“…the need to cut operational costs, boost output and increase quality has never been as acute as it is now. But for many in pharma, the journey to Lean is only just now gaining momentum.” --Steven E. Kuehn, Editor-in-Chief of Pharmaceutical Manufacturing, takes a hard look at Lean and Six Sigma in the online publication this month. In Honing the Competitive Edge, his article exploring how far pharma has come in its Lean journey, Steve makes the case that, while late to the game, pharma has the advantage of learning from other’s mistakes.

In his research, Steve asked about the hurdles that we at Kepner-Tregoe see organizations facing in their Lean / Six Sigma journey. Working across the Pharmaceutical Industry to help organizations improve problem solving and compliance and make operational improvements in a regulatory environment, we--all too often--see a lack of focus on people and their role in implementing and sustaining change. Done right, it is not the Lean or Six Sigma gurus who should command all the attention but the rank and file. In addition, it is not uncommon to find that the strategic business objectives of an organization are at odds with Lean programs, resulting in mixed messages about performance and job security.

The role of people within a process, and their role in implementing and sustaining change are critical to Lean/Six Sigma success.

KT has a powerful toolkit for root cause analysis and preventing future problems