3 steps to successful continuous improvement

Written by: Fleming. Team

Rizvan Abbasoy
Director of Pharmaceutical Plant Operations & Executive Board Member
Nobel Ilac A.S, Turkey



1. In which industries can Pharma find inspiration for successful continuous improvement?

If we take a look at publicly available best practices, we will see that industries forced to react to consumer needs in fast way usually lead the way in manufacturing excellence journey, including the continuous improvement program. As an example, Automotive & FMCG are the industries we need to look at in depth for successful CI implementation.


2. What are the main steps a company has to take to achieve continuous improvement?

There are three main areas companies need to focus on in their continuous improvement journey: 1. How to improve their operating systems to eliminate losses; 2. How to change people’s mindset & behavior to build the right culture supporting cultural transformation; 3. How to establish the right management systems to support the delivery of the right KPIs. Some of the critical steps to ensure breakthrough changes in the above-mentioned areas are total employee involvement in the continuous improvement program, running a zero losses mentality program, injecting change agents into the organization, developing standards & a culture of reapplication and establishing a solid tracking systems for results.


3. What are the major challenges a pharma company has to face when implementing cultural transformation?

As a person coming out of Pharma, one of my main focuses was to change people’s mindsets & ways of doing things. And this was the most difficult change for me due to heavy resistance. Some other challenges on the continuous improvement journey might be overly aggressive target setting, failure to embark on the journey with employees who give 100%, failure of the leadership team to talk the same language, inability to keep the team up at a high level of energy for a long time.


4. What are your expectations for 2017?

Industry 4.0 strategies should be one of the areas in which pharma companies invest in human resources and technology upgrades. Obviously, one of the critical preconditions for this is manufacturing sites 3.0 readiness, e.g., level of automation or MES implementation.