Five Minute Facts  

The Human Element of Sustainable Solutions

David Mierau, PE | Managing Principal, Life Cycle Engineering

The pharmaceutical industry has been slow to embrace sustainability due to the absence of strong consumer demand and the perception that sustainability is costly. However, digitization and stricter ESG demands from investors are driving change. To succeed, companies need to consider their entire operation, focusing on people, processes, and technology. Here are some steps to achieve this:

1. Start with clear goals: Identify your sustainability objectives, such as reducing energy consumption, and establish a roadmap to achieve them.

2. Improve asset management: Streamline your operations by aligning physical assets with your strategy. Efficient asset management can lower energy usage and boost productivity.

3. Invest in the right technology: Prioritize technology that adds value, like condition monitoring, to enhance reliability and sustainability.

Pharmaceutical companies should consider specific areas of digitalization, particularly in asset performance management with AI and machine learning. This requires new skills and third-party expertise to build data analysis models, but this technology offers productivity, safety, and sustainability benefits.

However, many struggle due to poor data management and poor data quality. Invest in software that can work across various equipment manufacturers for predictive maintenance and improved decision-making. Develop a digital strategy, emphasizing foundational data quality and effective communication. Determine where and how to apply digital technology, focusing on critical assets.

A smart culture’s success depends on effective change management. While Industry 4.0 technologies can address some workforce challenges, adapting to a more technologically driven workplace requires engagement, new procedures, and education.

Leadership and communication are crucial. Engaged employees and effective leadership can turn the promise of a smart culture into reality, leading to optimized manufacturing and improved sustainability through digitization.


To read the full article go to the Life Cycle Engineering website:

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About the Author

David Mierau, PE Managing Principal, Life Cycle Engineering

David Mierau is a Managing Principal, Senior Reliability Engineering Subject Matter Expert, and Life Sciences Vertical Leader with Life Cycle Engineering (LCE). David provides technical and strategic expertise in asset life cycle management to help clients achieve maximum possible equipment and process performance at minimum cost. Some of his major responsibilities include equipment analysis, process mapping, and improvements leveraging experience with asset reliability, design, operation, and maintenance. David also delivers professional training for root cause analysis, risk-based asset management, and other courses in technical and strategic asset management.

Prior to joining LCE, David held senior Operations and Engineering leadership roles within the pharmaceutical and discrete manufacturing industries for over 20 years. He held management positions at Merck and Eli Lilly in the Engineering, IT, Maintenance, Capital Management, and Process Automation functions. His experience in engineering, manufacturing, and packaging operations provided opportunities to implement asset management and reliability processes first-hand.

David holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University and a Graduate Certificate in Finance from the University of Chicago. He is also a Lean Six-Sigma Green Belt, PROSCI® Certified Change Management Practitioner, a Certified Maintenance and Reliability Professional (CMRP) through SMRP, and a Licensed Professional Engineer