Monday 25 October 2021

When Pharmaceutical Automation Projects Fail: Averting Disaster Through Risk Assessment


Digital transformation concerns the successful blending of technology, business processes, and changes to workplace culture. One of the pillars of digital transformation is automation, and this applies as equally to pharmaceutical processing as to other economic sectors. Automation can be defined in different ways; in the context of this article, the International Society of Automation definition fits well, namely: “The creation and application of technology to monitor and control the production and delivery of products and services.” The term “business process automation” is in common use for delivering these aims.


The advantages of introducing automated operations include higher productivity, improved reliability, greater availability, improved performance, and reduced operating costs. When undertaken correctly, automating operations yields will lead to a return on investment in the short term. However, automation does not always result in success, and poor automation can be as damaging to the pharmaceutical organization as no automation at all. This article addresses what happens when automation goes wrong and how mistakes can be avoided by adopting a risk-centric approach.


Sandle, T. (2021): When Pharmaceutical Automation Projects Fail: Averting Disaster Through Risk Assessment, Pharmaceutical Online, at: (January 2021)


Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle, Pharmaceutical Microbiology Resources (

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