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Transforming Shop Floor Operations With IoT

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The Power of Integrated Connectivity Solutions in Life Sciences Manufacturing

In life sciences manufacturing, transitioning to a digitized shop floor means more than just adapting to a handful of new technologies; it signifies a fundamental shift in how we approach operational efficiency and regulatory compliance, enabled by a new generation of integrated, IoT-enabled, and connected manufacturing solutions. This shift is crucial for a future in which automation is center stage and precision, data integrity, and operational agility are paramount.

Embracing digital technologies and, more broadly, digital transformation in manufacturing (Industry 4.0), not only improves regulatory compliance, but it also enhances the safety, quality, and performance of products.1 While the pace and comprehensiveness of adoption varies widely across companies, industry leaders are typically farther along than others, underscoring the importance of implementing these innovations sooner, rather than later.2

Here, we explore how IoT and connected manufacturing solutions provide numerous advantages for manufacturers, with the strategic partnership between MasterControl and Elemental Machines as a prime example. By implementing future-proof connectivity solutions that integrate assets of varying types, makes/models, and even eras, IoT technology is helping to set new standards for integrated operations, driving significant ROI and compliance benefits for life sciences manufacturing companies.

The Imperative for Digital Transformation in Life Sciences Manufacturing

Addressing the Challenges of Manual Processes

The life sciences sector frequently grapples with the inefficiencies of traditional manual processes, which are prone to data entry errors, slow validation processes, and heightened compliance risks— not good for business. These challenges underscore the urgent need for digital transformation in manufacturing and systems that enhance data integrity and minimize human error, a transition supported by robust case studies and expert insights.2,3

Enhancing Data Integrity and Regulatory Compliance

Data integrity is critical to adhere with the requirements set by regulatory bodies such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).4 The risks of noncompliance not only threaten operational viability but also patient safety, cementing the necessity for seamless integrations and the nearly error-free operations that digital solutions can enable.

Let’s Be Clear

Digital transformation in manufacturing is not just an upgrade; it’s a critical overhaul necessary to meet the rigorous data standards set by GxP regulations. This transition is vital for ensuring traceability, reducing the risk of data corruption, and maintaining the integrity required in highly regulated environments. Manual processes are notoriously error-prone, leading to data entry mistakes, misplaced documents, and delays in retrieving necessary information — all of which pose significant compliance risks.

Digitizing legacy systems transforms these vulnerabilities into strengths: Every piece of data is tracked, time-stamped, and easily retrievable, enhancing traceability across the board. This traceability is crucial for audit trails and quick access to data during inspections.

Industry-Wide Shift Toward Advanced Connectivity Solutions

The Role of MES Software in Digital Transformation

Integrating modern manufacturing execution systems (MES) like MasterControl’s Manufacturing Excellence System (Mx) is crucial in the digital transformation of manufacturing landscapes. Mx exemplifies how MES software platforms can extend beyond traditional capabilities by leveraging IoT technologies to enhance connectivity across the shop floor. This integration facilitates seamless data flow and enhanced process control, in addition to incorporating legacy equipment into digital networks.

By employing next-generation IoT sensors and integrated connectivity solutions, modern MES software solutions can offer both real-time data analysis and predictive maintenance. This enables a highly preferred proactive position — a position of insight and power — rather than one of “mopping up” the aftermath of asset decline or failure.

The capabilities provided through connectivity also allow manufacturers to monitor and adjust workflows dynamically and in real time, increasing productivity and ensuring that every piece of equipment, regardless of its age, contributes effectively to the manufacturing process.5

Advancements in IoT and Its Impact on the Shop Floor

IoT technology is enabling connected manufacturing in large part because of the ubiquity of wireless communication via Wi-Fi, cellular, and many other low-energy protocols. Elemental Machines is continuously expanding capabilities by harnessing the massive potential of IoT to integrate various devices and systems. This enables the real-time monitoring and control that are essential in dynamic manufacturing environments, providing the infrastructure to optimize production workflows, as well as enhancing equipment maintenance and energy management through innovations like the AI-Predicted Health Score. This class of solutions provides real ROI to help industry leaders continuously expand their capacity for innovation.

Technical Insights Into Core Benefits of Integration

Direct Data Transfer and Error Reduction

Integrating IoT devices with shop floor management software allows for precise direct data capture from laboratory and manufacturing equipment. This seamless integration minimizes manual data entry errors and significantly reduces the risk of compliance breaches. Automated data validation processes verify the accuracy and integrity of the captured data, further ensuring compliance with regulatory standards. This critical step helps maintain high standards of data quality while further enhancing the reliability of the entire manufacturing process.6

Achieving Operational Efficiency Through Automation

Automated data flows, facilitated by IoT integration, streamline operations by minimizing manual intervention (sensing a theme?). Automation reduces redundant manual checks, thereby optimizing resource allocation and shortening production cycle times. This approach demonstrates a measurable increase in production throughput and resource utilization. As far back as 2014, manufacturers reported that IoT-driven connected manufacturing solutions delivered a 28.5% increase in revenue from the previous year.7

Enhancing Quality and Compliance With Real-Time Monitoring

Real-time monitoring through integrated IoT and MES software — as well as other systems — ensures that connected manufacturing operations consistently adhere to all relevant quality and compliance standards. Automated alerts and system-driven responses facilitate immediate corrective actions for deviations, maintaining continuous process integrity and compliance.

