lean and supply chain performance

Lean Principles and Supply Chain Performance

A challenging competitive environment means the pharmaceutical industry must aim continuously to both increase quality and lower costs

Despite the ongoing changes and advancements in the pharmaceutical industry, a key goal remains to reduce the costs associated with production in the pharma sector. While the strict quality regulations need to be respected, packaging is a crucial area which can help to lower waste with efficient, customer-specific packaging, and create a low volume-high mix production.

Packaging is one area that has been shown to benefit from a focus on efficiency and continuous improvement. Customer specific packaging today leads to a low volume-high mix production, replacing the high volume production patterns of the past.

This necessitates the use of high performance yet flexible machines, as well as a reorganisation of production concepts. Lean manufacturing methods help by reducing change-over times, standardising work flows and increasing machine availability.

Lean supply chain management requires businesses to examine every process in their supply chain and identify areas that are using unnecessary resources. This reaches beyond the pharmaceutical firm themselves to their suppliers – and is therefore something DS Smith adopts in its own operations, which means we focus our efforts on, for example, short lead-times and high performance.

Just in time (JIT) via Kanban, Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI)

Timing is crucial to any fulfillment process and system. DS Smith works with our customers to identify the ideal quantity of products needed so production runs smoothly and inventory is minimised. VMI is a streamlined approach to inventory management and order fulfillment, which involves closer collaboration with our customers.

Through incorporating VMI into our daily operations, we are able to maintain an inventory of material, deliver orders with a fast response time, and adjust inventory when supply and demand fluctuate. This means DS Smith is able to deliver packaging and supplies exactly when needed. The goal is to align business objectives and streamline supply chain operations, which is achieved by increased information sharing and service improvements.


DS Smith’s PACE is a major innovation in the packaging sector, drawing on the principles of lean manufacturing.

“Reliable packaging, with no more material than necessary”

  • Define the Performance specification of your packaging
  • Assurance of the right quality in terms of Quality Assurance and Process Control
  • Consistency through definition of the manufacturing specification with the right paper, right board and the right structure
  • While preserving the Environment

Our designers work with customers to analyse the requirements when it comes to packaging performance, and will then create the best possible packaging, with the least amount of material necessary.

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