Astra Zeneca Featured in Australia's Best - Top Industry Publication Highlights the Australian Company as a Shining Example in the Industry

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Australia-based Astra Zeneca has received a rather large pat on the back in the form of the popular series of magazines, 'Australia's Best'. The company has been included in the July edition of Australia's Best Manufacturing.

The series of publications entitled 'Australia's Best' is difficult to get into without paying for advertising. The publications pride themselves on selecting top companies throughout Australia to be featured in their magazines, and Astra Zeneca have received the privilege of being included.

'Australia's Best Manufacturing was released in July 2008 and has received much praise from industry-professionals. Here is a copy of the editorial that went to press.

AstraZeneca Australia is engaged in the research, development, manufacture, and supply of medicines that make a difference for patients in important areas of healthcare. This is a copy of the exclusive feature that appeared in Australia's Best Manufacturing, July 2008.

As one of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies, AstraZeneca excels in providing healthcare solutions designed to fight diseases in seven major therapeutic areas including cardiovascular, neuroscience, gastrointestinal, infection, oncology, anaesthesia (including pain management) and respiratory products.

The Company's broad product portfolio includes many of the world's leading therapies for treating cancer (Casodex, Arimidex and Faslodex), gastrointestinal disease (Nexium), asthma (Symbicort), hypertension (Atacand), high cholesterol (Crestor), migraine (Zomig), and schrizophrenia (Seroquel).

Locally, AstraZeneca is based in North Ryde, New South Wales, with additional offices in Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and West Australia. AstraZeneca Australia exports pharmaceutical products from its state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities at North Ryde to more than 37 countries around the world, and plays an important role in the global production and supply of pharmaceutical products.

AstraZeneca has for many years now worked on adding value to their customers through effective and efficient processes. To assist in the continuing goal of improvement they are now renewing their focus on the Lean Supply Chain and are employing this way of working in all supply chain activities.
This is a natural expansion of AstraZeneca global processes, which involve an Account Management approach linking all their customers around the world. This has enabled AstraZeneca to work with vendors in improving demand requirements and stabilising this right through the supply chain.

AstraZeneca focus on driving value through close partnerships with key vendors who supply a range of packaging materials, operating supplies, site service, and utilities.

Their purchasing vision is "to obtain the best value for AstraZeneca from all our external expenditure by leveraging and linking our resources to fully meet business needs".

Their key procurement objectives include Building strong strategic partnerships with vendors to maximise value, Measuring performance of vendors against agreed KPIs on a regular basis, Respond effectively to changing business needs, focusing on Service Improvements and Cost Reduction, while driving Process Control and Consistency, Delivering on time cost and value benefits and Executional excellence - delivering the promise.

To this end, the procurement team have developed a consistent way of working with major vendors. Strategic Sourcing is a company-wide, distinct end-to-end process to select the right vendor to partner with. The sourcing process starts with in-depth analysis of what AstraZeneca need to buy and the best in-class vendors in any given market to ensure the right vendor is selected to support their long-term business needs. Prior to engaging with a vendor, a full quality assurance audit of the vendor's processes is undertaken, contractual negotiations are completed, and a Supply Agreement is implemented.

Break out text - AstraZeneca focus on driving value through close partnerships with key vendors who supply a range of packaging materials, operating supplies, site service, and utilities.

To ensure that both the vendor and AstraZeneca have a shared understanding of the supply expectations, a set of key performance indicators are agreed and included in the contract. These key performance indicators are then reviewed quarterly with the vendor. The use of a formal set of metrics and a strategic approach to Supplier Relationship Management drives cost reduction, innovation capture, and leads to significant value being unlocked from major vendor relationships.

The Quarterly Vendor Review process is a cross-functional activity with representation from both AstraZeneca's and the vendor's quality, production and procurement teams. At the beginning of a contract, short and long-term goals are defined and agreed by both the vendor and AstraZeneca. The progress against these goals is discussed and documented at these meetings. Continuous improvement is also an agenda item, with both parties engaging in an open discussion about process improvement, new technologies, and alternative ways of working which help to reduce cost and drive production efficiencies. Through this close collaboration and ongoing discussion many processes are challenged and modified as a result.

