Wednesday, February 1, 2012

What I Learned from a Pharmaceutical Facility in Pennsylvania

This is a continuation of the "What I learned" series. 

Pharmaceuticals manufacturing is a very interesting business. For many years excess maintenance cost and maintenance down time has not been an area of prominent concern for many of these manufactures. But, with the need for additional capacity, the expiration of various block buster patents, and the rise of contract manufacturing their world is changing.
This facility was looking to be ahead of the curve and ensure they were ready for the changing environment. They wanted to be in charge of their destiny and not have it dictated to them.
The site showed me that there are many ways to succeed with reliability implementation and it can be called many different things.
This site used the energy behind the implementation of a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system and more specifically the Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) module as the framework for their reliability improvement efforts. As they implemented modules and sections they improved the processes and data that was required to be able to reach a new level of maintenance efficiency. This sounds like a logical choice but more often than not sites get over whelmed by this level of change all at once. Then the EAM implementation becomes simply a reimplementation of old practices, bad data, and ugly procedures in a shiny new software tool. It is a bit like adding a jet engine to a 1964 AMC Pacer. It sounds cool but it just does not end that well.
This site challenged the past standards and decided the old way was not good enough. They built a clear plan with managed subproject to prevent overloading of the organization.
They realized that the regulatory and product safety administrations were not there to put you out of business. Instead,  they are there to ensure you do what you said you were going to do. This site removed nonvalue added Preventive Maintenance (PM) task and refined procedures that once drove unreliability. They did all of this without increasing risk for the company or the customer. In fact, as they improved reliability with tools like Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM) and Root Cause Analysis (RCA) in the later part of their ERP implementation they were able to provide more stable equipment and process which leads to a more quality product. Thanks to my time with this organization I know that when building a strategy for maintenance improvement it is very important to take a long hard look at the current state of the site, the culture, and the history of major initiatives and then prescribe an improvement plan that is specific to that site and it's culture.  As a consultant or a leader this means you can not always do it the same way you did your last project. You have to be constantly pushing the boundaries, matching the needs and using the culture to help them reach the goals they have set. This may change the title of your maintenance improvement initiative to a lean or Six Sigma project or it may be a part of an EAM or ERP implementation but in the end you use the site’s successful tools and momentum to drive the results that you need.

1 comment:

  1. Coming from the food sector, I can relate to quite a bit of you found there. Evolution of standard practices is the hardest thing I've had to work through with our Maintenance Managers.

    The idea that 'if the way we do business worked yesterday, it will work tomorrow' has been the hardest cultural shift to make.