Key tools or services
Thermo Fisher's Cramlington site is involved in the sterile manufacture of cell culture media - the food that helps cells grow and multiply - and bio-process containers (BPCs), which are disposable plastic systems that hold cell culture media and solutions for the bio-pharma industry.
The labour-intensive nature of the work affected profitability in the past, and led to poor employee morale. However, in early 2006, staff business-wide were trained in a new manufacturing methodology called single piece flow. This system was designed in conjunction with consultants from picme® as well as with help and funding from regional development agency, One NorthEast.
In order to implement this new manufacturing methodology, a training programme for ten key members of staff at the Cramlington site was introduced. Training was designed that employed a dummy manufacturing unit where trays were built using the current methods. Following on from this, improved, lean ways of working were gradually introduced.
The only way to achieve our vision was to change the way we approached BPC manufacture.
First we had to review the way we had been doing things, and then we needed to make changes based upon the principles of lean manufacturing, taking into consideration that our customers want quality and value for money combined with a first class service. We are dedicated to continuous improvement and have an embedded learning culture on site. Our staff are key to our future, and our investment in our people leads to a winning situation for everyone
Julie Dixon, HR and Facility Manager - Thermo Fisher Scientific
The single-flow approach reduces wasted time, motion, movement and scrap. Since the employees were introduced to it, sales have grown by 70 per cent, and BPC production has been able to meet the increased demands of the market. Encouragingly, the site is now making a significant profit for the first time.
The success of the introduction of the single piece flow manufacturing methodology was instrumental in the team that worked on the project receiving a prestigious National Training Award at a ceremony held in Newcastle.
The project illustrated what can be achieved when lean methods of working are combined with a great team ethic. The results achieved by the project were such that in August 2007, myself and Andrew Henderson - a supervisor on the project - visited the Logan, USA facility of Thermo Fisher in order to implement the same manufacturing methodology. Once again, the results were outstanding with a 30% increase in production levels
Jason Barclay, Manufacturing Improvement Engineer - picme®
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