Service - A bird’s eye view of optimization

The importance of services relating to the production machinery used is steadily increasing. The main drivers of this development are rising quality standards for products and processes, as well as continuing cost pressures. Process and optimization know-how are therefore major competitive advantages. The partner companies of Excellence United know the complex interrelationships of production lines and support companies with value-adding services. These include, for example, performance-enhancing consulting services and systematic spare parts management.

Service involves much more than simply maintaining an operation. In keeping with this principle, the members of Excellence United work together to offer perfectly matched solutions with comprehensive services. These include cross-company performance consulting and system planning, as well as validation services, contract manufacturing, and process and product development. As a result, Excellence United facilitates production that satisfies all the guidelines with the highest possible quality.

Focusing on the entire process
Performance optimization demonstrates the success of this cross-company collaboration especially clearly: “If we find we can’t make any more progress in correcting one aspect of the tableting process, we contact the other Excellence United partners that contribute to the process as a whole. In tableting, for example, this can mean that granulation is modified so that the product flows better,” explains Britta von Selchow, Head of Training & Consulting at Fette Compacting. Performance consulting uses numerous measures of this kind to increase tableting efficiency and quality. It is often possible to increase output, for example, by adjusting the tablet press to more precisely match the product. It is often also possible to reduce cleaning and setup times – an important step in view of the trends toward more frequent product changes and increasingly small batches. After carrying out an appropriate analysis and deploying an automatic cleaning system at one drug manufacturer, it was possible to save six hours of work. With a total of 260 cleaning procedures, this resulted in a saving of roughly 1,500 work hours or 270,000 US dollars a year in machine and personnel costs.

Spare parts management as risk Management
Spare parts management offers another example of how services enable customers to tap optimization potentials. It makes it possible to order spare parts on the basis of demand, which is important because stocks of spare parts tie up capital. “We show customers how to move away from stock optimization on the basis of past usage with multiple installations of spare parts in different machines and toward intelligent risk analysis. After all, some spare parts are process-critical and others are not,” explains Hubert Schmid, Head of Spare Parts & Services at Uhlmann. Spare parts management therefore supports manufacturers with information about the frequency of components, reduces stock volumes through needs- and risk-based storage and facilitates an appropriate planning of maintenance strategies. This includes optimized procurement times, as well as meaningful ordering intervals and stock volumes based on the relevant risk situation.

Cooperation within the Excellence United framework gives customers an ideal spare parts stock system and maintenance strategy from a single source – instead of individual solutions from the respective machine manufacturer. If required, Excellence United will carry out a comprehensive failure mode, effects and criticality analysis (FMECA). This makes it possible to determine the demand for spare parts with extreme accuracy and then define an inventory strategy with the aid of a cost-benefit analysis.

The examples of performance consulting and spare parts management demonstrate the contribution that services can make to profitable pharmaceutical production. In addition, Excellence United has many other service offerings.

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