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Janssen Button? Will GSK's F1 team up prompt other collaborations?

By Gareth MacDonald+

26-Mar-2014
Last updated on 26-Mar-2014 at 16:36 GMT

Mclaren pitstop smarts help GSK rev up inhaler production
Mclaren pitstop smarts help GSK rev up inhaler production

GSK has ‘smashed’ production targets at a UK inhaler plant by revving up manufacturing operations with knowhow developed in Formula One pit lanes by partner, McLaren.

The UK drugmaker set the new “lap record” at a manufacturing plant in Ware, Hertfordshire where it makes inhalers for the asthma treatment Breo Ellipta. Employees managed to better the 45,000 device per day manufacturing target by 10,000 units after Mclaren experts identifed bottlenecks in production lines.

GSK spokeswoman Sarah Hornby told in-Pharmatechnologist.com that: “Our Mclaren partners assessed the manufacturing line and identified a piece of kit supplied by an external supplier that was slowing the production process.”

She explained that a metal jig used during manufacturing changeovers was not performing as expected adding that, although GSK had always achieved its production targets, working with the Mclaren team had helped increased capacity.

We were meeting our output capacity in line with demand for the product but small changes prompted by Mclaren applying efficiency principles used during tire changes in Formula One races helped us to smash those targets” Hornby added.

Acceleration

GSK has been working with UK-based Formula One team Mclaren since 2011 with the idea being to apply the latter’s precision engineering, efficiency and innovation insights to the drugmaker’s production operations.

The Ware inhaler plant is one of several sights to benefit from working with Mclaren’s applied technology group according to Hornby, who also cited changes GSK made to its toothpaste production operations as another area the partnership had improved.

Engineering changes suggested by McLaren helped us to reduce the time it takes to fill our toothpaste products by 24 minutes, from 39 minutes down to just 15, which allowed us to increase output by an additional 7 million tubes per year.”

She also predicted that the partnership – originally set to run for five years – will continue to improve GSK’s manufacturing operations for the medium term. 

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