Recent advances in biology and process engineering have given rise to a number of new techniques ("tools") that will allow greater integration of enzymic and microbial catalysis in multistep industrial organic syntheses. These advances will enable a more systematic exploitation of the unique stereo- and regioselectivity of biological catalysts to carry out difficult, and often unique, chemical transformations such as asymmetric carbon-carbon bond formation and highly selective oxidations. In this mini-review four such tools are outlined, namely: (1) the use of directed-evolution methods, under real process conditions, to yield robust industrial biocatalysts, (2) the use of engineering and cost models for rapid process analysis and specification of development targets, (3) the use of microscale-processing techniques to accelerate data collection on competing biocatalyst and process options, and (4) the use of bioinformatics to aid biocatalyst identification and accelerate directed evolution. In each case we aim to highlight the key developments and define their role in delivering more efficient biocatalytic processes more rapidly. Where appropriate, areas requiring further research are also identified.