Digital Collaboration in Pharmaceuticals Scheduling

A Key to Manufacturing Operations Alignment

October 26, 2022

Maintaining timely visibility on all the moving parts in pharmaceuticals manufacturing is challenging given the varied and complex processes and workflows. In both small and large molecule manufacturing, day-to-day fluctuations occur in demand, raw materials supply, and equipment or labor availability. As a result, for schedules to remain accurate and effective they must constantly be fine-tuned to match this ever-shifting landscape. These complexities translate into significant challenges for manufacturers to achieve on-time order fulfilment, maintenance of effective safety stock levels and efficient use of human and material resources.

A recent study by leading life sciences industry analyst and strategic advisory firm, Axendia, of around 200 industry professionals1 provided insight into the biggest threats to their supply chain (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1: Biggest threats to the supply chain | Axendia research findings


60% of respondents reported delays in incoming raw materials as the top challenge, while 33% viewed communication challenges with internal and/or external partners as a major obstacle. To tackle these challenges and implement supply chain operations in symphony with production, there is a cogent need to use advanced, data-driven planning and scheduling systems that are tightly integrated with their associated execution systems.

Aspen Schedule ExplorerTM is a live, web-based hub for collaboration between manufacturing stakeholders and includes visualisation of the latest, published schedules from Aspen Plant SchedulerTM. It is designed to provide a digital bridge for communication, enabling full visibility and data-driven decision making for everyone affected by scheduling decisions. For example, you no longer need to rely on phone calls to the shop floor operator to find out if there is a suitable time window between upcoming production runs to schedule needed maintenance activities. Nor do you need to call the quality control (QC) team to understand if there is a delay related to a certain batch. All this information is at your fingertips and continuously updated in Aspen Schedule Explorer.

This unique scheduling support platform eliminates silos between affected departments such as procurement, supply chain, manufacturing operations and plant management. It helps close gaps between sales & operations planning (S&OP) and manufacturing by aligning actual execution against goals.

Fig. 2:  Aspen Schedule Explorer visualizes work orders in a Gantt chart, enabling the scheduler to proactively ask questions and continuously improve performance.

A Fortune 500 company recently reported a 20% boost in throughput, without incurring additional capital expenses, from the greater situational awareness and seamless communication provided by Aspen Schedule Explorer, a powerful example of the transformative outcomes that are possible.

Learn more about AspenTech’s full solution stack for building and maintaining high-fidelity and effective production schedules in this on-demand webinar with our in-house pharma scheduling expert, Cade VanRooyen.


  1. Axendia Market Research Report: "The Needle is Moving - Digital Transformation in Life-Sciences Manufacturing"


There was a problem storing your subscription

Leave A Comment