One of the most competitive lines of work deals with pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical industries. Stress is a common factor to all healthcare organizations, but as providers, for the pharmaceutical and/or biopharmaceutical businesses, this setback is much more evident. This negative aspect is provoked by the constant pressure to innovate and improve quality, pressure to increase patient and average consumer’s satisfaction AND safety, without losing an inch in effectiveness, and the pressure to increase process efficiency and reduce costs, while keeping profitability at an acceptable level. All of these are difficult tasks but together they are really hard to achieve.
Such enormous pressure has lead these industries to embrace a purpose-oriented approach, which in the long run, has made them optimize their manufacturing processes, and therefore their competitiveness. With the assistance of leading life science consulting firms, businesses in the pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical sector have become acquainted with more efficient ways of doing things, applying concepts such as “lean”, “lean manufacturing”, and “lean analysis” to both the development and production of new products as well as to their commercialization. The main advantage is the optimization of the resources, starting with an important reduction in costs and waste (where all unnecessary materials or actions are deleted) and an increase in productivity. Here is a list of the main factors to be considered in lean manufacturing, analysis, and optimization:
- Customer Need: It is vital to define the purpose of a product, the value it is providing, how the customer (patient, purchaser, or even stakeholder) is using it, the parts of the product being used, and so on. Anything not serving the customer’s purpose is taken as waste, and therefore, deleted.
- Product: You need to define the types of goods, services and qualitative features the customer needs. Anything else is considered as wasted output, therefore deleted.
- Process: All activities and work effort which are not necessary to produce the product are considered as wasted, so they need to be discarded.
- Resources: Definition of materials, knowledge, information, people and skills which are necessary to carry out the processes that produce the product the customer wants or needs. If not connected to this, anything else is considered as wasted input.
The leaders in this field are still the life science consultancy firms, which are providing the appropriate assistance to all healthcare organizations so as to improve their competitiveness. Lean analysis of all production factors and lean manufacturing in general not only promote total optimization of the resources, they also modify workers’ behavior and managers’ approach to the pharmaceutical business. Producing more (quantity) and better (quality) for less (resources) seems to be the trend that is setting the pace in the pharmaceutical market nowadays. On the other hand, value is added to the finished product, and there is a clear improvement in the quality of life of the consumer, as he has an easier access to high quality healthcare products at a lower price. A difficult process at the beginning, but in the long run, a win-win situation for both, companies and consumers.