Implementing lean to life sciences in 2023
Partnering to succeed
In 2023, partnerships and collaborations across industries are predicted to intensify. Traditionally, the pharmaceutical and life sciences sectors have been predominantly siloed, as functions such as research and development, and manufacturing and sales would usually operate in isolation from one another. This has become unsustainable in the face of complex and rapidly evolving challenges.
Companies are now trying to address this by forming strategic alliances to access and share data between them, allowing them to better understand customers’ needs and develop bespoke treatments. This approach allows them to pool their resources and knowledge in order to tackle complex problems and develop innovative solutions.
The need to implement Lean methodology within the pharmaceutical Industry has never been stronger. Historically, the industry has favoured a push system, producing more items than requested by the end client to exceed the demand, but eventually this leads to elongated inventories and operational inefficiencies. Pharmaceutical companies are more and more looking to adapt Lean manufacturing principles to reduce time and capital investment.
Crucially, adapting Lean to drug development has the potential to improve efficiency and streamline the FDA regulatory approval process, thereby decreasing the amount of outsourced work. However, making fundamental changes to how a pharmaceutical company operates isn’t easy. The implementation of an effective Lean methodology requires a change of culture from within the organisation and buy-in from stakeholders at all levels, from the shop floor to senior management.
A more flexible approach
Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) is a move away from more traditional delivery methods where successful delivery depends on tasks, which are handed over from one fixed group of individuals to another, and each task must be fully complete before the next can begin.
Integrated Project Delivery offers a more flexible approach, away from gated tasks and rigid sets of deliverables. A Lean culture is grounded in four principles: respect for people, customer value, continuous improvement and a commitment to optimising the whole project, not just parts. These values then drive Lean behaviours across the team.
Constant, sustainable improvement
Continuous training and repeated kaizen events are needed to reinforce Lean, and for it to become engrained within a company in a sustainable fashion. Operational excellence requires strategies for effective implementation and sustainability of Lean initiatives. Through Lean Six Sigma, businesses can ensure they are using their time and resources in the most efficient way possible to generate the most profit.
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