How to Make Improvement Programs Work - A true visionary leadership is required to drive the progress of operational excellence programs in biopharmaceutical organizations - BioPharm International

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How to Make Improvement Programs Work
A true visionary leadership is required to drive the progress of operational excellence programs in biopharmaceutical organizations


BioPharm International
Volume 20, Issue 11

The Roadblocks Are Significant


Figure 2. Most frequent challenges in the implementation of operational excellence programs
Several participants admitted difficulties in making significant and lasting change without a "big bang" approach. Figure 2 shows the breakdown of where the challenges have been in driving the program forward. The lack of resources and middle management resistance top the list.

WHAT IS THE PATH FORWARD?

A few things must change for the majority of the existing programs to make more significant progress. Although the survey shows that senior management buy in has been achieved, it is not clear whether senior managers are demonstrating the required behaviors (and willing to make the difficult decisions) to make the program successful. Their involvement is critical to fill the gaps identified above—middle management commitment and lack of resources. Management needs to continuously articulate the need for change and prioritize the work of the organization by aligning it with the strategy, removing obstacles, and being adamant (although supportive) with their direct reports in following the objectives of the programs.

An additional challenge may come from the focus of the programs themselves. Are the projects being executed in alignment with the priorities and the business goals of the organization? Without specific, quantified objectives, and a clear definition of accountabilities (with consequences), these programs will always have a difficult time garnering the necessary support to make a significant impact. Many companies are discussing how these tools and techniques can apply in R&D, with a focus on driving faster (or more productive) product discovery and development.

At the end of the meeting, many participants expressed that driving operations excellence programs in biopharmaceutical organizations will take truly visionary leadership. The pressures that have led to successful Lean transformations in other industries or traditional pharmaceuticals aren't yet there in biopharmaceutical companies.

Biopharmaceuticals that have been most successful have had leaders who see the winds of change coming quickly and view operations excellence projects as something essential for running a successful organization. But like most things, it comes down to people.

Marc Puich is a partner at Tefen, Ltd., Foster City, CA, 650.357.1120 x117,


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