Background & the Client Challenge

The client is a leading global pharmaceutical manufacturer.

In order to support rapid growth on their packaging lines in one of their facilities, 3SIXTY was engaged to review the manufacturing throughput system and identify the process improvements required to increase annual output of the lines.

The initial focus of the project was to review and improve throughput in the high-speed suite and implement a system which could be transferred to other packaging lines.

What We Did

A number of our Lean/Six Sigma Master Black Belts were involved in this engagement and utilised the DMAIC methodology (Define/Measure/Analyse/Improve/Control).

The MEASURE phase entailed detailed process mapping and value stream mapping of the high-speed suite, reviewing all set-up, process inputs, process outputs and inventory movement across the suite. From this, 3SIXTY build a detailed understanding of the lines.

The ANALYSE phase entailed reviewing all data sources and interrogating calculations used to measure equipment set-up and downtime. A detailed understanding of downtime codes was drawn up which allowed us to prioritise issues and resolve the most critical first.

The IMPROVE phase involved workshopping solutions with a number of on-site teams (Engineering, Manufacturing & Quality) to develop a consensus-based approach to problem solving.

The CONTROL phase entailed working with the GxP team to ensure that all procedures were documented, all personnel re-trained and a refined process for “end-to-end” production was implemented.

A key element in our work with clients is in ensuring that results “stick”. Sustainability of the initiative was ensured through Lean Green Belt training of resources as well as implementation of Statistical Process Control (SPC) and standard work practices within the facility


  • Reduction in equipment downtime from 16% to 4%

  • Improved throughput (line output) 8%. This was the equivalent of giving the client a “13th month” in terms of annual production

  • Standard work practices set up

  • Leader Standard Work

  • Statistical Process Control for Leading Indicators

  • Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Training

  • Visual Management techniques (SQDCP boards)

Brian O’Brien

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