Applying Lean Six Sigma methodology to a pharmaceutical manufacturing facility: A case study
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Byrne, Brian, McDermott, Olivia, & Noonan, John. (2021). Applying Lean Six Sigma Methodology to a Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Facility: A Case Study. Processes, 9(3), 550. doi:10.3390/pr9030550
This research examines a case study on the implementation of an effective approach to advanced Lean Six Sigma problem-solving within a pharmaceutical manufacturing site that manufactures acetaminophen (paracetamol containing pain relief) tablets. Though this study was completed in a single manufacturing company, the implementation of this study delivers important applications and results that can be deployed in other such manufacturing companies. The manufacturing site faced backlogs in customer orders due to increased demand. Increased demand is due to brand popularity and recognition, product efficacy and a COVID 19 pandemic that intensified the demand for pain relief tablets in an already very busy site. With increased demand, to ensure timely deliveries, customer satisfaction, and minimize delays; sources of site productivity losses and wastes needed to be analyzed and reduced or eliminated. Manufacturing Packaging line downtime was identified as one area of concern. The goal of the research was to introduce a problem-solving technique to reduce downtime within a manufacturing site without affecting the production re-quired to fulfill customer demand while increasing product quality. The research utilized an integrated LSS methodology that identifies, stratifies, and effectively eliminates non-value adding (waste) activities, by following a 7-step customized problem-solving methodology which resulted in complete elimination of the issue under investigation and savings of just under half a million dollars. The learnings are being deployed and leveraged worldwide across the pharmaceutical organization's parent site and sister sites. The presented results demonstrated that Lean Six Sigma methodology and tools are effective for accurate root causing of problems and enablers of implementation of continuous improvement.
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