7 steps to optimise capacity by transforming downtime into opportunities for continuous improvement

Significant variations in production cycle times of bulk API pharmaceutical manufacturing can exist. These variations are due to unforeseen events that result in downtime or losses to the manufacturing process. Such losses result in failure to achieve the production schedule and missed sales. To be able to convert these inefficiencies to operational capacity a plant manager needs to set in place a systematic process:

1. Have an all-inclusive process in setting and agreeing on a weekly production schedule, where the weekly schedule is only agreed after reviewing and confirming the availability of the four M’s - Man, Machine, Material & Method

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2. Set shift 12hr targets for each process, batch or C&CO, by defining standard work for the process. Make this standard visible and interactive on the factory floor

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3. As the process is executed, record and categorise all variation (downtime events) to the standard. Logging downtime; duration and true root cause, using five Why’s to determine root cause and classify as per four M’s- Man, Machine, Material & Method

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4. End of shift status should align with standard work. If not then logged downtime with account for variation

5. Use the shift handover meeting as an opportunity to review performance at the end of shift. This way it is clear if the shift is above or below the average. Have the shift team correct issues that are within their own control

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6. Allow shift information flow into the tier meeting to help managers and senior leaders make decisions based on real information

7. Set-up a daily morning Gemba for support functions to support manufacturing by reviewing all downtime over the previous 24hrs with a view to the next 24hrs. Assign actions to ensure any daily losses are recovered or minimised

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