Pharmaceutical Industry: Demands OEE

The ever-changing Pharmaceutical Industry demands improved productivity with the assistance of OEE


The pharmaceutical industry is plagued by many changing uncertainties, including increasing healthcare costs, expiring patents, rising cost pressures and the growth in the production of generics. Pharmaceutical companies are beginning to realize that, in order to continue a sustainable business structure, they need to embrace innovations in manufacturing processes and engineering expertise.

 Dr Jérôme Freissmuth holds a doctorate in technical science and has worked on organizational projects for the pharmaceutical machinery industry for several years. In an article in the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Magazine, he explains that OEE is an important part of optimizing manufacturing processes in this industry:

“OEE is equally important when it comes to the development and market introduction of new pharmaceuticals. So far, the production of small batches continues to be an expensive venture. But with the optimization of machines in terms of flexibility, automation, easy changeover and scale-up, the situation has changed significantly — and will continue to do so in the future. These improvements enable manufacturers to develop new drugs with shorter time-to-market metrics, while complying with strict or emerging regulations,” (Freissmuth, 2014)

It is clear then that he suggests that the companies who will lead the way forward will be those that invest in machinery and services along the pharmaceutical value chain.

Adcock Ingram is a pharmaceutical manufacturer who has recognised the importance of the OEE metric. Adcock Ingram had been using HaldanMES on a trial basis for a short period, and has decided to continue with a full implementation of HaldanMES, for manual data collection, in Clayville manufacturing plant in Gauteng.

Adcock Ingram manufactures and distributes a wide range of medicines and healthcare products. In Clayville, they manufacture high volume liquids, low volume liquids, effervescents and powders.

HaldanMES’s OEE module will put the focus on key areas, such as machine availability, machine performance, and product quality. HaldanMES provides the framework with which they can achieve greater productivity and profitability by identifying losses in capacity.

Joel Gray, President of Service Industries LLC (Rolling Meadows, IL), which is a manufacturer of high-speed bottle-filling equipment, tooling, and change parts, says:

“One thing that we try to focus on in regard to OEE is to reduce changeover time. If a pharmaceutical company can reduce its setup time from one run to another, it is going to be much more efficient and increase machine availability.” (cited in Gaines 2007)

Laverne Louis, a Project Manager and Industrial Engineer at Haldan Consulting, highlights a key area of OEE:

“With a good data analysis tool, like HaldanMES’s OEE module, areas that need attention can easily be identified and pinpointed. For example, instead of waiting for a problem to happen before taking action, you are equipped with the right information to fix a potential issue and effectively prevent a big downtime from occurring.”


-Published May 2014-

References for further reading:
- Freissmuth, J. 13 February 2013. Facing the Pharmaceutical Future. Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Magazine. 
- Gaines, D. 9 November 2007. Filling Overall Equipment Effectiveness Demands. Pharmaceutical & Medical Packaging News (Vol 15, No 11).