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As a result of increasing pressure from communities and government agencies to cut costs, the pharma industry is also embracing Lean methodology (although pace is slower than desired). As brand-drugs loose patent protection, price becomes a major competitive factor. Moreover, globalization has created a need for mission-critical treatments. Further, regulations for quality and safety are also increasing. To address these challenges, pharma companies have begun applying Lean methodology to improve operational excellence.
Lean implementation is a powerful strategy to reduce costs, improve processes and increase profitability. The goal of Lean implementation is to eliminate waste and increase process efficiency, which results in reducing costs. Among the benefits of implementing Lean methods are reduced inventories and increased cash flow.
However, these benefits are limited if stock-outs occur. Hence, to get best returns from Lean implementation, Lean must be embedded into various facets of the business such as- Lean management, Lean manufacturing, Lean services, Lean innovation, Lean supply chain etc.
The pharmaceutical industry has a complex set of requirements that must be met in order to meet regulatory standards. Streamlining operations and improving collaboration between departments are essential for pharma organizations to achieve operational excellence.
The increased demands on pharmaceutical companies require them to monitor offsets, production processes, and evaluate their current status. This is where strategic outsourcing can help; especially partially outsourcing operations and reducing non-core activities.
The pharma industry is constantly faced with challenges such as patent expiration, counterfeiting, and the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic. Embracing the latest trends in operational excellence can help pharmaceutical companies address these challenges and remain one step ahead of their competition. While balancing cost-cutting with product quality is exhausting, a modern approach to manufacturing and work processes can help.
By implementing business process management (BPM), automation, process mining and optimization, the pharma organizations can reduce their operating costs and ensure quality and consistency of output.
Operational Excellence programs are based on the effective leadership and day-to-day actions of every employee. Increasing employee engagement is a keyway to drive improved individual and team performance.
This culture can also fuel your OpEx programs, as it can lead to increased productivity and better customer satisfaction. To create a culture of responsiveness, efficiency, and engagement, there are best practices that can help your organization improve its operations.
A recent article in Food Engineering magazine explained the benefits of improving employee engagement and the role it plays in achieving operational excellence. Read more here, to learn about how you can improve workforce engagement to increase your company's operational performance.
Effective Root Cause Analysis
The first step in implementing an effective root cause analysis in the pharma industry is to identify the problem and the underlying cause(s). Conventional wisdom often encourages short-cuts in this process. While it is tempting to avoid root cause analysis completely, it is essential to carry out this step only if the problem is obvious and backed-up with accurate data.
To make root cause analysis in the pharma industry an effective tool, it should be based on the QbD framework. Contact us to know more about how to correctly perform root cause analysis at your workplace.
Using Control charts, PAT (process analytical technique) and continuous manufacturing processes to analyze nonconformities can improve process productivity. Furthermore, increased process understanding will drive process improvements. Using PAT, root cause analysis and CAPA, pharmaceutical manufacturing companies can have a better understanding of their processes and thus can make broader, more effective improvements.
I have designed and developed pharmaceutical manufacturing procedures and best work practices for over two decades and surely say that the most cost-effective and efficient pharma operations happen by implementing a strategic combination of Lean, Kaizen, Hoshin, Poka Yoke, Design Thinking along with root cause analysis. And, it all begins by making the right decision...
How fast a decision is made and how good is that decision determines how far the business will thrive.
Tip: Note that, process improvement/ control must not be limited to technical processes. In fact in the pharma sector, it is the in-efficient business processes that eat away the profit pie.
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