Achieving Execution Excellence through Lean, Six Sigma and ToC

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Saumen Chakraborty, President and Global Head of Quality, HR & IT at Dr. Reddy's Laboratories Ltd, joins Pharma IQ to discuss successful deployment of Lean, Six Sigma and ToC.

Pharma IQ: Please can you outline your role?

S Chakraborty: Currently I am the President and Head of Global Quality, Human Resources (HR), IT & Business Process Excellence (BPE) at Dr. Reddy's Laboratories Ltd. I develop and execute the long-term vision for Quality, IT, BPE and HR functions, guide the team and review performance for the above mentioned functions, I also champion the Quality by Design (QbD) programme being implemented across the organisation, lead the Viable Vision initiative, Six Sigma and Lean initiatives.

The primary objective of my current role is to achieve integration of People, Processes and Information across the organisation and facilitate a culture of Total Quality, Execution Excellence and High Performance. During my 9 + years with this organisation, I have played multiple roles, including Chief Financial Officer, Chief of Global Generics Operations, etc. I am the longest-serving member of the Executive Committee, reporting to the CEO and Vice- Chairman of the Company.

"The primary objective of my current role is to achieve integration of People, Processes and Information across the organisation and facilitate a culture of Total Quality, Execution Excellence and High Performance.”

Pharma IQ: Innovation is a big buzzword in the industry, but is Lean Innovation really possible?

S Chakraborty: Certainly, Yes.

Pharma IQ: So can it be embedded into your processes?

S Chakraborty: Innovation has the context of value creation for both current and future business performance and sustainability. Lean applies right from the start: defining the context, setting the right objectives, problem solving, waste elimination, process optimisation and robustness, and Continuous Improvement thereafter.

However, it is very important to define the end-to-end process, starting with identification of an opportunity (value creation for an external customer) and ending with fulfillment of the need of an external customer. It is also important to ensure focus on the total system productivity and optimisation of the entire end-to-end process rather than getting carried away with a local improvement or sub-optimal innovation. Seamless work-flow and data-flow across multiple disciplines and subprocesses with diligent stage-gate reviews greatly enhance the risk mitigation and success of the innovation engine, which you expect from the organisation.

Pharma IQ: How did you go about applying these tools to a dynamic R&D environment?

S Chakraborty: We created the physical infrastructure and logically integrated our product development organisation (IPDO) to we house all concerned R&D, AR&D, process scale-up, IPM, DQA, RA, portfolio and alliance management, Supply chain for new product development, packaging and project management personnel from both API and formulations area under one umbrella. We applied the DFSS principle in designing the process for IPDO i.e. DRDDI (Define-Research- Design-Develop-Implement). We introduced the CCPM (Critical Chain Project Management) concept to prioritise, avoid bad multi-tasking and consequently improve due-date performance and overall R&D productivity. We introduced the QbD tools (FMEA, DOE, control strategy) to improve process robustness and achievement of target product cost. Besides this, we focused on improvement culture along with other ongoing people and IT initiatives.

Pharma IQ: What were the challenges and how did you overcome them?

S Chakraborty: The challenges were primarily in transition of culture from individual-to-team orientation, intuition-to-process orientation, inward-to-external customer orientation and likewise. We were the first Indian pharmaceutical company to adopt project management in R&D (we learnt from the IT industry where scale-up was critical for growth) and we lost some senior R&D people who refused to change. It has been an eventful journey and the current challenge is all about advanced technology, scientific depth and niche competence, the process challenges are largely overcome.

Pharma IQ: What key learning point can attendees hope to gain from your presentation at the Operational Excellence for Pharmaceutical, Biotech and Medical Devices Conference?

S Chakraborty: The topics of my presentation are as follows: Using Design for Six Sigma to enable faster and more robust new product development; Implementing Lean for Manufacturing Excellence; Implementing ToC for Supply Chain Excellence; and IT enablement with Process Excellence to get business benefit.