38% Increase in Plan Attainment
Productivity People has worked with a New Zealand based pharmaceutical company that manufactures vaccines for both the export and domestic markets. The highly regulated nature of pharmaceutical manufacturing creates a specific challenge of integrating the Production and Quality functions.
The key concern Productivity People was asked to address was that the internal measure of Plan Attainment was sitting below 70%. This low rate was impacting customer service and inventory levels of both Work in Progress and Finished Goods. In addition, there was a significant amount of internal rework. It won’t come as a surprise that these issues were impacting on the morale and engagement of the team.
The release of a batch of vaccine involves much more than the production of the actual vaccine. There are also several quality control checks, each of which has supporting documentation that needs to be realised at the same time. A batch release therefore requires an alignment of several departments including production, the laboratory and quality departments.
A ‘value stream’ approach was taken to create alignment and integration across the various functions involved.
The first step was to understand where the non-value adding activities and waiting time occurred in the process. A Value Stream Mapping process was undertaken for a standard product which highlighted the key bottlenecks.
The next stage was to create awareness of the concept of ‘flow’ and to build a case for change for how the process currently operated.
A process mapping workshop was then employed to identify the core processes undertaken at each of the non-value adding steps, and this was followed by a Structured Problem Solving approach to identify root causes and prioritisation of solutions. The accumulative effect of many Structured Problem Solving sessions was transformative.
One of the key solutions was to improve visibility of where in the process each batch’s paperwork was sitting and therefore what the next step in processing should be. These included:
- Initial manual batch tracking
- Visual tracking of batch files through the quality sign off process
- The development of electronic batch tracking tools
Plan Attainment is now being sustained at above the target of 90%, which is a 38% increase from the initial measure which sat below 70%. The improved performance yields widespread results. In addition to improving business performance there have been significant other benefits gained through the process.
- Leadership integration and planning between the Production and Quality teams is more structured and effective.
- Engagement levels across the Quality and Production teams has increased – people enjoy coming to work.
- Milestone successes are celebrated on an ongoing basis.
- The company has several production sites across the globe. The New Zealand production site is now one of the top performers and are now regularly asked to share their knowledge internationally.