Making better use of resources could save the pharmaceutical sector billions

In 2014 alone, pharmaceutical companies are expected to use over one million mega-litres of water, while in Europe back in 2010 the sector used around 54 million tonnes of oil. Clearly, this is an enormous level of consumption but, surprisingly, is not an area that firms typically look to when making operational cost savings.

The industry has traditionally targeted the likes of labour costs or lowering their production output when streamlining their expenditure. Few have fully explored the potentially huge savings available in their use of natural resources. This is despite potential savings of up to €135 billion each year by improving the way they use water and energy in their operations.
In the future, global population growth and climate change are expected to put unprecedented strain on resources and prices are growing each and every year. Clearly, this is a problem that is not going to go away and will, inevitably, have a sizable impact on the cost of running a pharmaceutical operation.

That said, potential savings in these areas are high. We have helped our clients in the industry to better identify the interdependencies between their functions and, therefore, better allocate their usage of resources.

Through accurately assessing and better managing pharmaceutical firms’ consumption we have helped increase their energy efficiency by up to thirty-five percent across multiple production facilities, reduce maintenance costs by almost a third and lower their water consumption by twenty percent.

Although firms – in particular those in the West – are now exiting a prolonged period of recession, enhancing the bottom line, and demonstrating improved sustainability will always be a key business focus, as will minimising the environmental impact of operations. Smarter consumption of natural resources feeds into both of these areas.

Statistics show that the pharmaceutical sector is lagging well behind other industries when it comes to optimising the cost of operations. For instance, if the industry were to improve its operations by just half that of other industries earning profit margins would grow by 7.5 percent, meaning the industry could save a staggering €135 billion every year. For this to become a reality, though, the sector has a lot of catching up to do. The opportunities are there but the clock is ticking.

Martijn Karrenbeld

Global Sector Leader - Chemical & Life Science +31 (0)6 2706 0599 Ask me a question
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