Implementation of Six Sigma in the Pharmaceutical Industry : Pharmaceutical Guidelines

Implementation of Six Sigma in the Pharmaceutical Industry

Implementation of Six Sigma in pharmaceutical can play an important role in improvements of the product quality and productivity. Six Sigma can be implemented in pharmaceuticals in simple steps.
Pharmaceutical companies are facing many challenges in the market where increased competition and rising cost of materials eat into their profit margins. The industry is also very competitive and each player is looking to develop the most effective product in the market. As a result, the players opt for production methods that can allow them to come up with the best quality medications that are powerful in treating different ailments.

Therefore, companies use different strategies to achieve that end. One of the strategies is the implementation of Six Sigma. Six Sigma is a production method involving the identification of factors that result in the production of poor quality products. Not only does the method identify those factors, but also it helps in eradicating them completely. This improves the efficiency and quality of a product. The implementation of the six sigma in the pharmaceutical industry can increase its success.

Six SigmaSix Sigma Process

The six sigma methodology is based on the identification, recognition and definition of the problems faced in the production process. Also, the method involves the characterization, measurement and analysis of data so as to identify weaknesses in the production process.

This optimizes quality control systems in the production process thereby increasing production and innovation while at the same time, reducing cycle times. By implementing the 6 sigma technique, the pharmaceutical industry can improve the plant floor and therefore be able to realize similar success seen in other industries.

Six Sigma has tools that smooth the implementation process by eliminating mistakes that occur during the process. These tools are not only simpler for the employee to grasp but also, play a similar role in quality assurance and risk management.

On the other hand, the six sigma method makes it easier for pharmaceutical companies to develop processes that result in predefined quality at the end of the manufacturing process. The implementation of the six sigma in the pharmaceuticals industry helps in:
  • Preventing rejects
  • Reducing production cycle times
  • Facilitating continuous process improvement
  • Increasing automation

Implementation of Six Sigma

The implementation of the six sigma in pharmaceuticals is done in different ways. First, the companies require new employees to have six sigma certifications. The certificate is proof that the employees have taken the six sigma course that arms them with the requisite knowledge on how to run an efficient production process. Certified employees are more productive at work not only because they reduce wastage but also, work in an efficient manner.

Secondly, pharmaceutical companies have been offering six sigma course within their organizations. This has enabled most of the older employees in these companies to attain the six sigma certifications and therefore improve their performance at work.

Last but not least, the companies have been sending their employees to institutions where they can be trained on the six sigma methodology. Most six sigma courses are offered in four levels: yellow belts, green belts, black belts and champion. The employees with yellow belt certifications are beginners and hence cannot be able to handle independent projects.

Six Sigma techniques have helped pharmaceutical companies to not only debug errors in their manufacturing processes but also, improve the quality of their output. In so doing, they have been able to drive up profit.





Ankur Choudhary is India's first professional pharmaceutical blogger, author and founder of Pharmaceutical Guidelines, a widely-read pharmaceutical blog since 2008. Sign-up for the free email updates for your daily dose of pharmaceutical tips.
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