I was listening to a friend of mine in the pharmaceutical industry griping about not making sales budget AGAIN!!!!, and lamenting the fact that the factory has a backlog of orders that can’t be released for sale for various reasons. This has resulted in a series of buyouts in order to bolster the sales numbers.
Further, The supply of pharmaceuticals to public hospitals and also to the retail pharmacies remains a hot topic, and this hit home to me when I went in to collect chronic medicine this past week only to be told that there was no stock (don’t call us, we’ll call you…..), so I decided to sit down and write a series of articles on an approach using simple controls that can be implemented to improve the internal Supply Chain and operations for manufacturers.
The planning and manufacturing phase of the Supply Chain is very important to overall business performance and there are a couple of simple rules that should never be broken.
- Never promise what you can’t deliver. You can’t sell product that is not in your Finished goods warehouse.
- This month’s sales should have been released for sale last month or even better, the month before.
- Factory scheduling should be signed off by all parties at the beginning of a production cycle (Normally 1 month).
- Maintenance scheduling should be incorporated into the production schedules.
- Each step in the workflow must be continually monitored to make sure that cycle times are not exceeded.
- Any deviations need to be addressed immediately, so that the learning can be implemented and so that focus is not removed from achieving the schedule.
- Continuous improvement dictates that everything you do is measured over time (Behaviour over time BOT) so that you can ensure that changes improve the business and don’t hinder it.
- Practice makes perfect – The more you repeat something, the better you get at it.
Each of the “Rules” need to be understood, so I’ll use them as guidelines for each article and will discuss each of them in some detail.