Modular Manufacturing Means More Workers Will Be Placed Offsite

Manufacturing is embracing modularity – facilities that are designed and developed offsite and then brought to companies’ desired locations, according to a new report from ResearchAndMarkets. Industry owners favor modular buildings’ speed, cost, and design advantages, which bring greater predictability to their business, the report states. 

Choosing modular facilities over stick-built ones enables manufacturers to accomplish multiple business goals simultaneously. These goals include:

  • Decentralizing operations: With modular facilities, companies can locate production capacity closer to customers, suppliers, and talent pools. It’s also easier and less expensive to stand up new capacity to meet emerging demand. 
  • Designing fit-for-purpose sites: Many manufacturers, such as those in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and technology verticals, require specialized facilities, such as research labs and clean rooms where production processes are tightly controlled. Leaders also want the ability to flexibly configure manufacturing processes. 

According to the report:

Modular biomanufacturing includes division of individual production processes, such as fermentation, purification and formulation, into separate modules that can be easily assembled and disassembled, allowing for flexibility and scalability.

  • Out-positioning competitors: Most company leaders are looking for a competitive edge. That’s especially true in pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, as the first to take a new molecule or medical device to market often reaps the lion’s share of the spoils. Modular facilities can be built 40% faster than stick-built equivalents, enabling companies to get more products to market faster. That’s why modular facilities are popular with companies offering cell and gene therapies, biosimilars, and vaccines, ResearchAndMarkets states.
  • Avoiding weather-related project delays: Harsh weather can delay stick-built development processes, such as laying building foundations; deploying, integrating, and testing new equipment; securing regulatory approvals; and more. Modular facilities address 60-90% of weather-related project concerns, according to the report.
  • Rightsizing capital outlays: Building new manufacturing facilities is costly, requiring sizeable capital outlays. Pivoting to a more modular approach enables companies to rightsize new capacity to meet current and near-term demand, avoiding wasted space and unused production lines. 

Manufacturers’ Tilt to Modularity Means They Need to Digitize Processes

So, what does this mean for manufacturers? With modular facilities, companies have a strategic tool they can use to increase capacity, enter new regions, and expand site networks. However, with more staff working across a greater number of locations, the pressure is on to streamline operations and scale processes across sites. 

QAD Redzone helps by digitizing key processes related to production, maintenance, compliance, and learning. The solution provides workers with the data, insights, and tools they need to optimize production by proactively solving these problems. 

Digitizing documents such as standards, standard operating procedures, and compliance records means everyone uses the same procedures and can access the same data at any time. With greater adherence to standards, manufacturers are able to reduce safety violations, improve product quality, and notch other gains. That’s important in any industry, but especially for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies moving to a modular manufacturing model. 

In addition, workers can develop and share knowledge across lines, shifts, and sites with video plays and comments they add to QAD Redzone. These plays can be easily created by workers using smartphones, democratizing information sharing. And as plays are added, more workers join in. 

With an ongoing shortage of manufacturing workers, being able to centralize and expand knowledge makes it easier to train new workers and speed their time to productivity. In addition, companies mitigate the risks of workers retiring or departing and taking knowledge with them by creating digital knowledge hubs anyone can access and leverage.

Building for modularity is an exciting trend for manufacturing that will help companies align capacity with growth and create significant new business advantages. As they deploy more sites and build out networks, manufacturers can use QAD Redzone to create a world-class production environment and establish a culture of continuous improvement, starting on day one.

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