Monday's Keynote for Pharma EXPO's conference sessions featured a powerful presentation by Michael James, plant manager; and Kurt Sundgren, senior process engineer, of SAFC, div. of Sigma Aldritch, Lenexa, KS. The plant, which manufactures dry powder media for biologics, has managed to balance flexible manufacturing and a customer-centric focus while going through: plant consolidations, steep growth and the attendant learning curve, challenges to the manufacturing status quo, and evolution of the plant's safety, quality, training and production schemes.
The plant's focus on the customer has involved a complete shift in the type and size of packaging it provides customers, and continually asking "What can we do to help you?" A change in packaging from drums to flexible bags of a particular size saved one customer the equivalent of nearly 80 man-hours for one product.
Another part of SAFC's customer-centric philosophy has involved learning much more about both its raw materials suppliers, and its customers, in terms of the flexibility and needs of each. Plant level strategic planning, both now and in the future, involves packaging solutions, consistency, operational excellence, and materials performance.