n 10 OCTOBER 2015 | PHARMACEUTICAL PROCESSING
nCOVER STORY nPHARMPRO.COM
As head of a department responsible for developing a culture of operational excellence and improving
efficiencies, I spend a great deal of
time leveraging human and manufacturing assets, influencing systems
and technologies, and sharing best
practices. I’ve also worked on ways
to create teams that can tackle larger
issues and some tools for continuous
Here are three tips I’ve learned
along the way that can help others
seeking to make operational excellence
and improving efficiencies a focal point
of their decisions:
• Set up a system of metrics to mea-
sure your program and regularly
report on your progress.
• Develop ways to network to seek out
• Find ways to incentivize good performance.
AND WHY IT IS NEEDED
Operational excellence equates to
operating most efficiently, which in
turn increases a company’s bottom
line. There are huge financial benefits
to such a program because the savings
you make go straight to the bottom line.
To be effective, operational excellence should be integral to the way
a company does business – not an
add-on that gets considered for a time
and then dropped when things get
busy. And while these programs do
concentrate on internal processes,
always keep in mind that their overall
goal should be focused on how activities help customers.
Operational excellence activity
should be results-focused. Our pro-
gram focuses most on three key areas:
• Cost efficiency
• Customer satisfaction
However, there’s no one size fits all
approach, so your results may be fo-
cused on other areas. For companies
that operate globally, be sure activities
fit in with any local commercial strat-
egy and embrace local culture.
Another reason to champion operational excellence is to fight any trend
towards commoditization of your
product. As you make a product in
larger volumes and competitors enter
the market, margins become squeezed.
Constantly looking for efficiency im-
provements is a good way to extend
the lifecycle of products. At the same
time, the best programs will always
have an eye on the most efficient ways
to introduce new products.
Will you recognize operational excellence when you see it? Look for manufacturing facilities with these features:
• Always ready for a customer visit at
• Continually identifying opportunities to improve performance and
implement the best ideas across the
• Safe, clean and bright working environments.
• High levels of customer satisfaction.
• Clear visual management.
• An engaged and well-trained work-force.
• Excellent communications.
• High process yields.
• Reliable equipment.
• External recognition such as ISO certification and customer awards.
#1 – DEVELOP A SYSTEM FOR
One of the most important features
of a program focused on operational
excellence is a way of measuring
success. Deciding what metrics are
most important to your business and
what you will watch is the first step to
achieving excellence. There are many
things to measure, but here are a few
that might make sense for pharmaceu-
• On-time delivery: How you are
maintaining delivery times is a lead-
ing indicator of customer satisfac-
• Return on capital employed percentage: A measurement of how
profitably you are employing capital
Getting to Excellent
Tips for achieving a culture of operational excellence and cost efficiency.
n By Eric Larson, Director of Operational Excellence and Manufacturing Technology,
Morgan Advanced Materials
Director of Operational Excellence and
Morgan Advanced Materials