Interview with Christian Marchi, Head of Engineering & Technical Services SUANFARMA Italia

SUANFARMA Interview Christian Marchi
  1. What does the role of Engineering and Technical Services Manager entail?

The Engineering and Technical Services (ETS) group deals with many important aspects related to the management of the SUANFARMA Italia Rovereto site, such as the design of new plants or their refurbishing, personnel safety, health and environment, process automation, maintenance, energy efficiency and continuous improvement. We are also involved in the building management and other services essential to the operation of the plant such as utilities and the waste water treatment plant.

My team consists of an interdisciplinary group of professionals, with a high-level background. As manager, my role is to coordinate activities by fostering collaboration, removing obstacles, and encouraging constructive dialogues in a partnership environment while sharing SUANFARMA’s vision for strategic development.

  1. What is reliability engineering and how important is it within the company?

Reliability is the probability that an item can perform a required function under given conditions for a given time interval. In other words, it is the probability that the system will operate without experiencing failures. An airplane flight is the classic example to illustrate this concept. When an airplane takes off, the main goal is to complete the flight safely, i.e., without major failure.

As in the aviation industry, in the pharmaceutical industry reliability and availability also take on a role of fundamental importance in ensuring safety and high-quality standards. Our processes are managed by a distributed control system (DCS) to which thousands of instruments and actuators are connected, and whose reliability must always be guaranteed. To achieve this objective, reliability-centric maintenance is applied. A structured methodology for the revision and improvement of maintenance plans, where the goal is to increase plant safety, improve production performance, significantly reduce maintenance costs and ensure a longer asset life.

  1. What excites you most about your job?

My team and I are involved in designing new production lines, developing continuous improvement and energy efficiency projects, energy production and distribution, analysing and solving many maintenance problems, engaging in improving the safety of our workers and processes, introducing new technologies in process automation and machine learning, working with hundreds of suppliers. I believe it is this challenging environment, and the collaboration with my colleagues, that drives my enthusiasm and passion for my work.

I’ll tell you another reason, using a short story that happened to me a few weeks ago when I went to my dentist for some pain I was having. After examining me briefly, he said, “one tablet three times a day after meals for a week, and the pain will go away”. 5 minutes later I was in a pharmacy with a prescription in my hand, buying an antibiotic with amoxicillin and clavulanic acid. Knowing that most likely the clavulanic acid contained in those tablets was produced by SUANFARMA Italy makes me proud. I understand how important our work is and how it can affect the lives of patients, especially in this case, where I was the patient.

  1. Tell us about the most recent challenge your team has faced?

One of the most recent challenges that my team, and the whole world has faced, is related to COVID-19. A year ago, Italy went into lock down for the first time. Since then, our priorities have been rearranged to better protect the health of our collaborators, and to keep our production cycles running, in order to guarantee the availability of active ingredients to our customers (patients). It has been both a medical and psychological challenge, which has highlighted the responsibility, sense of belonging and quality of all our employees. But even if, fortunately, the issues related to COVID-19 appear to be contained, we continue to face many other challenges as we strive to increasingly improve the sustainability of the production of active pharmaceutical ingredients in SUANFARMA Italy.

  1. Three adjectives to describe SUANFARMA Italy

Innovative, Courageous, Resilient

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