When we carry out capacity analysis for a high-throughput diagnostic test production facility, it’s not unusual to find the OEE of the manufacturing equipment is low. This indicates a logistical factor such as the supply chain or shift patterns is limiting the facility capacity, and not a technical issue with a piece of equipment such as a filter drier.
Taking an in-depth look at capacity informs future plans too. By understanding when and where future constraints on capacity will come, we can tell them where and when they will need to invest in order to keep growing and keep getting their product lines to the market. Clients can use our bespoke model of their processes as a long-term planning tool, altering variables in the future – for example if demand changes. And it can feed through into a masterplan.
In a recent capacity analysis we carried out with a client, we identified that the capacity-limiting step was the filling line (with an OEE of 90%). To maintain business continuity while keeping up with a predicted growth in demand, we recommend the client invested in an additional filling line. When identifying possible locations for the additional equipment, we proposed three options (based on the investment required). The client reviewed each option in a series of workshops, with the value of each option quantified, and selected the best design. This in-depth analysis and step-by-step method built up a detailed profile of the facility and win backing from stakeholders to progress the design.
Of course, sometimes demand changes dramatically in ways that can’t be predicted. The Covid-19 pandemic has seen surge increases in demand across the pharmaceutical industry. Surge analysis asks: “If there were to be another dramatic increase in demand, for example because of another pandemic, how would this facility cope?” Nobody can know quite what the future will bring, but without a surge analysis every few years you don’t have a base to work from.
Considering the impact of new technology is another vital step in ensuring pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities are future-ready. As part of our studies, we identify what equipment will be like at a time in the future when our clients need to invest. This involves both examining when current technology will become obsolete and also when technology that is currently at the prototype stage will be proven for full-scale production.
Armed with an understanding of current and future constraints on capacity, the pharmaceutical industry can prepare for the challenges that lie ahead.
For more information, get in touch with:
Heather Williams: [email protected]
Omar Miah: [email protected]