04 August 2020

The digital transformation pill at Polpharma

Almost 5.5 billion tablets, ampoules and vials a year. This is the result of the work of the Polpharma team, which currently has 4.5 thousand members. The company's operations are supported by new technologies, and the Polpharma-Microsoft agreement, in force for a year now, provides for the digitisation of industrial processes in the drug production chain, data analytics, and the use of artificial intelligence to create new digital jobs. Organisations such as Polpharma are part of the development of the Polish Digital Valley.

At Polpharma, digitisation extends to the key areas: digital organisation, digital operations (production), digital product and digital market. Digital change affects every employee. There is one goal – to increase the company’s business efficiency, and above all, to facilitate individual employees’ daily tasks.

We prove that technology can effectively support and automate our operations, as well as change habits and the way we work in all our key business areas. Of course, its optimal use is always the result of cooperation, effort and vision of many people, and of proper preparation of our employees for the change”, Łukasz Krause, IT Director of the Polpharma Group, says.

The Polpharma team, with its several thousand employees in 6 branches in Poland, has representatives of many generations, including baby boomers (16%), generation X (53%), generation Y (29%) and generation Z/C (2%.). In order to ensure equal opportunities for cooperation in the digital environment, Polpharma has established a Digital Community team responsible for inspiring, promoting and supporting new digital solutions and teaching other employees how to effectively use the technologies.

Properly implemented communication, training, recommendations for appropriate solutions, and support from the managerial staff, ensure that the Microsoft services have a real impact on the work of not only individual people, but also of entire departments. Microsoft Teams is a technology that currently has over 3,000 users in Polpharma (in Poland). Efficient team communication is ensured through a common virtual space that proves to be particularly useful both for organising meetings and managing projects and documents, and for remote and mobile work. The Polpharma employees use the Yammer tool for less formal communication between branches in different countries. Today, almost 5,000 employees from three countries use the internal social network.

The informal, non-hierarchical, virtual team of ambassadors, established on the initiative of Tomasz Staszelis, the Director for Digitisation of the Polpharma Group, is responsible for the digital change at Polpharma. “The goal of Polpharma Digital Community is to create the context for digitisation, that is, to raise awareness, promote, inspire employees, and recommend appropriate digital solutions for business. Practically speaking, this style of influence makes individual employees and their departments not only think and talk about digitisation, but also apply appropriate digital solutions in the areas for which they are responsible”, Tomasz Staszelis says.

The future that is happening now

Production is the most dynamically developing area in terms of technologies. Four key technologies can be identified here: Industrial Internet of Things (IoT), Cloud Computing, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Augmented Reality. The latter is used by the Polpharma engineers to build a digital machine model, the so-called digital twin, and to hold training sessions for new employees, monitor the condition of devices, or retool production lines.

The use of these technologies in Polpharma’s factories is the result of the work of technicians, engineers and pharmacy experts who are supported by the technology and digital solutions from the Microsoft Azure platform. At the Polfa Warszawa plant, belonging to the Polpharma Group, employees use IoT solutions and engage artificial intelligence algorithms to monitor key technological parameters. The Blokchain technology has been used in the digitisation of processes related to the supervision of employee exposure to harmful and mutagenic factors.

“By combining the Internet of Things (IoT) with technological systems and the use of machine learning algorithms, we create a digital model of the production line. We gain so much more possibilities to control the quality of production and to shorten the time of implementing new drugs. It is extremely important for the entire innovation process implemented at Polpharma”, Tomasz Kozar, Cloud Technology Strategist, Microsoft Polska, comments.

One of the factors distinguishing Polpharma in the context of digital transformation is its long-term implementation. The changes are not incidental, but are introduced with future effects in mind.

We invite you to watch a film made in cooperation with Microsoft showing how digital technologies are changing the way our company works.



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