Multinational Healthcare Company*

“Operation Clinical Trial”

Customer said: Help our clinical trials operations management and employee teams assess their current operations to determine priority areas for improvement.

The engineers at Scott Sheldon said: We can do that.

Project Background:

This U.S. multinational firm manufactures medical devices and pharmaceutical and consumer packaged goods. They asked Scott Sheldon to lead an operations improvement engagement for the clinical trials segment of their drug division. A major goal of the effort was to use the clinical trial area as a test case with which they could apply lean concepts and then extend that knowledge to identify quantitative, real-world improvements elsewhere in the division.
Key components of the engagement were:

  • Improve process efficiency and effectiveness
  • Involve warehouse staff in solution development to foster a spirit of continuous improvement
  • Measurably improve customer service
  • Address receiving, put-away, pick and pack, inventory control, etc.
  • Consider regulatory requirements

The “Ah Ha” moment:

In observing the division’s pick and pack processes, we discovered that the pick face layout used the wrong kind of storage medium—carton flow rack vs. shelf rack—causing an excessive amount of time to search and find specific cartons and trial vials within each carton. We found ineffective use of both equipment and processes in the flow rack environment, which drove up pick times. There was also quality control inspection redundancies in their pack ship areas.

The Action:

The Scott Sheldon team used its proven Operational Tune-Up to review the situation and provide real-world recommendations in a very short time-frame. We identified improvement opportunities and assigned priorities through a risk vs. benefit matrix and then developed detailed action plans in a roadmap that suggested the greatest areas for improvement. The team demonstrated how, with very little capital outlay, the client could dramatically improve work task efficiency and drive overall environment enhancements.


The engagement met the client’s goals and objectives. With recommendations in place, the efficiency and effectiveness of the most critical areas improved. There was evidence of a new culture of proactive, continuous improvement with broad employee participation. Once redundancies were eliminated and key functions streamlined, the client reported cost improvements of more than 10% and a 25% increase in processing levels with no negative impact to regulatory requirements.

We Get It.

*Due to confidentiality, we do not disclose the names of healthcare companies

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