January 28, 2008
By Dave Robinson
New England Peptide, LLC (NEP) is implementing lean manufacturing at its Gardner, Massachusetts, facility to increase capacity and decrease production lead-time associated with peptide and antibody production.
Full implementation of lean manufacturing will help NEP identify new ways to standardize its best practices, increase yields, and reduce both production backlogs and work-in-process inventory, says Dave Robinson, CEO, while maintaining the quality for which NEP is known worldwide. Additional results of lean manufacturing include greater employee productivity and customer satisfaction.
''From NEP's beginning in 1998, the company has built a culture of continuous improvement,'' explains Sam Massoni, NEP's founder and senior vice president of science and new technology. ''The tools and techniques of lean manufacturing are bringing a new level of sophistication to the process.''
NEP is incorporating lean practices such as ''value stream mapping'' and the lean ''5S'' framework (Sort Out, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, Sustain), designed to target improved organization, productivity, and safety. NEP already has reallocated 15 percent of its plant square footage toward new processes, according to Robinson.
The Greater Boston Manufacturing Partnership (GBMP), which trains more than 7,000 people each year on continuous improvement principles, including lean manufacturing, is working with NEP to facilitate implementation. Bruce Hamilton, president of GBMP and former general manager of United Electric Controls Company, is already seeing significant changes in NEP’s workplace organization. ''A company moving like NEP can improve its average lead time by 25 percent in 12 to 18 months,'' he says.
''Everything we do at NEP is customer-driven. The decision to implement lean manufacturing is no different,'' says Robinson. While NEP’s turnaround time is already the industry’s fastest, a recent customer survey indicated customers would benefit from even faster lead-times. ''Lean manufacturing will allow us to meet that demand, and do so without compromising NEP’s service and quality.''
New England Peptide (www.newenglandpeptide.com), founded in 1998, designs and produces custom peptides and polyclonal antibodies for drug and vaccine discovery organizations worldwide. Headquartered in the Boston metro area, the company’s chemists and immunological experts specialize in delivering a full range of services for biotech and pharmaceutical applications.
Peptides are small proteins that play key roles in the biochemical regulation of all life systems, helping to fight diseases as diverse as cancer, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS. Peptides’ inherent low toxicity and high potency, coupled with improved drug delivery methods and enhanced manufacturing capabilities, are fueling a surge in their use. All segments of the peptide market — from therapeutics and vaccines to diagnostics and cosmetics — are thriving.