What is involved in managing the Utilities & WWTP for a production plant? Lorenzo Pedrotti, Head of Utilities and WWTP SUANFARMA Italia tells us in this interview.
What does a Utilities & WWTP Manager do?
The Utilities & WWTP group is in charge of many facilities that are essential for the production of active ingredients within SUANFARMA Italia. In fact, we are responsible for the operation of the plants for the production and distribution of demineralized water, cooling water, process air and instrument air, steam, nitrogen, glycol, trigeneration plants and last but not least the wastewater treatment plant.
My working group is made up of very competent and trained professionals, able to deal independently with the complexity of the plants we manage. It is part of my role to stimulate them to give the best of themselves, trying to bring out the different strengths of each person in order to create an inclusive, calm and relaxed working group. Due to the type of plants we supervise, we are in strong contact with other departments and consequently I try to coordinate activities in the best way, trying to combine plant efficiency, operating costs and people safety.
What complexities accompany this role within a pharmaceutical company?
I don’t think the discriminating factor is the pharmaceutical sector, but rather the complexity and variety of plants that make up the department. I’ve been in this role for almost a year now and I haven’t yet been able to delve into all the plants that make up Utilities. I believe that the greatest difficulty lies in this, in being able to multitask, jumping from one subject to another quickly, keeping all the plants efficient without neglecting anything. So teamwork becomes indispensable.
What are the indispensable skills in your job?
It seems a bit obvious to say this, but I believe that you must always be hungry for improvement and innovation. The team in which I work is a very close-knit and collaborative one, with a desire to experiment and improve the processes we deal with. The relationship between departments is changing, there is mutual interest in the needs of others, a desire to know why things happen, and this is leading to significant opportunities for improvement and collaboration.
Being a department that is very exposed to the external environment, it is also very important to interface correctly with the control bodies and to be prepared for the constantly evolving regulations and requirements.
What steps has SUANFARMA Italia taken in recent years to improve resource management and reduce the environmental impact of its production?
SUANFARMA Italia has always been committed to reducing its impact on the local territory, just think of the biogas production plant that allows us to obtain electricity from the purification of wastewater. Moreover, about 2 years ago, the plant was equipped with a trigeneration plant that allows us to produce the electricity we need and to extract steam and cold water to integrate the needs of the plants. Thanks to this new plant, we were able to reduce the plant’s water needs by one third. Significant improvements have also been made to the production facilities, adopting solutions that help reduce water and electricity consumption. The installation of the new dryer for sewage sludge has allowed us to reduce the amount of sludge to be disposed of, with a consequent reduction in the number of vehicles used to transport it and a reduction in the resulting pollution. The current major challenge is the expansion of the water treatment plant, with the installation of a new MBR compartment and additional post-treatment that will bring Suanfarma to be at the forefront also in the field of water purification.
What goals has the company set for the future?
Our small production plant aims to be a flagship for pharmaceutical production not only for Trentino but for all of Europe. The construction of new plants is done aiming at their management autonomy in order to reduce the workload on staff.
More and more efforts are being made to improve the integration between work and free time. The concept of hierarchy is disappearing and a dynamic, serene and highly collaborative environment is being built in which each of us participates in the future of this company.
Three words to describe SUANFARMA.
Young, close-knit and innovative