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Case Study:  Non-Value-Added Work Elimination/Simplification, Pharmaceuticals

The Company

Over-the-counter division of a global, European-based pharmaceuticals firm.

The Problem

New Operating Unit Head for a European country/division is frustrated by non-value-adding, legacy practices and procedures that sap organizational time and resources, are adversely affecting morale and actually resulting in the departure of key talent.  Traditionally bureaucratic cultural norms also pose a barrier to change and improvement.

The Approach

Division embarks upon a team-based, work elimination/simplification initiative, designed and conducted by Gagnon Associates.   Providing a cross-division team of employees with an opportunity to target non-value-adding Reports, Approvals, Meetings, Measures, Practices and Procedures, the “RAMMPP” Process Design Phase identifies some 90+ candidates for possible elimination/simplification.

During the Conduct Phase, in a 2 1/2-day work session facilitated by Gagnon Associates consultants, work-team members prioritize for practices whose elimination or simplification will free up the most time for the least effort, and create detailed action plans to eliminate or simplify.

The Results

In under 120 days, the 14 highest-priority, work elimination/simplification projects are brought to completion, for a total savings of 74.3 work-weeks.

Eliminated outright are such practices as:  onsite processing of dry-cleaning services, senior-executive signatory approvals for smaller expenditures, and redundant purchasing and finance approval procedures.   Simplification measures include such items as:  better cataloguing and managing of system passwords, improved methods for managing and updating customer-information and promotional-materials data bases, and streamlining of the promotional expenses planning process.

Encouraged by this initial success – and with upwards of 70+ remaining opportunities for improvement – division management and team members institutionalize RAMMPP and plan two sessions yearly as an ongoing process for organizational improvement and empowerment.