Glossary Definition: Digital Manufacturing (DM)

What is digital manufacturing?

Digital manufacturing (DM) uses interactive computer-based technology to streamline manufacturing processes. It connects systems across every production stage — consolidating all processes into one main computer database. This creates a “digital thread” of events and allows companies to have better control of production throughout the product lifecycle.

Equipped with a modern, computer-based manufacturing system, companies can adapt to changing market conditions, improve operational efficiency, seamlessly monitor manufacturing, and accelerate production.

What are other names for digital manufacturing?

There are several terms that overlap with digital manufacturing, including:

  • Smart manufacturing
  • Advanced manufacturing
  • Digital transformation
  • Smart manufacturing digital twin
  • Industry 4.0 (or the fourth industrial revolution)

In the pharmaceutical industry, digital manufacturing can also be referred to as Pharma 4.0. However, it’s important to note this is an industry-specific term.

What are examples of digital manufacturing?

Various industries including healthcare, transportation, manufacturing, education, and energy use digital manufacturing to increase productivity and accelerate product production.

Examples of digital manufacturing in action include: 

What is digital manufacturing in pharma?

Digital manufacturing in pharma, also known as Pharma 4.0, uses a cohesive system that understands how people, processes, and physical environments are interconnected within a cyber-physical network. By linking machines and systems together, digital manufacturing creates intelligent networks that control each other, make better predictions, and trigger automatic processes.

Pharma 4.0 connects systems such as MES solutions and LES systems to help organizations improve compliance, streamline planning, collaborate with ease, and reduce time to market.

Why is digital manufacturing important in pharma?

Digital manufacturing is important in pharma because it facilitates cross-site collaboration, allows companies to uphold stringent compliance standards, and improves safety, yield, and quality… all while reducing time to market. Plus, it reduces reliance on paper-based systems which are often disparate, error-prone, and unnecessarily time consuming.

Features such as automated error checking and process controls enable pharma companies to minimize deviations and resource waste. This speeds up the time it takes to commercialize new therapies and get drugs to patients who need them.

Digital manufacturing is disrupting manufacturing-heavy industries like pharma and quickly becoming the gold standard of production. This integrated approach to manufacturing enhances the product lifecycle and allows companies to seamlessly monitor supply chains and markets. Using connected, computer-based systems, organizations can streamline their manufacturing processes, reduce errors, anticipate market demand, and launch products sooner.