Operations improvement to reverse stock decline

In pharma manufacturing, demand cannot outstrip supply. So, when the production site of a European pharma company noticed safety stocks declining at an alarming rate, they knew they had to act fast.

3 Minutes Life Sciences 12/14/2023


Halt the perfect storm

The production site of a European pharmaceutical company was in a fix. Safety stocks of drugs were declining faster than production could manufacture them. Urgent measures were required to avoid undersupply.  

A combination of outdated equipment, unstable processes, and talent losses had created a perfect storm: 

  • Inspection production efficiency had dropped below 10%
  • Losses exceeded a staggering 90%
  • Production was constantly halted by machine breakdowns
  • An ever-growing mountain of pending process deviations was burning teams out and rapidly consuming safety stock

We knew our team had to move fast.


Build on Lean, deliver real-time information and upskill the team

We implemented a focused Production Efficiency Program (PEP) based on Lean principles to:

  • Market supply by solving operational constraints
  • Reducing process deviations
  • Deliver training in root-cause elimination and agile performance management.

And to deliver real-time production efficiency information, we equipped critical machines with IoT tracking devices.


A doubling of efficiency in 12 months was just the start

Throughput increased by >30% without spending capital. Stock-outs and backlog were cleared to zero. On top of that, process deviations were reduced by 25%, and lead times of 140 days were cut in half. To build on this momentum key personnel were trained to sustain the production efficiency program and help guide the site one step closer to a Pharma Manufacturing Excellence rating.

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