Why Advanced Scheduling is crucial for Pharmaceutical companies

The Pharmaceutical industry faces challenges of improving/sustaining on-time-deliveries, reduce inventory while still being able to respond to shorter lead times, manage unexpected events like break downs, rush orders, changing customer priorities etc.

Do you have production planning and scheduling tools to manage these challenges? The answers we often hear is that “We have an ERP”. But does it help you address these challenges. Not Sure!

Let’s take the case of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) manufacturing.


Do you have solutions to manage these common scheduling situations?

  • QC Equipment Constraint - The scheduling of any process (say Reaction) which requires online QC inspection will be constrained by the availability of QC equipment (if QC equipment is not available the process will not be scheduled until the QC equipment is available). The operation can be scheduled at a time where both primary resource as well as QC resource is available. Parallel scheduling is essential to address such situations
  • Products with multiple routing versions - Very often there are products which can be produced in multiple plants with different routing versions which may have different batch size. Does your system allow demand to be split across multiple version of routing with specific quantity for each BOM version?
  • Lot Size varying based on equipment capacity – Splitting operations into multiple lots (less than the parent batch size)
  • Managing variable batch size - Batch size for some products vary between ranges. MRP will create planned process batches within the range to satisfy net demand. How will we manage creating batch of fixed quantity while the input is a batch size in between a range?
  • Material Availability - Raw material availability will constrain the schedule, meaning start of planned production start is constrained by when the material is available. If the Process Order is linked to stock, there won’t be any constrain to delay the schedule. However, this is not applicable when a Process Order is linked to one or many Purchase Orders. How will the schedule start?
  • Holding Time Constraint - Some operations have restricted holding time defined in routing as the material can expire if it is held for more than that time. The scheduling of batches will ensure the holding time is not violated between the two processes
  • Minimize cross contamination risks – correct sequence of job will help avoid such risks

Quantitative Benefits of scheduling system

Research shows using an APS tool lets you accurately model your manufacturing process. And offers the following benefits

  • 25% increase in plant productivity
  • 80% reduction in scheduling labour overhead
  • 80% Improvement in delivery performance
  • Up to 25% reduction in raw material and WIP
  • Comprehensive view of operations in real time leading to fast decision making

Keen to know more on the solution that can provide these benefits click here

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