Driving a winning performance

Innovation, partnership and performance are buzzwords about which we hear a lot, but are hard to capture, measure and quantify.  Here, Aidan Lynch, General Manager of GSK Pharma Ireland tells us how GSK’s partnership with McLaren has helped them focus on driving a winning performance in a challenging environment and deliver more with less.

Aidan Lynch, General Manager of GSK Pharma Ireland
Aidan Lynch, General Manager of GSK Pharma Ireland

“More than at any time before, there is a need for innovation in healthcare. We need to look outside our industry for inspiration, fresh perspectives and business practices to reapply within GSK, keeping us ahead of the competition.”

Andrew Witty (Chief Executive GSK)

At GSK we’ve gone through significant changes recently. We’ve to do more with less, we’ve to continue to motivate and engage our teams to deliver.  We’ve to negotiate our way through new and evolving healthcare structures.  I’m sure these sound only too familiar.  I work and interact with health managers on a daily basis and so understand and appreciate the challenges that you face as you work your way through the structural and financial reform of the health system.

As a result of an exciting partnership with the McLaren Group, we’ve managed to find creative solutions to challenges we face, to introduce new ways of working and to motivate our teams, all of which ultimately help us deliver more to our patients.

During a racing season, 80 per cent of an F1 car will change between the first and final races with 22,000 upgrades being applied to each car over just 20 races.

When Andrew Witty, Chief Executive of GSK announced that we would be joining forces with the McLaren Group in a five year strategic partnership, we knew we were ‘onto a winnner’…. Bringing together two science-led, British companies, the alliance combined the high-tech innovative abilities of McLaren with our industrial strengths in Research and Development and Global Manufacturing and Supply.

Performance analysis and improvement

Across our manufacturing business, which supplies medicines and products to patients across the world from more than 2,000 production lines in 80 factories, we are learning from McLaren to enhance our processes. During a racing season, 80 per cent of an F1 car will change between the first and final races with 22,000 upgrades being applied to each car over just 20 races.

This pace of innovation is a stark contrast to our industry, but there are applications of this real time innovation that have already helped us become more efficient in some of our business areas. For example, our changeover times – shifting from production of one product to another – at one of our factories was cut by 60 per cent after we applied these principles.

A team at our Maidenhead manufacturing site has been working closely with project and engineering specialists from McLaren to re-design some of their operating procedures to improve agility and efficiency. The aim: To deliver our products better, faster and at lower costs than ever before.

As a result of this, we’ve managed to reduce changeover times from 39 minutes to 15 minutes, releasing over 6 million tubes of production capacity per year.

This project has looked at ways to sustainably improve product changeovers on the high speed toothpaste manufacturing line – focusing not only on process but also the people, to embed a winning performance mindset amongst the team.  Together with McLaren, the Maidenhead team has reinvented their processes using the analogy of a Formula One pit stop for inspiration and implementing a ‘Plan-Act-Improve’ approach.

As a result of this, we’ve managed to reduce changeover times from 39 minutes to 15 minutes, releasing over 6 million tubes of production capacity per year. Not only does this save on production costs but it creates a more efficient end-to-end supply chain, enabling delivery of valuable products to our customers.

Employee engagement

We are working to create a more dynamic business culture by using the partnership to engage and inspire our employees. The core principles that make F1 teams successful are no different to our business, so we are focusing on how they are applied in such a high pace environment and it’s really making a difference.

Working across boundaries

Large pharmaceutical companies are operating in an increasingly competitive environment, and they need to look beyond traditional boundaries.  GSK’s relationship with McLaren has brought a new dimension to our data analysis and informatics.  While not immediately obvious, the link between the two organisations is starting to lead to improvements in manufacturing processes and business analysis.  While, health managers are focused on improving service delivery to patients as opposed to manufacturing medicines or consumer products, there are insights to be gleaned from looking outside of the healthcare sector to industries specialising in continuous improvement processes.