As Patheon's head of Global IT, Lindsay Fernandez ensures that IT delivers tech solutions that drive enhanced value to its internal and external customers.
Fernandez: We don't have a dedicated IT M&A team, but we do have talented IT professionals who are skilled across multiple IT disciplines and have strong business acumen. Each acquisition is different, but the integration activities are the same.
In our experience over the last six acquisitions, we've learned that the real challenge is defining the scope and speed of an acquisition to ensure a successful integration. Based on the type of acquisition, we define the minimal technology changes required to integrate a site or company and get them to a standalone environment.
With this approach, the newly acquired site or company can get on with business operations and begin the organizational integration needed to achieve the maximum realization of value. All other technology changes are then considered as part of our ongoing IT strategy roadmap and planned accordingly.
High: What do you see as the primary value IT can deliver to a pharmaceutical manufacturing services company?
Fernandez: In recent years, we've seen significant changes in the pharmaceutical manufacturing services market, and this year even more so, as the political climate has become a potential disruptor to the industry. With the downward pressures in drug prices, and big pharma looking at opportunities to reduce manufacturing costs, technology becomes the true differentiating factor.
Looking forward, I believe that the IT value drivers that will differentiate pharmaceutical manufacturing service companies are the following:
- Scalable infrastructure to drive flexible manufacturing solutions
- Digital enterprise platform to enable a seamless and integrated supply chain
- Automation technology to demonstrate compliance in a complex manufacturing landscape
- Enhanced data services that transform data into a competitive advantage for both customer and service provider.
High: What trends particularly excite you as you look to the future?
Fernandez: Technology truly excites me, as the possibilities are only limited by the mind's ability to dream. Here are a few trends that I am following:
- Nanotechnology that can further transform and revolutionize many industry sectors, but more specifically the advancements in science and medicine to extend human life
- Artificial Intelligence that can be used to drive "smart manufacturing" environments with the potential to eliminate waste, downtime, variability and self-maintain
- 3D printing will continue to disrupt many industries as this technology continues to evolve
- Augmented and/or virtual reality is another trend that is exploding on the consumer side, but the commercial aspects are just as exciting as we explore uses in medicine, commercial manufacturing and even defense.