Toyota is usually credited with developing and articulating the fundamental concepts and methods of lean manufacturing during the 1950s. Since that time, companies in industries apart from the automotive have effectively implemented lean manufacturing-reducing waste, growing production efficiency, improving quality, and achieving more attentive to customer demand. However the pharmaceutical industry has, typically, been dilatory in this way.
Pharmaceutical companies happen to be unwillingly late in adopting and applying lean manufacturing techniques simply because they fear that production solutions from the auto industry can’t be effectively put on the special conditions from the pharmaceutical industry. This fear both is and isn’t justified. And also the difference usually boils lower to using qualified lean manufacturing consultants with industry-specific understanding and experience. Here’s a illustration from another sector that carefully parallels the ultimate segment of drug manufacture.
Within an article entitled “Lean Manufacturing for top-Speed Production” (AutomationWorld.com), Wes Iverson underscored involve using qualified consultants. First, he adduced some startling statistics: 25% of firms that have implemented this manufacturing (or Six Sigma) process report “some progress,” only a slim 2% report anything near to outstanding results-meaning almost 75% fall somewhere within the failure range. This does not need to be the situation, however.
Iverson then continued to own example, attracted from Scott Watson’s, an advisor with E2M, Corporation., presentation in the Pack Expo Vegas 2009, a packaging-industry exhibition and conference. Iverson mentioned in the prefatory abstract that “blindly following precepts is not likely to get results for individuals running high-speed packaging lines, Watson told the crowd. While all the classic tools of the Manufacturing does apply to attain benefits on the high-speed line, the use of Lean concepts should be converted to suit the development atmosphere.” And there’s the take-away for drug companies: that “the use of Lean concepts should be converted to suit the development atmosphere” peculiar to pharmaceutical manufacturing.
Engineers in a juice-bottling company were “advised by Toyota experts to get rid of all the conveyors between machines because classic Lean concepts brand conveyors as excess and unnecessary,” a suggestion whose purpose ended up being to promote “single-piece flow.” This recommendation was good theoretically, however it unsuccessful to take into consideration “the variations between automotive production and packaging, not just in the rate from the line, however in the variations in materials getting used.” The packaging materials utilized in the bottling plant were “highly variable, and therefore frequent stops [were] inevitable… way too frequently to prevent the whole line for every occurrence.”
Which means this manufacturing techniques of “close-coupling” and “single-piece flow” needed to be adapted towards the special conditions of this particular high-speed packaging line. What needed to be added in to the manufacturing mix was an “appropriate quantity of accumulation or buffer to support the inevitable ‘micro-stops,'” but less it amounted down the sink. Using a proven method, including overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) techniques and computer simulation, engineers in the plant could modify and adapt lean techniques to ensure that implementation in their plant was effective.
Iverson summed up by doing this: “Generally, individuals searching to deploy Lean within their plants must recall the variations between their very own operations and individuals of Toyota.” Similarly, qualified lean manufacturing consultants with understanding of and experience of the pharmaceutical industry can often be the make-or-break component inside a effective lean manufacturing implementation for pharmaceutical companies.