Top Plant 2012: Pfizer Global Supply


Many manufacturers, including leaders in the pharmaceutical industry, seek ways to make more product in less time with less effort. “We analyze batch processes to look for opportunities to move them along faster, or even for technology advances that we could implement to enable us to run more efficiently and effectively,” Cassiday said. “The way we apply Lean principles is a little different, depending on where you are. On the batch side of the plant, the demand exceeds our current capacity. We are challenged to try to unlock capacity in our equipment. To do that, we need to identify where the waste is, and that’s what Lean is all about.”

Experienced operators analyze batch processes to look for opportunities to move them along faster. Courtesy: Pfizer Global SupplyIdentifying waste requires breaking down the processes step by step. “The key for us is to work with the operators who run the processes,” said Cassiday, “and present them with the data in a way that makes it easy to see where an issue might be, and to ask them for their input for what we could do to run more effectively. This has been a major objective in that part of our plant for the last two years. And we’ve seen tremendous gains in our throughput.”

By implementing efficiency improvements, the Kalamazoo plant was able to free up capacity equivalent to two work centers. “That’s two workstations we don’t have to purchase because we found ways to optimize what we had,” Cassiday said. “It was all because we worked with the people who work with the equipment every day.”

Engaging, empowering employees

The efficiency improvement focus at the Kalamazoo facility entailed “teaching people how to fish.” Cassiday calls it area transformations. “Our operational excellence group facilitated multiweek sessions with the operators to teach them,” said Cassiday. “Instead of us analyzing equipment capabilities and waste, we taught them the basics of continuous improvement. It was all about getting them to do it themselves.

The operators worked through exercises to determine their strengths and discover opportunities for improvement—the results of which typically translate into cost, quality, and supply: the basics of manufacturing. For example, if operators know their yields, they can discover ways to improve them. It’s all about engaging the operators,” Cassiday said.

Ownership and empowerment can go a long way to help foster engagement. Employee engagement was one of the ideas behind the energy dashboard. “They see waste every day,” said Taylor. “We did an awareness campaign to make sure the energy dashboard tool touched as many people as possible, especially at the operator level, because they’re the ones with the energy savings ideas.”

Maintaining equipment, processes

Robotic sorting is another automated task performed in the Pfizer plant in Kalamazoo. Courtesy: Pfizer Global SupplyThe maintenance strategy at the Kalamazoo plant site is based on reliability principles and standard workflow processes. The program includes streamlined preventive and predictive maintenance activities, process safety management/mechanical integrity processes, lubrication, operator care, PM optimization, and root cause failure analysis processes.

A team of highly skilled journeyman-level technicians and certified specialty technicians support these programs and overall plant maintenance. The individual maintenance programs focus on equipment uptime, optimizing equipment PM and predictive maintenance requirements, implementing and expanding operator care procedures, and using reliability tools to analyze equipment deficiencies.

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
A cool solution: Collaboration, chemistry leads to foundry coat product development; See the 2015 Product of the Year Finalists
Raising the standard: What's new with NFPA 70E; A global view of manufacturing; Maintenance data; Fit bearings properly
Sister act: Building on their father's legacy, a new generation moves Bales Metal Surface Solutions forward; Meet the 2015 Engineering Leaders Under 40
Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security
Upgrading secondary control systems; Keeping enclosures conditioned; Diagnostics increase equipment uptime; Mechatronics simplifies machine design
Designing positive-energy buildings; Ensuring power quality; Complying with NFPA 110; Minimizing arc flash hazards
Building high availability into industrial computers; Of key metrics and myth busting; The truth about five common VFD myths

Annual Salary Survey

After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.

The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.

Read more: 2014 Salary Survey: Confidence rises amid the challenges

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.