Simulation software is used to conduct more insightful manufacturing analysis; assessing pharmaceutical plant layouts and technology, optimizing production efficiency and increasing return on investment.
Drug and medical device manufacturers seeking growth face a range of challenges, from intense global competition, to increasing pricing pressures and the implementation of new technologies such a continuous manufacturing.
With narrowing profit margins, developing products more efficiently and manufacturing them with greater levels of consistency by improving manufacturing processes is seen a major factor in improving revenues and remaining competitive.
How manufacturers plan and manage facilities, equipment, staffing and raw materials, as well as the range of processes in place, can be very complex and dynamic, particularly as conditions and inputs can change over time.
With so many different levels of interdependency and variability, how can businesses identify where and how to improve complex manufacturing processes?
Many drug and medical device manufacturers are turning to discrete event simulation software like SIMUL8. Simulation provides the ability to experiment with and assess changes to factory processes, without the risk of negative impacts such as reduced supply, poor resource utilization, exceeding budgets, poor inventory management or expired products.
Simulation enables organizations to accurately model and understand the complexities of their manufacturing processes, taking analysis far beyond the restricted capabilities of spreadsheets or other traditional solutions like MRP.
This allows pharmaceutical manufacturers to better anticipate future manufacturing changes and highlight potential opportunities for improvement to meet these changes.
As simulation is highly visual and animated, but also backed by in-depth analysis, it is an ideal solution for demonstrating and communicating the impact of changes to decision makers in manufacturing organizations. The use of simulation in organizations can also encourage teams to think of new and creative ways of tackling process improvement, leading to continuous improvement and efficiency savings.
Wyeth, now part of Pfizer, used SIMUL8 for two different projects, both taking less than a month from start to finish.
Simulation enabled risk-free testing of a redesign of material storage and system management, resulting in savings in excess of $1m.
When designing pharmaceutical and medical device production facilities, there is a huge amount of variation that needs to be considered including different unit operations, as well as resources such as equipment and staffing.
Simulation is a cost-effective tool for manufacturers to test any of these variables when planning new design concepts, in order to guarantee that these will successfully achieve maximum throughput at minimum cost.
A recurring issue for the pharmaceutical and medical device industries is understanding how new manufacturing technologies could impact drug and device production.
For example, new technologies such as continuous manufacturing can enable faster and more efficient production, as well as more reliable products through an uninterrupted process. SIMUL8 can help manufacturers to simulate the implementation of such technology to understand the impact and ensure that manufacturing investment will provide an efficient return.
Removing bottlenecks and constraints is crucial for pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers as these can negatively impact production capacity, contribute to costly delays and supply issues, and reduce overall earnings.
SIMUL8 is a powerful tool for highlighting where bottlenecks will occur in a production design and provides manufacturers with the opportunity to assess how best to eliminate these and manufacture with greater levels of consistency. For example, our software has been used to reduce bottlenecks in a blister pack production line for a large pharmaceutical company in the USA.
Challenged with identifying areas of inefficiency in their cardiac battery manufacturing line, Boston Scientific used SIMUL8 to simulate the production process.
Bottlenecks were quickly identified and from this, various scenarios were tested to improve efficiency resulting in savings of $150,000.
"Using SIMUL8 we could visualize the production line and actually see queues building up in our process. From this we tested various scenarios to improve efficiency resulting in savings of nearly $150,000."
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