Pfizer: Increasing Throughput via Collaboration & Capacity Management

At the Pharma Manufacturing World Asia 2012,  Pfizer’s Director of Operations Management and Operational Excellence, Kim Sandell gave an interesting talk about how Pfizer ensured that their manufacturing operations world wide was made to be as efficient as possible. For any big pharmaceutical firm, the cost of building a brand new manufacturing facility a huge but sometimes necessary undertaking.  Indeed, as Kim underlined, there was a clear goal at the beginning of every project undertaken about the type of operations that they wanted to achieve with every potential new facility and how they were going to go about to achieve that. One of Pfizer’s key overarching philosophy was the idea of “One-batchness”. That is to produce one big batch of a particular product so as to streamline cost.

To carry out this philosophy down stream in the production process, Kim had to manage a wide variety of different groups and he admitted that the different demands that was intrinsic in the different responsibilities of the various departments meant that this was not always an easy task. But with plenty of planning and a lot of negotiations, Pfizer manage to ensure that their plants were following through on their philosophy. The result was that they now enjoy 25% value added time and an overall improvement in their operations by 68%. Overall by ensuring that the whole of their workforce and organisation was able to be cross-functional, they were able to ultimately improve their profit margin

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