International pharmaceutical services organisation wanted to deploy continuous improvement to enhance customer experience

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The company

We worked with two divisions of this US group, one of which produces products including compression and plastic injection moulding for syringe plungers, infusion stoppers, buttons, seats and gaskets for metered dose inhalers and diagnostic devices. The other facility builds moulds and tooling used by other parts of the group to manufacture components for pharmaceutical administration systems and medical devices.

Their needs

The client already had a strong background in lean thinking and wanted to develop key staff to Six Sigma Green Belt certified level from within their process engineering, design engineering and lean facilitator functions to drive out variation from already lean processes.

How we helped

Senior leadership wanted to ensure that all function heads really understood the six sigma methodology, in depth. We therefore tailored training materials for both Lean Sigma project sponsors to a far greater depth than is normally requested and ran sponsor workshops.

Management then used a carefully structured project, sponsor and candidate selection and matching process to ensure that projects, sponsors and belt candidates were properly aligned to the group’s and the 2 divisions’ 3 year and 1 year objectives. Green belt training, tailored to minimise lean tools which were already well embedded was delivered, along with extensive on site and remote project coaching to suit the fast moving operational environment of the client. Formal certifications of completed projects were provided for 100% of the trained green belts following successful project delivery.  Ultra low defect level requirements demanded further work in the supply chain, and complex FMEA workshops were held successfully to dispel myths, identify root cause and lower already very low defect rates to the levels demanded by management and the company’s customers


A number of projects were completed promptly, providing a significant improvement in customer experience and an effective return on investment including:

  • Improved process capability for button height and wall thickness

  • Reduced average number of split tubes per batch substantially

  • Reduced the incidence of oversized seat inner diameter

  • Reduced variation in batch yields

  • Reduced movement of punch holes in die plates

  • Increased process capability of silicone application to infusion stoppers

  • Reduced surface finish scrap rates

  • Reduced incidence of rogue mouldings in machine clean-down inspections


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