Experts Talk

By Sumeet Doshi, Country Manager - India, Ultimate Kronos Group (UKG)

By Sumeet Doshi, Country Manager - India, Ultimate Kronos Group (UKG)

As projected by the India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), the total market size of the Indian Pharma Industry is expected to reach $ 130 billion by 2030. This projected growth is propelled by advancements in technology that have helped in the creation and sustenance of a robust manufacturing ecosystem.

The country’s skilled workforce and cost-effective manufacturing processes underlie its ability to meet the constantly growing global demand for affordable and high-quality pharmaceutical products.

Decoding the Catalyst for Growth in India’s Pharma Manufacturing Sector

For decades now, the workforce employed in the pharma manufacturing sector of India has consistently contributed to its rapid expansion, technological advancements, and the production of essential drugs and vaccines catering to both domestic and international demands. According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, there are about 10,500 pharma manufacturing units currently operating in the country, powered by a highly skilled workforce.

In order to effectively and efficiently manage a workforce at such a large scale and further propel its growth, technology-based workforce management solutions have come to the forefront.

With the advancements in artificial intelligence (AI), data analytics, and automation, these solutions help organisations optimize on resource allocation, improve productivity, and enable predictive analytics for informed strategic planning. In addition to that, it allows companies to maintain compliance, given the highly regulatory environment that the pharma manufacturing sector operates in. This adherence to regulations, in turn, ensures product quality, safety, and transparency throughout the manufacturing and distribution processes.

Key Technological Interventions in Workforce Planning & Management

There are some key workforce management tools with which organizations are empowering their employees and aiding them with supplementary resources. These tools encompass a range of functions that contribute to creating a holistic workplace experience for the workers.

Digital Inclusion: As per regulatory norms and safety purposes, employees are not permitted to carry their mobile phones with them into the manufacturing area. In such cases, workforce management solutions allow pharma manufacturing plants to provide their workers with touchscreen kiosks so as to ensure their continued access to information and services regardless of their location or position.  

Traceability: Often, in pharma manufacturing units, compliance, and quality issues tend to arise due to possible corruption in a certain batch of products. Therefore, in order to comply with FDA regulations, it is crucial to adequately identify the source of these issues. Tools such as biometrics, wherein every employee’s presence in each working station is recorded and monitored, can be crucial for maintaining product integrity, ensuring accountability, and swiftly addressing any anomalies.

Streamlining Operations: One of the most integral issues that many large-scale pharma manufacturing companies face is managing work schedules, overtime, and attendance of employees. However, advanced workforce management software and automation solutions can provide assistance with AI-powered scheduling tools that can dynamically allocate shifts, predict staffing needs based on historical data, and track employee attendance and performance metrics. 

Flexibility: To maintain and retain a dedicated workforce, companies need to extend the benefits of flexible work arrangements to their blue-collar employees. In the manufacturing sector, where operational demands can be dynamic, offering adaptable schedules, allowing shift swaps, emergency leaves, and giving access to user-friendly communication channels will allow workers to have more control over their work lives.

Balancing Employee Efficiency and Well-Being with AI-based Solutions

Scheduling tools and automating tasks such as attendance and overtime record keeping can greatly benefit large pharma manufacturing plants by reducing labor and compliance costs. By keeping track of tasks assigned to each employee, workforce management tools can enable real-time monitoring of work progress. This is of utmost importance, especially for a heavily regulated sector such as pharma manufacturing, where the smallest error could compromise product quality and endanger patient safety. Equipping workers with additional resources such as touch-screen kiosks can further enhance their efficiency, provide instant access to relevant information, and streamline their interactions with scheduling and attendance systems.

While maximising productivity and minimising errors is an integral aspect of employee management, ensuring workplace safety and satisfaction is of equal import. AI powered tools can contribute significantly by analysing workplace data to identify potential hazards, suggest safety measures, and create a secure environment. They can also widen the scope of flexibility that is offered to employees in a way that won’t compromise with the flow of work or put a strain on operational efficiency, thus promoting a much-desired balance between employee well-being and organisational success.

Shaping the Future of Indian Pharma Industry with a Tech-Empowered Workforce

Creating an ecosystem where employees share the load with tech based solutions will reduce the risk of burnout, especially on the frontlines, and foster a greater spirit of collaboration and ideation. The synergy between human effort complimented by technological interventions can lead to more effective problem-solving, improved decision-making, and an overall more resilient and adaptable workforce for the pharmaceutical industry.  With India’s pharma sector expanding in the upcoming years, not just in terms of market-size but also innovation and advancements, its resilient workforce will continue to be at the underbelly of this success story.


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