1. Project management is often defined as a process of applying managerial tools, knowledge and skills in order to achieve the project goal and to fulfil the requirements set by the customer within a predefined schedule and at a preset cost. The main benefit of the project management is customer satisfaction. It is achieved through the completion of a project in full, on time, in a quality manner and within a predefined budget (Gido, & Clements, 2009). In my career I have often relied on project management in order to define project objectives and to design a plan for project implementation. As pharmaceutical industry is time sensitive, project management is the key for a successful project completion.
My project management skills can be improved in several areas. Communication and information transparency are crucial in a project; therefore communication skills should be constantly improved. Communication includes team building, motivation and negotiation skills, which are important for successful work in a team. Careful planning of responsibilities and processes helps to improve organization skills, which are crucial for project management. Lastly, a good manager should possess strong leadership and influencing skills, therefore constant work on these is necessary for a successful career in project management.
2. Safety stock or buffer stock is an additional inventory, which an organization is keeping in order to offset the negative consequences of demand and lead-time fluctuations. It is usually calculated using the information about average lead-time in the company, daily sales and standard deviations of sales and lead-time. Inability to maintain a sufficient level of safety stock may lead to stock out and a growing-number of back orders, thus causing customer dissatisfaction due to longer waiting times. In pharmaceutical industry safety stock is crucial for maintaining a stable level of production and on-time delivery to the customers. Buffers have to be kept both for raw material and for the final product. The former helps to assure stable manufacturing process, as production of pharmaceuticals often requires precise timing and special production conditions. The latter assures that all customers receive their orders on time. For pharmaceutical industry fast lead-times and on-time delivery are often not only a matter of efficiency and profit but human lives. Therefore, the presence of safety stock to buffer deviations in delivery time or quantity is a crucial aspect for our company.
Although the appropriate safety stock management requires minimizing stock level in order to reduce inventory-related expenditures, in our organization this rule has not always been followed. Taking into consideration close relationships with the client and the critical nature of the products, our company often maintains the stock level above the minimum requirement. Although this approach is not fully efficient from the financial prospective, it is a necessary step in maintain good customer relationships.
3. There are more than 300 various manufacturing processes in the modern industrial environment. In order to find a systematic approach to process classification, a Manufacturing Process Taxonomy, was developed by Brigham Young University. According to the taxonomy, processes are divided into “shaping”, which modify the geometry of workpieces and “nonshaping”, which affect the properties of materials. Shaping processes are grouped into “mass-conserving”, “mass-reducing” and “mass—increasing”. Nonshaping processes are further subdivided into heat treatment and surface finishing processes. Each of these has been categorised into process families and individual processes (Todd, Allen, & Alting, 1994). In the pharmaceutical industry nonshaping process are most widely used, due to the fact that pharmaceutical production is strongly based on chemical modification of materials’ properties.
4. Synchronous manufacturing is based on the Goldratt’s Theory of Constraints, which suggests that the system can be as efficient as its “weakest link”. Synchronous manufacturing aims to continuously improve the bottlenecks of the system in order to increase the rate of production. Product flow of the system is always balanced, so that only the bottleneck runs at full capacity, while all the other operations slow down. This operation helps to reduce inventory accumulation. Unlike JIT, synchronous manufacturing allows continuous production even if one of the machines before the bottleneck breaks down, since there is always excess capacity available (Rakowski, Tang, Kammala, Sorraphetpisai, & Mathur, 2009). Just-in-time (JIT) is a “pull” system, where production starts only after a customer has placed the order. In this case only the required amount of product is manufactured, decreasing the need for safety stock, reducing work in progress and diminishing the risk of overproduction. Inputs are being delivered directly to the production line, reducing the cost for raw material storage and delivery. Inputs and outputs are carefully checked on the spot, thus lowering the cost of rework and additional quality checks (tutor2u).
There are several differences between the abovementioned two manufacturing techniques. Firstly, while JIT is used for make-to-stock, synchronous manufacturing is custom shop oriented. The main objective of JIT is very short cycle time, while for synchronous manufacturing it is balancing of capacities. Production scheduling in JIT cannot be changed very quickly once the orders are in, while synchronous manufacturing is more flexible. Labour force in JIT is often multi-skilled and flexible; while in synchronous manufacturing people often specialize only in one area (Rakowski, Tang, Kammala, Sorraphetpisai, & Mathur, 2009).
Relying on the principles of continuous improvement and JIT might improve the competitiveness of the organization. Thus, JIT allows minimum inventory storage, fast lead times, constant quality monitoring and tight production control. Synchronous manufacturing ensures constant process improvement at the bottlenecks, capacity optimization according to the system constraint’s performance, inventory reduction and flexibility in case of a machine break-down. Therefore, by implementing these principles separately or in a hybrid model an organization may benefit from process improvement, efficient resource utilization and better production scheduling.
Gido, J., & Clements, J. P. (2009). Successful project management. Mason, the United States of America: South-Western Cengage Learning.
Rakowski, , Tang, C. Y., Kammala, , Sorraphetpisai, , & Mathur, S. . (2009). Supply chain and distribution management. Norderstedt, germany: Grin Verlag.
Todd, R. H., Allen, D. K., & Alting, L. (1994). Fundamental principles of manufacturing processes. New York, the United States of America: Industrial Press.tutor2u. (n.d.). Just in time production (JIT). Retrieved from http://tutor2u.net/business/production/just-in-time.html