2. The Client

The client, a global leader in the pharmaceutical industry, operates an extensive manufacturing network across the US and Europe, producing a broad spectrum of prescription medications, vaccines, and other healthcare essentials. PlantQuest's mapping technology is currently operational in four key facilities across the US and Europe—with plans to expand to six more locations by the end of 2024.

3. The Chalange

3.1 Problem Statement

Across the client's manufacturing facilities, where every minute counts, inefficiencies in locating mobile assets such as production vessels and calibration equipment can lead to costly delays and compliance issues. While the client already had a mobile asset tracking technology stack in place, it lacked the user experience such as, real-time updates, and seamless mapping required by the end users. Alongside this, customization capabilities were necessary,with each manufacturing facility having different requirements and being globally located. In one of these manufacturing facilities, which spans 12 buildings, two of which are devoted to production, the manual tracking of 25 mobile production vessels was cumbersome and costly, leading to:

  1. Unaccounted production vessel waiting times cost 900 hours or $90,000 per year.
  2. Movement of production equipment between areas and buildings, resulting in unknown locations of critical production equipment.
  3. Numerous investigations are conducted due to the exceedence of clean campaigns and hold times on production equipment.

3.2 Project Goals

  1. Enable real-time tracking of all mobile assets, resulting in 0 wasted time locating assets.
  2. Monitor and receive alerts on the cleaning campaigns and hold times of production assets and when assets enter certain rooms or areas.
  3. Eliminate waiting times for bottleneck assets.
  4. Gain insights into the asset movements,aiding more informed planning and decision-making.

4. The Solution: PlantQuest's Industry 4.0 Mapping Technology

4.1 Seamless Integration & Superior Technology

PlantQuest's mapping technology has been integrated into the client's technology stack, providing all mapping components for the solution. Initially deployed in manufacturing sites in North Carolina, USA, and Ireland, the PlantQuest technology aligned with the client's existing tech stack while removing complexity, leading the client to transition seamlessly from their previous mapping provider. With the client's requirements ever-changing and the solutions' user base growing, PlantQuest supports ongoing monthly updates,ensuring the solution adapts and evolves according to the user's needs.

4.2 Key Features/Benefits Delivered

Intuitive Maps: PlantQuest's Facility Maps span all facility levels and are easy to interpret, ensuring quick and effective decision-making.

Interactivity: PlantQuest maps identify every room and area across a facility, allowing users to interact with their facility like never before. Upon clicking a room or area, users can view:

  1. The room name & number,
  2. Room information and metadata,
  3. The assets located within the room,

Real-Time Updates: PlantQuest maps are responsive and interactive, allowing real-time updates.

Quick Loading: Optimised and tiled for enhanced performance, the maps load in under 1 second with the ability to render 5,000+ assets at once.

Navigation Ready:
The "navigation ready" maps will allow users to view the optimal route throughout their facility from one room/asset to another.

Dynamic Alerts: PlantQuest enables real-time alerts when assets approach hold times, campaign limits or enter certain rooms or geofences.

Asset Historical Movement: Users can now get a full 360° view of an asset's operations, viewing its movement throughout the facility for a specific period.

Map UI & Customization: The PlantQuest technology supports filter-driven searches, multiple map sizes, and links to parent systems for more detailed asset information.

Technology Versatility:
The PlantQuest SDK (Software Development Kit) is versatile and flexible,allowing customers to integrate the offering with other internal products.

4.3 Project Timeline

Start: The project was initiated in Q1 2023, and within three months, PlantQuest completed system setup, facility mapping, integration, and testing.

Ongoing: Now that PlantQuest has been successfully integrated with the client technology stack, the setup time for each new facility is compressed to a matter of weeks, showcasing the agility and efficiency of the solution.

Updates: Adhering to best practices, PlantQuest releases monthly version updates to continually refine product features based on client feedback and the PlantQuest roadmap.

5. The Impact: Significant Cost Savings and Enhanced Efficiency

Along with the intangible benefits of adopting the PlantQuest mapping technology, the overall mobile asset-tracking solution will produce the following metric-drive results over 12months within one of the client's Irish manufacturing facilities.

Reduced Waiting Time: A 50% reduction in production vessel waiting time, resulting in annual savings of €42,000.

Increased Production Capacity: Enabled production of an additional 37 production batches, saving €860,000 per year of lost production capacity.

Cost Avoidance: Reduced investigations into the exceedance of production vessel cleaning campaigns, saving another €93,000.

Total Estimated Annual Savings &Increased Production Output: €995,000 per year.

6. Conclusion and Future Scope

PlantQuest's mapping technology has been a technological upgrade and a forward step in mobile asset management for the client. The remarkable success at the initial sites sets the stage for a promising future as the roll out expands to other locations.

The partnership is a testament to what can be achieved when pharmaceutical companies partner with best-in-breed service providers. Both parties are excited about the future of this partnership, further building out the mobile asset tracking solution functionality and transforming other workflows.

In an era where every minute and asset counts, PlantQuest can be your leading partner for any organisation aiming to increase its operational efficiency through digital transformation and Industry 4.0 technologies.

To fully understand the transformative power and adaptability of PlantQuest's solutions, we must consider the technical hurdles overcome, the agility demonstrated in the project timeline, and the continuous improvement ingrained in our approach.

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