Key vendors supplying to AstraZeneca also need to undertake a process of certification. Certification is the process of approving quality control results provided by the vendor in relation to a specific material. This eliminates the need to undertake some or all laboratory tests on receipt of that material at AstraZeneca unless specifically required to meet regional or local Good Manufacturing Processes (GMP) or regulatory requirements.

As the process of certification is relatively complex, a vendor needs to have consistently met specific performance criteria for several successive review periods prior to being certified. These criteria include on-time, in-full delivery, consistent conformance to specification, adherence to delivery timeslots, provision of correct documentation such as delivery dockets and invoices, and provision of certificates of conformance at the time the delivery is made.

In any relationship, both parties need to benefit. Colorpak are a major folding carton manufacturer and have been working with AstraZeneca for more than a decade. They deliver exceptional service using state-of-the-art machinery and a genuine drive to produce world-class packaging solutions. Here's what Colorpak have to say about their relationship with AstraZeneca:

AstraZeneca have always been a terrific company to work with. They are serious about forming meaningful supply partnerships, which has enabled us to invest with confidence in world-class technologies. They expect the highest quality product so that they can successfully supply some of the globe's most demanding markets including Japan.

We have been able to work in a very open and transparent way with people at all levels of the AstraZeneca organisation. By allowing us to do this, we have been able to adapt our products and service model to be a consistent high-quality performer. Our account managers work very closely with staff on the AstraZeneca production lines to optimise our product performance in order to assist AstraZeneca reaching or exceeding their production output targets. AstraZeneca are one of the few sites within their group globally that have this open-style supplier collaboration which no doubt has contributed to their success and growth we have seen in recent years. We are proud to be long-term supply partners to AstraZeneca and look forward to exploring ways to maintain and develop world-class competitive supply solutions together.

AstraZeneca's manufacturing facility in North Ryde was completed in 1999 and a further extension to the facility opened in 2007. Covering an area of 34,000m2, more than 470 employees work within the Manufacturing Division at North Ryde on a 24-hour, three-shift basis. The range of processing at North Ryde includes liquid formulation, aseptic and non-aseptic filling, and finishing / packaging sterile and non-sterile liquids into Respules and Polyamps (utilising Blow-Fill-Seal (BFS) technology), and Polybags. The North Ryde facility also produces a large range of tablet pharmaceuticals that are packed in bottles and blister packs.

AstraZeneca is committed to environmental sustainability and has implemented a number of initiatives around water and energy savings, working to reduce their impact on the environment and deliver improvements to the manufacturing business. This work has been recognised by Sydney Water, with AstraZeneca Australia a finalist in the last two years of the Every Drop Counts water savings program. Future plans are also in place around waste reduction and recycling.

A major project for AstraZeneca in 2008 is the construction of a new warehouse to be located next to the Manufacturing facility. This is due for completion by the end of the year and will utilise the latest technology to meet growing demand for AstraZeneca products.

AstraZeneca's products are available in over 100 countries, and the Company spends over $16 million every working day on the research and development of new medicines to meet patient needs.

AstraZeneca is one of the world's leading research-driven organisations and has a high investment in translating ideas into new medicines, with more than 12,000 researchers dedicated to the discovery and development of innovative new medicines. On a national level, AstraZeneca Australia participates in more than 40 clinical trials across 200 centres around the country and benefits 1.5 million Australians everyday with its wide range of medicines.

The Company employs more than 1,000 people and is committed to being recognised as an 'Employer of Choice', providing their people with a range of benefits and learning and development opportunities. This includes an intensive orientation program, a highly structured performance management system, internal and external training courses, international assignments, and a leadership development program.

AstraZeneca Australia has a proud history of supporting the local community. In 2006, they made donations to 29 charities and foundations including the National Heart Foundation, National Breast Cancer Foundation and the Intensive Care Foundation.

In addition, AstraZeneca has a partnership with Redkite, a children's cancer charity. Since 2005, AstraZeneca's support has assisted Redkite in providing children and their families battling with childhood cancer, with fundamental services, both financial and emotional. In particular, AstraZeneca has supported Redkite's Music Therapy Program.

Astra Zeneca have a wide range of key suppliers including Cleanaway, Millipore, Critical Air Systems, Burgess Print and Packaging and Merck

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CHRIS DUTTON
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