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Three healthcare packaging management strategies

Involve engineering and production in projects, embrace training, and provide early product development packaging suppprt.

John White, engineering project manager at Smith & Nephew Orthopedics, says, "In some companies, there's a perception that engineers are far removed from the actual happenings on the shop floor. At Smith & Nephew, our engineers are actively involved in projects with the production department. We have learned a great deal from each other. I think this jump in technical and practical expertise has greatly enhanced our packaging operations."

Nancy St. Laurent, senior engineer of sterile facilities and packaging systems at Lockwood Greene, believes, "More training is always necessary in packaging operations, even though it can be challenging. As old equipment is replaced, upgrades to machine controls are inevitable. With bar codes and RFID, more and more vision [systems are] being applied, requiring extensive training."

Dana Guazzo is the founder and sole member of RxPax, a pharmaceutical package development consulting firm. She says, "The majority of pharmaceutical and medical device companies I am familiar with are attempting to do more work, do it faster, and with fewer staff.

"Management may not even perceive the need for early product development packaging support. This can lead to improper material or component choices and incomplete package development efforts. As a result, multiple problems typically begin during development and haunt the firm all the way through to manufacturing. For example, a poor package can lead to product degradation during stability studies, a sporadic loss of package integrity during larger-scale manufacturing operations, delays in product approvals, and even product recalls due to a less-than-robust package."

--By Jim Butschli, Editor
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