Lean Six Sigma Coaching and Project Planning at Richmond Pharmacology

We acted as a ‘Lean Process Improvement Partner’ to support Richmond Pharmacology with driving operational efficiency and service excellence

How we helped...

Richmond Pharmacology is a centre for excellence for First-In-Human and early phase clinical studies, and reduce drug development timelines using Adaptive Protocols and efficient Patient Recruitment. The organisation has experienced rapid growth in recent years due to its continued success; however this has led to increased process inefficiency, unnecessary overheads due to diseconomies of scale, and increased operational complexity. Many of its processes are onerous, requiring increased efforts to resolve process-wastes including errors, delays and over-processing. In order to successfully deliver on their commitments, Richmond Pharmacology are invested in driving internal improvements and developing their people. 

Richmond Pharmacology identified three areas that needed specific attention: Screening and Outpatients, Data Management and Pharmacovigilance, although at the start of the study it was decided to split Screening and Outpatients into two, making four study areas in total.

We took on the role of a ‘Lean Process Improvement Partner’ to support Richmond Pharmacology’s commitment on driving operational efficiency and service excellence.

In order to effectively define the problems, root causes and identify optimal solutions as a team, we used our signature methodology, Lean Six Sigma. Lean refers to the waste elimination we achieve when we focus on the voice of your customer; Six Sigma are the data-driven techniques we apply to process improvements.

We undertook the following supporting activities as part of the Lean Process Improvement Partner role:
• Yellow Belt Lean Six Sigma Training of taskforce members and other key stakeholders 
• Initial scoping workshops to understand current challenging areas and opportunities for improvement, leading to the development of well-defined Project Charters
• Prioritisation and planning of opportunities with the taskforce to develop a clear plan and roadmap and to be able to determine resourcing
• Project management of the taskforce to ensure timely and high-quality delivery of process improvements
• Mentoring the internal team to help them become strong ‘lean champions’, develop a ‘Lean Thinking’ mindset and guide them through the improvement journey
• Developing and implementing a toolkit and methodology for problem solving and driving improvements, to empower employees to make improvements as part of their ‘day jobs’
• Idenfitying small pilot projects to be used as a model to prove the concept and demonstrate quick wins and benefits so that there was increased engagement and buy-in, and the model could be replicated across other areas of the business
• Supporting the team with using data to measure performance and benefits, and to make data-driven decisions regarding improvements 
• Providing independent guidance, advice and assurance
• Engaging and managing stakeholders ranging from the owners, senior leaders, through to junior members of the project team

By the end of our tenure, we were able to demonstrate “quick wins” and ensure that longer term solutions were approved as part of a wider roadmap. The proposed changes helped to balance the workload, increase patient and staff satisfaction, save money and reduce errors within the business. Improvements to the Data Management cost estimating activity alone will achieve at least a 5% improvement for Richmond, and coupled with the other improvements, an overall of 15% should be realised. Pharmacovigilance will now also provide a new and growing revenue stream for Richmond Pharmacology.

Find out more about our problem solving solutions here.

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