Background Pharma Plant

This multinational pharmaceutical and OTC medicine business also manufactures a number of leading brand oral care products at one of its sites. The site had installed a number of high-speed tube filling and packing lines that had historically been running at efficiencies in the 38 to 50% OEE range. The site produces in excess of 1000 different product and pack variations for both the UK and international markets. The in-house CI team had been focused very much on reducing headcount in the period immediately prior to the involvement of Lauras, but were beginning to look more closely at the effects of this on packing line efficiencies.

Lauras International was asked to come to the site and assess the opportunity for increasing the OEE of the packing lines to 70%, reviewing the manufacturing, packing and planning operations.


Lauras Consultants attended the site for two weeks and carried out detailed measurement of actual running of the manufacturing area together with each of the high speed packing lines to confirm the current base levels of performance. Historical performance and downtime data was also analyzed in order to verify that Lauras’ observations were backed up by past experience.

It became clear that although the throughput bottleneck at the time of the assessment was the high speed packing lines, once an OEE of 60% had been reached for these the bottleneck would then become the product manufacturing area.

Routine planning and operations meetings were also attended by the Lauras team to assess their efficacy and the effectiveness in analyzing and resolving problems as they occurred.

Sales and volume forecasts were examined and a capacity model was produced to determine the required throughputs from manufacturing, filling and packing. The findings from the assessment and recommendations were communicated to the site senior management team via a formal presentation.


The Lauras team recommended to the client that a program of three BID workshops should be undertaken in order to achieve the required uplift in performance.

Workshop One would focus on improving the OEE of the high speed packing lines until the capacity ceiling in upstream manufacturing operations became the primary cause of downtime or utilization constraints within the packing area.

Workshop Two would involve maximizing the output of the manufacturing area by ensuring the plant was running at its maximum speed and availability by the use of Lauras tools to eliminate the root causes of recurring downtime and speed limiting problems and to reduce mixer cycle times wherever possible.

Workshop Three would examine the planning system and adherence performance with the aim of devising and implementing a series of planning rules designed to ensure that planned downtime was minimized on the high speed packing lines. Additionally, fixed repeating schedules of production would also be investigated during this third workshop.


Workshop One would target and implement actions in order to increase the OEE of the high speed packing lines by at least 20%.

Workshop Two would target and implement actions to achieve and increase of at least 20% in the OEE of the manufacturing area

Workshop Three would have a target to bring the overall OEE of the high speed packing lines to a consistent 70% by goal aligning Planning, Manufacturing and Packing areas, using a common set of rules and disciplines.