Tefen conducted a study in 2008 & 2009 on 11 life sciences companies, focusing on their Operational Excellence (OpEx) programs and is discussed in this three-part series. This article, the last part of the series, will explore lessons learned and best practices.
Tefen Ltd conducted a study in 2008 & 2009 on 11 life sciences companies, including AstraZeneca, Bayer Schering, GSK Bio, Ipsen, Janssen, Merck Serono, Novartis, Nycomed, Schering Plough, and Wyeth. The research focused on their Operational Excellence (OpEx) programs and is discussed in this three part series. Read part one and part two --->
In part one of the study, “The State of the Industry,” Caldwell, Mathew, and O’Donnell discuss how the life sciences industry is being affected by the decline of blockbuster drugs, competition from generic manufacturers and the East, and the economic crisis. “Operational Excellence Programs in the Industry”, part two of this series, explored the benefits of a lean and six sigma approach, and the necessary management to make the program work.
The conclusion of the series, “Learning from the Industry,” will explore lessons learned and best practices from the 11 companies researched for this article.
Successes and Failures in Operational Excellence
Almost all companies researched have a lot to be proud about:
The Industry’s Advice
With the benefit of hindsight, OpEx leaders tend to give similar advice to others starting on the same journey.
The participants of the study all agree that you can not underestimate the importance of communication. In addition, in order for an OpEx program to succeed, you must pay attention to middle management, and ensure that there is continuous top-down support. Ninety-four percent of the companies found that appointing the right OpEx Leader to drive the program was key. Sixty-five percent of respondents suggest that no specific department should own the program.
The companies studied found that a key to success is to have a process for defining and tracking benefits. These benefits should all be captured via the budgeting process. Seventy-four percent of the people interviewed agreed that by aligning the program to your business needs, and ensuring that the company culture is paramount to the tools, will ensure the success of your program.
The Golden Rules
What is apparent is that all the companies researched view lean and six-sigma as the way business needs to be conducted from now on. An OpEx program is a critical undertaking for any organization which will impact the way the company will do business in the coming years. None of the OpEx programs researched has an end-date; therefore one must conclude that the intent is to move from a program to a way of life. However, many companies experience difficulties in the journey, and this should not be seen as a deterrent, but as a learning opportunity.
Companies in the early stages can benefit from these lessons and correct the mistakes made by others. From Tefen’s research, certain key messages have emerged which have been distilled into the 10 golden rules below. If OpEx programs live by these rules, the chance of success is very high, and the potential rewards are great. The OpEx programs
“Learning from the Industry,” the third part of the Tefen series “Operational Excellence in the Life Sciences, explores the best practices for your organization to start an Operational Excellence program. Using the advice of top life science’s companies, your company can position itself as an industry leader.
By: Pete Caldwell, Suraj Mathew, Liam O’ Donnell