...Pfizer, the pharmaceutical manufacturer, highlights both the demands of the new economy and the shortfalls from the labor force.
At Pfizer’s 17 manufacturing sites across the country, a low-level technician once followed a set of scripted steps to mix individual batches of medicine. Those batches would be tested in a lab to ensure each dose would meet the company’s standards.
Today, a technician operates computers that mix and analyze new batches of medicine instantly. The technician who once just needed to follow a recipe now needs to know a little bit about chemistry, biology, data analysis and lab work.
“The technician role has become much more high tech, in that the operators are monitoring the online data and they are manipulating the control systems and making online decisions based on real-time data,” said Kevin Nepveux, Pfizer’s vice president of global manufacturing services. “That requires a different skill set for the operators.”Call me a perennial skeptic, but this sounds like baloney.