Creating a Lean Culture in Pharma


How our Lean Journey got us to a 3 Week Lead Time

“We want smaller batches, more often” is a statement that you would generally not hear in a pharmaceutical manufacturing facility. Intuitively, this would require more batch records, more set up, more cleaning, more material movement, more testing and more quality review, so why on earth would anyone want to do this? This is where Pharma and Lean often differ in their approach to production.

At Contract Pharmaceuticals Limited, we have been working to change this paradigm. We have created a Lean culture within our organization and are now moving towards smaller batches more often with lead times of 3-4 weeks rather than the industry standard of 3-4 months.

Our Lean journey started approximately 10 years ago with organizational changes and several kaizen projects across the organization. Five years ago, we created a Director of Continuous Improvement role, reporting directly to the CEO, to support the next phase of our Lean journey. With this full-time position in place we were able to increase our focus on Lean company wide and develop a culture that will allow us to become a Lean leader within the pharmaceutical industry.

All CPL employees have completed a two-day Lean overview training program which helped create the foundation for our most important project to date. We developed a process to reduce the lead time for certain products from 3 months to 3 weeks. The team leading this was called the “Lean Leads” and their mantra was “never short dated and never out of stock.” This webinar will focus on our Lean journey, how lean principles can be applied within a pharmaceutical manufacturing operation, and how we using our lean knowledge to reduce our lead times.

Presented by

Darren Vanderburgh,

Director, Continuous Improvement

Darren Vanderburgh has 30 years of experience in operations and has been practicing or teaching Lean principles for almost 25 years. Darren has a Black Belt Masters Certificate in Lean Six-Sigma from the Executive Education Centre at the Schulich School of Business. After 20 years in the Office Furniture industry Darren has spent the past 10 years working in the Pharmaceutical industry at Contract Pharmaceuticals Limited. After 5 years of operational leadership positions he has spent the past 5 years as the Director of Continuous Improvement where he spends his time working across the organization on business improvement projects and Lean education.

Erika DeRango,

VP, Operations

Erika has been with CPL for more than 20 years. She joined the company as a GMP specialist in quality assurance where she led validation and compliance prior to overseeing site compliance as director of quality systems. Erika has been instrumental in modernizing our facility with state-of-the-art manufacturing vessels and new tube- and bottle-filling lines. She also led a significant internal transition centered on reshaping our manufacturing philosophy to focus on shortening timelines and reducing waste. Erika holds a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from the University of Toronto and attended the Executive Leadership Program at Queens University.