Merck and Wyeth Teams are Named 2006 Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Teams of the Year

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The Merck Production System (MPS) team in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, and Wyeth’s Excellence in Operations team in Pearl River, N.Y. have both been named Gold Award winners in the 2006 Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Team of the Year competition. Teams from Pfizer and other Wyeth facilities always gain recognition.

The Merck Production System (MPS) team in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, and Wyeth’s Excellence in Operations team in Pearl River, N.Y. have both been named Gold Award winners in the 2006 Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Team of the Year competition.

Although team identities were not disclosed to judges, Wyeth made an unusually strong showing in the competition this year. The company’s Samurai, Fighters and New Generation teams in Aprilia, Italy won the Silver Award, while Wyeth’s Contractor Performance Management team in Collegeville, Pa. was the Bronze Award winner.

Winning this year’s “Catalyst” award for improving the science behind drug manufacturing was the Pfizer CPAT Project core team, which is working to encourage a common and open process analytical technology (PAT) platform. FDA’s PAT Team, headed at the time by Ajaz Hussain, had won this award last year.

“Each of these teams has made a genuine contribution, within a framework of systemic change,” commented Gwendolyn Galsworth, a noted consultant in visuality and an examiner for the Shingo and Baldrige prizes, who won a Shingo Prize this year.

Reflecting changes in business practices and the impact of new technology, two of this year’s winners, Wyeth’s CPM team and Pfizer’s CPAT team are “virtual” teams. Pfizer’s team members are spread across the globe, in the U.K., New Jersey and Singapore. Wyeth’s virtual team is focusing on bringing lean and operational excellence to bear on its contractors, to ensure optimum product quality and efficiency.

Launched last year, the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Team of the Year Award program recognizes the manufacturing teams that have made significant improvements in manufacturing efficiency and waste reduction, and in less tangible areas such as staff empowerment, training and morale. Teams at any pharmaceutical or biopharmaceutical manufacturing facility of any size — located anywhere in the world — are eligible.

The judges singled out Merck’s MPS team in for its role in piloting a lean manufacturing system that is to be rolled out at Merck facilities worldwide. The team engineered major reductions in cycle times, changeover times and inventory, all the while demonstrating uncommon morale, togetherness and sense of purpose.

Wyeth’s Pearl River team was similarly praised for helping to turn around an entire facility, and serving as a model for other facilities. Pearl River’s targeted, Lean-based Excellence in Operations initiatives resulted in significant efficiency gains, while inspiring team members to pull together and go beyond the usual call of duty. Some members devoted four hours a day over the course of 13 weeks, in addition to handling their existing workload, to the Excellence in Operations projects.

Wyeth’s Aprilia teams were recognized for their successful initiatives to reduce waste, set-up and changeover times in their facility—changes that have greatly enhanced morale at the plant and made it a model for the division.

Finally, judges complimented Wyeth’s Collegeville CPM team for the sophisticated metrics that it has been using to rate contract manufacturing partners. Many of those partners are now adopting these same practices to improve the quality and efficiency of their third-party suppliers.

The stories of all award winners can be found in April’s Pharmaceutical Manufacturing, and on PharmaManufacturing.com.

Among the judges for the awards this year were Scott Tarpley, consultant with Light Pharma; James Agalloco, president, Agalloco and Associates; Ivan Lugo, president of INDUNIV; and PAT expert and consultant Emil W. Ciurczak.

All teams honored will receive official Team of the Year crystal trophies. The Gold Awards will be presented at team sites by Pharmaceutical Manufacturing’s editors.

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Paul Thomas
PUTMAN MEDIA
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