The pharmaceutical industry is changing at a rapid pace. This not only involves new medical developments, guidelines and corresponding equipment, but also the roles of all stakeholders. Uwe Harbauer, Senior Vice President of Bosch Packaging Technology’s Pharma Business Unit, shares his thoughts with us in a three-part interview.
What were the most fundamental changes in the pharma industry during the past years?
Uwe Harbauer (UH): There has been a shift from blockbuster production to specialized medicine, from bulk to small-scale production. Moreover, drug manufacturers require ever higher precision and flexibility for novel products and packaging types. This has significantly changed the roles of drug manufacturers and equipment suppliers – and transformed the way we work together.
Could you give us an example of this new way of working?
UH: Some years ago, pharmaceutical manufacturers approached us with very detailed user requirement specifications (URS), often for one single machine, which they would integrate into their facility. Today, they expect us to provide complete solutions far beyond mere technical or mechanical expertise. They want a partner throughout their entire project – a role that we identify with very well.
What enables Bosch to fulfil this role?
UH: Our pharmaceutical line competence enables us to accompany our customers right from the start of a project, including consulting, planning and development, through to implementation and after-sales services. Moreover, the interconnection of machines, lines, processes and IT is becoming more and more important. This is easiest to find with a partner who can deliver everything from a single source. We recognized this trend at an early stage, and have been expanding our portfolio ever since, either through own developments, acquisitions or joint ventures.
What is the intrinsic motivation behind this change?
UH: Our goal is to support our customers in bringing drugs to the market that help save lives. This requires thorough knowledge, not only of technologies but also of market and industry requirements. This has made our job evolve from an equipment expert to consultants and partners along the value chain.
Read more about the changing roles and trends in part 2 and 3 of this series in October and December.
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