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Are Toyota’s manufacturing practices the right benchmark for the pharma?


Member of Chimica Oggi / Chemistry Today Scientific Advisory Board
EPCOT International, 29150 Bryce Road, OH 44124, Pepper Pike, USA

Many articles have been written about applying Toyota’s manufacturing practices (1) to the manufacture of drugs and medical devices and value they bring. Benchmarking against what has been successfully applied definitely has value. I believe that Toyota practices have value to industries where precisely “pre-defined” quality items are assembled to produce a product. However, blind application of Toyota’s practices to businesses where chemical reactive processes produce the final product and/or by blending various chemicals to produce a single dose makes me wonder are we really comparing same or similar practices or are we just going through the motions hoping some value will be realized. To me such benchmarking is significant waste of resources and money.

Based on the information in the public domain, it would be worth understanding what happens at an auto assembly plant vs. an API manufacturing or a drug formulation facility or a device assembly facility. Understanding will give us a better comparison perspective. Drug discovery and device manufacture are not part of the discussion.

Autos are assembly of predefined and approved quality components to crea ...

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