Case Study

A new dynamic for the IoT Pilot project PLUSS

Prevent Losses Using Smart Sensors (PLUSS)

Initial situation

Within the science and technology company Merck the pilot project PLUSS (Prevent Losses Using Smart Sensors), a data model for predictive maintenance was created using intelligent sensors installed in a pharmaceutical product packaging system. The aim was to achieve savings through reduced downtime in packaging systems.

To achieve this goal, a few test scenarios were initially developed, and then these were pushed through operationally. Using cloud collected data, the customer’s data scientists analysed the test scenarios to check their suitability for use in a predictive maintenance model.

As well as weather data such as temperature, humidity and air pressure, the analysis also included data on dust concentration and system speed. The pilot phase soon yielded promising results for the development of a predictive maintenance model.

To get the project underway, the company asked Leadvise Reply to provide the concept and to introduce suitable project management methods.

The solution

Leadvise Reply’s experts restructured the project and organised an efficient setup. At the same time, the development of a sustainable, GMP-compliant IoT infrastructure was initiated, which consisted of the relevant sensors, IoT gateways and a backend cloud infrastructure.

The specialists introduced structured project management activities as well as effective project organisation. They established transparency with regard to project activities and results of experiments, and achieved a close coordination with engineers, data scientists and IT staff. They were also able to significantly speed up the project.

In the context of the strict production requirements of the pharmaceutical industry, such as small sensors and good mounting opportunities in particular, it was especially important to press ahead with the targeted development of a sustainable IoT infrastructure.

The project team also communicated with external providers of IoT infrastructures among others. The topics covered included the procurement of sensors and other infrastructure components, such as the IoT gateway, or the infrastructure’s communication with the OPC UA protocol and the IO-Link communication system.

The advantages

Thanks to its specialist advice on the pharmaceutical industry and its related structures, and its strength in project organisation, Leadvise Reply is able to guarantee targeted project workflows and obtain reliable project results. At the same time, a new dynamic can also be introduced into existing project activities.

Merck has been able to gain important experience in terms of the “Internet of Things” thanks to the project. In addition, a sustainable IoT infrastructure was launched in collaboration with Leadvise Reply. The know-how that has been accumulated can be built on for future projects.

About Merck


Merck, a leading science and technology company, operates across healthcare, life science and performance materials. Around 57,000 employees work to make a positive difference to millions of people’s lives every day by creating more joyful and sustainable ways to live. From advancing gene editing technologies and discovering unique ways to treat the most challenging diseases to enabling the intelligence of devices – the company is everywhere. In 2019, Merck generated sales of € 16.2 billion in 66 countries.

Leadvise Reply specialises in management consulting for the challenges of digitalisation with a focus on industries such as telecommunications, chemicals, pharmaceuticals or the banking and stock exchange environment. Leadvise Reply supports companies in digitalisation, organisation and implementation projects using advanced technologies such as Robotic Process Automation, Intelligent Process Automation, Process Mining or Cognitive Assistants. The focus is on end-to-end process transformation, including strategy, business model development and roll-out management.