Speeding Changeover, Decreasing Downtime in Pharmaceutical Packaging

Project Type: Reduction of Downtime & Labor

Patheon faced a capacity and downtime issue that stemmed from changeover, cleaning, and operational processes. To diagnose these issues, AMEND completed robust time studies across the shifts, evaluated TAKT times to study line staffing and balance, reviewed current SOPs, and assessed current work being completed on the floor.

After the diagnosis, AMEND advised Patheon to improve the packaging process by implementing a rotating lunch and break schedule, removing chairs from the line, initiating dedicated line crews, implementing new labor allocation for every line, and beginning a “water spider” role for certain lines.


  • Company Overview

        • Industry: Pharmaceutical Manufacturing and Packaging
        • Revenue: 2017: $457 Million, 2019: $1.7 Billion

  • Assessing the Landscape

    • Over 750 Employees
    • 9 Commercial Manufacturing, Formulation and Development Plants
    • 12 different special pharmaceutical capabilities
  •  Identifying Opportunties

    • Inefficient/Wasteful Document Flow
    • Lack of Support Department Coverage
    • Downtime Escalation Process
    • Inefficient Clean and Changeover Process
    • Capping and Sealing Performance
    • Lack of Performance Data Collection
    • Ineffective Training and Development

I. The Process

Identifying Opportunities

AMEND completed time studies across all shifts, evaluated TAKT times to study line staffing and balance, reviewed current SOPs, and assessed jobs being completed. After analysis, our team concluded that downtime could be significantly decreased, resulting in higher throughput.


Implementing Change

After evaluation, the AMEND team communicated the need for change in several key areas to to help Patheon overcome operational inefficiencies. AMEND assisted Patheon in implementing procedural changes. designing process maps and communicating them to Patheon's team.

Measuring Results

AMEND developed PowerBI dashboards for Patheon to track real-time metrics such as changeover and downtime. We allowed this company's leaders to leverage all the data and information their programs and machines were already collecting. We made it visible so Patheon's team could make better decisions and drive action.

II. The Solution

Implemented Better Cleaning Techniques

The AMEND team helped implement a more in-depth and planned cleaning schedule and procedure which resulting in decreased downtime. To do this, AMEND created a “one-pager” for the Patheon's team and for the different zones around the plant.

Provided More Visibility to Production

The AMEND team provided Patheon with better visibility into the operations of the plant. This was done through data collection (time studies, process mapping, and on-site data collection) and the utilization of Business Intelligence.

Rearranged Lunch and Break Schedules to Decrease Downtime

By rearranging the schedule for lunches and breaks allowed the lines to run continuously. Before this implementation, the line had to be shut down for breaks and lunches; this took a considerable amount of time due to pharmaceutical policies and restrictions.

III. Results


Potential Impact from Current State to Future State Map


Electronic Batch


Capper & Cap
Detector Bottlneck


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