LSS Benefits Pharmaceutical & Biotech Industry
The processes used by P&B companies may be quite different from that of other types of manufacturing and services industries, but that has not dented the applicability of ‘Lean’ concepts – because ‘Lean’ makes way for reduced costs and improved quality, which have universal applicability, especially in today’s highly competitive globalized world.
For better understanding, let us discuss some of the critical areas where ‘Lean’ concepts and methodologies can be successfully implemented in pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.
Drug Research and Development (R&D)
Research and development is the backbone of every successful P&B company, and since R&D costs form a major chunk of the overall costs of such companies, it makes sense to deploy Lean concepts in R&D. By using time-tested Lean concepts and statistically sound methods, P&B companies can easily achieve the desired objectives such as identifying processes that are critical to the drug discovery and development, assessing the applicability of new processes and streamlining existing processes.
It is necessary for P&B companies to achieve these objectives because it is only then that they will be able to make way for increased capacity utilization, increased productivity, reduced drug failures, and the best possible use of existing staff, facilities and resources.
Increased cycle times can easily hamper the successful launch of new drugs and other clinical products, technologies and applications, because in today’s highly competitive industry, getting the advantage of being first makes all the difference between success and failure. If a P&B company is infested with increased cycle times, it will not be able to make the first moves and chances are also high that competitors will come in to take its place by offering something very similar.
This is why it is necessary to use Lean concepts and methodologies such as ‘value stream mapping’, and ‘process modeling’ that not only help in reducing cycle times, but also help in reducing operational costs and improving operational efficiencies.
The defect or failure rate is probably the highest in P&B companies because drug discovery and development is still a gray science, wherein even small variations can have a huge impact on the final outcome. If standardized tools, techniques, processes are not used, it will become quite difficult for P&B companies to develop the desired drug or other clinical products.
‘Lean’ concepts such as DFSS (Design for Six Sigma) can help because they make use of time-tested scientific and statistical tools that automatically reduce the probability of human as well as process errors.
For better results, P&B companies should start with small ‘Lean’ projects that can be implemented with minimum costs and resources. They should give the go ahead for organization wide ‘Lean’ deployments only when the initial project starts to deliver the desired results. Better still, they should wait a little longer, preferably four to six months, before giving the final go ahead. This way they will be able to ensure the applicability of the selected ‘Lean’ project.
LSS Benefits Packaging Industry
However, associating Lean with just the big boys is certainly not the right thing to do – because the reality is that Lean is quite versatile and can be implemented by any business organization, irrespective of its size.
For proof, you just need to have a look at some of the relatively smaller businesses such as a packaging firm that might have implemented Lean Six Sigma.
For better understanding, we’ll focus specifically on this particular industry and find out exactly how it is benefiting from Lean Six Sigma.
Packaging Materials: A Major Contributor to Overall Costs
In the packaging industry, packaging materials are like raw materials – and as such, contribute significantly to the overall packaging costs. However, that should not be a cause for concern because if a packaging firm were able to make even a small percentage change, it would result in a significant reduction in overall costs.
Additionally, since the packaging company will only be required to concentrate on a single cost component, the probability of achieving the desired results will increase dramatically. These are the very reasons why the packaging industry is nowadays becoming increasingly dependent on Lean Six Sigma. Lean helps because it streamlines the existing packaging processes, allowing businesses to make the best possible use of existing manpower.
As processes become more and more streamlined over time, businesses will no longer be required to hire additional manpower, something that automatically results in huge cost savings.
Depending on existing market demand, businesses can also launch retrenchment schemes once the desired level of efficiency has been achieved using Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification Online.
Maintaining Quality: The Primary Client Requirement
Clients of packaging firms expect and demand the best possible quality in the least possible costs and this is why most packaging firms have implemented Lean inside their organization. Lean helps because it is designed for the very same purpose (i.e. reducing costs without affecting the quality of the final outcome).
This becomes a possibility because Lean stresses conducting detailed analysis of all the components or say raw materials that might contribute towards the making of the final product. The analysis is done to find which components affect the quality the most and others that only play a minor role. This helps because it allows packaging firms to allocate the available funds mostly to the major quality determinants and spend relatively less on peripheral components and inputs that may not be contributing much to the overall quality of the final outcome.
This eventually results in significant cost savings, especially when a packaging firm takes adequate care to ensure that the Lean analysis is done in the prescribed manner. Inability to do so can adversely affect quality and undermine the very significance of Lean principles.
Lean is a complex system obviously because it aims to achieve that perfect balance of quality and low-cost operations. To get the best results and to avoid Lean disasters, it is recommended that only the experienced Black Belts be given the responsibility of implementing Lean projects, especially in the highly competitive packaging industry.