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Upjohn Finds Proper Prescription for Improved Local Communications.

The Upjohn Company, headquartered in Kalamazoo, Michigan, has heightened productivity on its research and development projects through the use of a local communications network. Allowing for the rapid exchange of information among various personnel in a number of the company's departments, the network is also credited with time savings up to 25 percent, as it ties in outlying facilities for instant communications.

Upjohn is a $2-billion-a-year corporation specializing in pharmaceutical, agricultural, chemical and health-care products and services. It does business in 200 countries and has 22,000 employees, 6,000 of whom work in some 200 company buildings scattered throughout the Kalamazoo area.

The company's Pharmaceutical Research & Development Division is housed in a number of interconnected buildings, forming a large main research complex, as well as in four separate buildings, all in downtown Kalamazoo.

Roger Schweitzer, manager of office management services for the research complex, is responsible for the information processing," he said, "we become a very important link in a long chain of events starting from discovry of a new drug in a research lab to its final submission to the FDA--the Food and Drug Administration. Information Passes Many People

"There are a numbe of testing and evaluation steps each new drug must go through," he explained. "Information is processed through many departments. A Xerox Ethernet network was brought in to improve the flow of information regarding a very complex chain of events necessary to bring a drug to market. It's a system that allows us all to work on the same document, and add to it, as it goes along the chain toward ultimate presentation to the FDA."

The Ethernet communications network makes it possible for a variety of information processing devices to communicate with each other at a high rate of speed through a coaxial cable. Attached to the information processing department's network are two Xerox 8010 Star information systems, two Xerox 860 information processing systems, two Xerox laser printers and a 29-megabyte communications server, which provides the communications capabilities for the network. The department also uses an 860 system in a stand-alone telecommunications mode.

The Pharmaceutical Research & Development Division has Twenty-two 8010s and approximately fifty 860s, many of which are already attached to a three-and-one-half-kilometer cable running throughout the research complex and directly linked to Schweitzer's operations. Plans call for all these workstations to be hookd onto the network. R&D Involves Mainframe Data

"Probably 75 percent of the information that goes into the research and development of a new drug would involve a pool of data stored in our mainframe located in the Research Computer Center here in the complex," Schweitzer said. "There are a number of personal computers and terminals in the technical and professional areas that are used to access the mainframe for input and revision of documents.

"Then the information is converted on one of the researchers' 860s to a Xerox format and sent over the network to our Information Processing Center. We plan to put personal computers on the network for additional rapid and direct communications," he said.

"Once the information is converted," Schweitzer continued, "it can go on the network, where anyone involved with the development of a specific drug can have access to the data for further input and revision. We can also access the mainframes with our 860s through a direct coaxial-cable link to pull out data the information processing department needs to prepare a report or manuscript."

The four full-time workstation operators in Schweitzer's department are trained in proper medical and chemical terminology. The operators set up the research data in the required format needed for a report or manuscript, and make any corrections necessary. The information to be input comes into the department from the mainframes, from cassettes or disks, or in typed or handwritten copy form.

Schweitzer said, "The information received by the department will be input by us as an 860 or 8010 document, depending on what the researcher asks for. Ultimately, it will be converted to an 8010 document because, when it finally reaches our Drug Regulatory Affairs Unit, we need all the graphics and text capabilities of the 8010 to produce a presentation document for the FDA." Workstation Produces Graphics

Schweitzer added, "The 8010 is heavily used for the graphics and multiple print fonts that it offes. We use it frequently to make overhead transparencies. We can design complex tableS, make vertical and horizontal lines and mix complex type styles needed for forms design. Forms designed by the 8010 and stored in our file server can be called up electronically by our researchers from their wokstations. These researchers place their information where needed on the form, and have the document printed out on a laser printer.

"The laser printer," he continued, "is an important part of the system, in that we can send different type styles, fonts, graphics and scientific characters over the network to the printer, and have them rapidly printed on a single page, which was virtually impossible to do before. The best we could do before was to mix two or three type styles, adn then we'd have to use the "cut-and-paste" method to enter graphics.

The information processing department's network is also tied in with Upcom--the corporate telecommunications network--throgh a telephone line link by which the research center can send and receive telex messages and cables to and from locations around the world.

In a separate direct-distance-dialing mode, the department can send and receive system documents between its own 860s and those located worldwide. Network Provides Time Savings

"Our network," Schweitzer said, "has probably saved my operation from 20 to 25 percent in time. As for the research area, its personnel have probably tripled their productivity by using the network system."

