May's issue of Pharmaceutical Manufacturing will feature its first survey of pharmaceutical operational excellence programs. It was a lengthy survey and netted only 114 responses, but it still shows overall trends, some of which may surprise you. Results suggest that:
- pharma companies could do more to survey their customers on key issues, to develop better metrics; they could collaborate more with suppliers
- quite a few companies may need to improve the way they handle nuts-and-bolts plant floor "visuality," through 5S and programs like it, to eliminate waste (particularly unnecessary "motion")
- Improving product quality is a key goal for most drug companies, and they mention SPC and process capability analysis as key tools, yet most are not using either methodology.
- most companies aren't yet connecting employee compensation to on-the-job performance improvements they've made.
- drug companies need to do a better job of assessing new technologies for manufacturing.