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Output Increase and Meeting Delivery Targets: API Manufacturing

Capacity of high-urgency API increased by ~50% in <20 weeks. Cycle time improvements of another product enabled the agreed customer delivery date to be met.


Pharmaceuticals – API Manufacturing 

Project length

<20 weeks - 2 consultants


  • Reduce cycle time of bottleneck process step by >5 hours for high-urgency Drug A.
  • Bring delivery of Drug B forwards to on or before the agreed customer delivery date by saving 4 weeks in production schedule.


  • Cycle time for Drug A bottleneck process reduced by >10 hours in 20 weeks
  • Drug A weekly output increased by >40% vs pre-project baseline
  • All Drug B delivery deadlines met

Why was Chartwell brought on board?

Improvement was needed to meet increased demand for Drug A and to avoid late delivery on Drug B. Achieving the project objectives was worth almost $3m. This pilot project demonstrated the scale of improvement possible by focusing on two high urgency products.

Core Project Workstreams

Increasing output of Drug A: Reducing bottleneck cycle time by >15%

  • Chartwell consultants and client team members used a structured methodology to reduce the bottleneck cycle time. 
  • Powerful opportunities to conduct sub-processes in parallel or shorten process step times were identified.
  • These changes challenged deeply ingrained constraints such as the times at which quality samples were taken. 
  • Rigorous trials proved that breaking constraints was not contradictory with meeting best-practice specifications.

Meeting the delivery deadline for Drug B: Reducing Changeover time by >30%

  • During the Opportunity Scan, Changeover duration was highlighted as a significant lever for achieving the project goal.
  • Planning tools made following improved Changeover protocols easy and repeatable for operators and tracked their progress against these new standards.
  • Process experts and Chartwell consultants worked together to define Drug B's critical path.
  • Targeted reductions to the cycle times of steps on the critical path slashed overall batch processing time.

Training the Site Team in "Improvement Cycle Methodology"

  • Nearly 50 staff were trained in our fundamental methodology to set them up for success after the project end.
  • Handing over the tools and structures that underpin Chartwell's approach ensured achieved results were truly sustainable.