Schweitzer said his operations started out as a word processing center. "With the advent of the Ethernet, laser printer and 8010 Star, giving us the ability to input graphics, mix them with text and electronically transmit resulting documents over a network, we now have moved up to true information processiong."

Schweitzer also is involved in workstation ergonomics--evaluating workstation furniture, seating, accessories and visual impact. His studies have led to changes that contribute to his operators' comfort and efficiency and, thereby, productivity, he said.

On the research center's communications network, between 90 and 95 percent of the documents and electronic mail are transmitted from one research office to another or to the information processing department. The remaining transmissions are mostly between the center and three Ethernet networks in Upjohn offices in the Portage area, about seven miles south of downtown Kalamazoo. All four of the networks are linked together by internetwork routing to speed transmissions among stations and to share communications services. PR Shares Information

The public relations department, in Upjohn's main administration building in Portage, shares information with the research center, with the network in the office management services department serving the main administration building, and with the Portage West four-building complex an eight of a mile away. This complex houses Information Management Services, the Division of Medical Affairs, the Office Automation group, Office Services Executive group, international administration operations, and the accounting and finance groups.

The public relations department uses nine 8010 Stars and fourteen 860s. From its network, the department has direc-dial access to the PR News Wire for instant nationwide distribution of its news releases. It also uses this access capability to retrieve data base information on the activities of government agencies and businesses affecting Upjohn. Courier service between the department and its public relation office in Brussels, Belgium has been eliminated by sending fully formated digitized material between the two offices over telephone lines at rates that are six times faster than telex communications.

Dial-up telephone lines are also used to send material between the department's network and an 860 in the company's public relations agency in New York. Anyone on the network can receive messages from any remote 860. The network also has the capability of communicating with non-Xerox equipment, such as portable computers that are carried by some public relations personnel when on field assignments.

Internally, one of the department's 8010s had 3270 emulation, which allows it to access IBM mainframe computers in the Administrative Computer Center and the Research Computer Center. Processor Feeds Typesetter

An 860 is used to transmit copy to a phototypesetter in the company's print shop, where type is set without re-keying the copy. It's estimated that between $5,000 and $10,000 are saved annually by eliminating the re-keying process. The various fonts and graphics capabilities of the 8010 and laser rinter allow the department to rapidly produce camera-ready copy for technical product data sheets, which before cost $1,000 a sheet and took two to three weeks to produce by outside agencies.

James Shamp, public relations assistant, said, "The network system has enabled us to produce--with more quality--more of our work product, which is information. Now, fewer people can do more work. The network has enabled us to have faster turnaround at higher levels of control. It's shrunk our world because of our immediate communications access. And, it's allowed us to communicate faster than we've been able to before."

The office management services (OMS) unit in the main administration building uses its network to provide customers with information processing and word processing, as well as overhead transparencies, graphics and enhanced printing capabilities. Department Does Optical Scanning

The department also uses the network and a Kurzweil Data Entry Machine (KDEM) to provide a corporate-wide service--the rapid optical scanning of material to be added to a data base or filed on a floppy disk. The date-entry machine converts characters into digital signals for computer use.

Pat Nyland, manager of the building's OMS department, said, "Conventional optical-charater-recognition machines are programmed to read a certain type style so the're limited to the number of documents they can read. After the KDEM has read a sample of a document, it recognizes the type style and stores the recognition set in its memory. Throughout the scanning process, the machine refers back to that recognition set to recognize all the characters in that particular document.

"the purpose of the KDEM," she explained, "is to give people an alternative to manually inputting information. For the most part, what we're doing is helping people establish large data bases by scanning the information large data bases by scanning the informtion on the machine and outputting it to whatever mainframe computer they may have." Scanners Links with Network

Through the network, the KDEM can communicate with any 860,8010 or computer linked to Ethernet. Through its own communications capabilities and telephone line connections, the machine can communicate individually with virtually any computerized device throughout the corporate structure, including remote subsidiaries and offices.

Said Nyland: "The machine scans about a page a minute, and has the potential to scan about 250,000 characters per hour. That's 25 times faster than an operator can type. So there's a great deal of savings with the data-entry unit."

For the Upjohn Company, speedy and accurate communication of the dynamic data on which the company's success depends is essential. Its present systems not only keep pace with an equally dynamic communication technology, but allow the company to save money and increase productivity at the same time.
COPYRIGHT 1984 Nelson Publishing
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1984 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Communications News
Date:Aug 1, 1984
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