The University of California San Fransisco reported streamlined tracking and reporting of deviations, adverse events, and corrective actions/preventive actions (CAPAs) by 20%-30%.8 We’ve personally implemented and witnessed the impact of these systems on product quality and the frequency of quality deviations, underscoring the critical role of IoT technology in manufacturing for sustaining high compliance levels — now and in the future.

Predicting the Future: AI and Advanced Analytics on the Shop Floor

Leveraging Predictive Maintenance and AI-Driven Analytics

The integration of predictive maintenance and AI-driven analytics in manufacturing floor operations is a game-changing shift. These technologies not only anticipate equipment failures and process deviations but also enable preemptive actions that reduce downtime and enhance product quality.

For example, predictive maintenance can reduce breakdowns by up to 70% and lower maintenance costs by 25%, significantly lowering the risk of unexpected failures and unnecessary expenditures.9

Understanding the Role of Data Science and AI in Connected Manufacturing

Understanding the complex interplay between data collection, analysis, and application is crucial for modern manufacturing. The Data Science Hierarchy of Needs provides a structured approach to leveraging data, from basic collection to advanced predictive analytics.10

Connectivity solutions implemented within this framework can markedly enhance decision-making and strategic planning on the shop floor. You can’t improve what you don’t measure. By effectively utilizing data science technologies, manufacturers can expect significantly increased production efficiency and a substantial reduction in error rates, directly impacting their compliance, operational excellence, and their bottom lines. As companies are scrambling to implement AI strategies into their operations, it’s critical to remember that any AI strategy depends on gathering a high density of high-quality data, which is where IoT becomes a crucial enabler. Due to the dependency on data, the success of any AI strategy is directly linked to the volume and quality of data from IoT.


The adoption of advanced IoT connectivity and data-driven solutions like shop floor management software is transforming the life sciences manufacturing landscape and setting the stage for future advancements that we cannot yet fully envision. These technologies provide numerous, powerful benefits, such as enhancing operational efficiency, ensuring data integrity, and maintaining compliance with rigorous industry standards. By capitalizing on IoT and AI synergy, manufacturers can achieve real-time monitoring, predictive maintenance, and automated data validation, improving product quality while reducing costly downtime and potentially devastating losses.

The digitized shop floor also enables manufacturers to optimize resource allocation and streamline workflows. This supports the life sciences industry in meeting the essential requirements of precision and reliability, ultimately leading to better patient outcomes and accelerated innovation. As the life sciences sector continues to evolve, leveraging these advanced hardware and software solutions will be essential for staying competitive and driving future growth.

Integrating and collecting data today sets the foundation for a more agile and resilient manufacturing operation tomorrow. Start exploring the benefits of these advanced solutions with MasterControl and Elemental Machines to secure a competitive advantage and pave the way for future innovations in operational efficiency and compliance.

Want to see how digitally integrating your manufacturing can reduce costs? Try our free ROI calculator.


1What are Industry 4.0, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and 4IR?” McKinsey & Company,, August 17, 2022.

23 Ways Digital Technology Is Improving Medical Device Risk Management,”. Becky Blankenship, GxP Lifeline, June 8, 2023.

3Human-Centric Digitization in Manufacturing: Optimize, Empower, and Engage Workers,” David Butcher, GxP Lifeline, July 18, 2023.

4Data Integrity and Compliance With Drug CGMP: Questions and answers,” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, December 2018.

5The State of Digital Maturity in Pharma and Medtech Manufacturing,” MasterControl,, 2023.

6How IoT Is Used on the Production Floor,” Charlie Wood, PhD,, May 24, 2022.

7How the Internet of Things is revolutionizing manufacturing,” John Greenough, Business Insider, October 12, 2016.

85 Ways Paper-Based Processes Hinder Financial Success,” Dale Thompson, GxP Lifeline, November 9, 2021.

9Predictive maintenance: Taking pro-active measures based on advanced data analytics to predict and avoid machine failure,” Deloitte Analytics Institute,, 2017.

10Elevating Connectivity in Life Sciences: A Game Changer in R&D and Manufacturing,” Elemental Machines,, April 30, 2024.

Sridhar Iyengar
A serial entrepreneur in IoT, medical devices, and wearables, Sridhar Iyengar was a founder of Misfit, makers of elegant wearable products acquired by Fossil in 2015. Prior to Misfit, he founded AgaMatrix based on his Ph.D. research, a blood glucose monitoring company that made the world’s first iPhone-connected medical device. Sridhar holds more than 50 U.S. and international patents and received his Ph.D. from Cambridge University as a Marshall Scholar. 

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