Interview with Matteo Ottavian – Head of Manufacturing Operations SUANFARMA Italia

1. What does it mean to be a production manager in a pharmaceutical company? What are your daily challenges?

Heading the Production Department of a pharmaceutical company is a great privilege – knowing that the lives of many patients in the world rely on the active pharmaceutical ingredients manufactured in Rovereto makes me extremely proud of what I do every day. The mission of SUANFARMA Italia is to produce high quality pharmaceuticals at an affordable price. In this regard, the main challenge of the Production Department is that of uniting apparently contrasting interests such as production costs, quality, safety and environmental impact. It is only by continuously improving all these issues simultaneously that we can fulfil the mission of the company.

2. There’s a lot of talk today about automation, how has it affected your role?

As a company, we have always invested in new technologies in order to continuously improve our performance. New technologies are hence seen as a competitive advantage, and we are constantly on the lookout for new ideas to be implemented on-site. For example, this year we will introduce an artificial vision system for the automation of certain steps of one of our production processes.

3. What is the biggest difficulty you have encountered in your job, and how did you solve it?

At some point in our careers we all struggle against the motto “it has always been done in this way”. This is particularly true in manufacturing. This mindset hinders all attempts to improve the way things are done, causing resistance against change. My preferred way to overcome this obstacle can be summed up with the lean concept of continuous improvement. Taking multiple small steps (versus a few big steps) allows everyone to embrace change and accept it.

4. What kind of skills and competences are required in SUANFARMA Italia?

SUANFARMA Italia is constantly investing in automation in order to improve the reliability, reproducibility and traceability of its production processes. All our production processes are managed remotely by a dedicated software which collects real-time data such as temperatures, pressures, flowrates, etc. from the sensors installed in the plants. In the Industry 4.0 age, my role is that of pushing automation to the next level, i.e. contributing to the adoption of artificial intelligence systems that extract valuable information hidden in the data (invisible even to the experts) in order to always make the best possible decision.

5. 3 adjectives to describe SUANFARMA Italy

Passion, agility, team.

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