Interphex 2005: Emerson introduces OpX Advantage for life sciences

New York, NY—Emerson Process Management introduced its new Operational Excellence (OpX) Advantage program in a press conference at Interphex 2005, April 26-28, at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.


New York, NY— Emerson Process Management introduced its new Operational Excellence (OpX) Advantage program in a press conference at Interphex 2005 , April 26-28, at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.

The company says OpX Advantage is a “consultative program” that helps users build business cases for excellence, improve their operations, and gain guaranteed savings by using Emerson’s lean manufacturing strategy and its PlantWeb digital automation technology, as well as process analytical technologies (PAT) and Six Sigma methods. Building on opportunities enabled by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) recent guidance on PAT and cGMPs for the 21st century, Emerson says OpX also includes its more than 30 years of consulting and engineering in the life sciences.

“The life sciences industry is facing a 'perfect storm' of business conditions, including growing competition, quality and safety concerns, and new price pressures,” says Bob Lenich, Emerson’s OpX business director. “The FDA’s 21st-century cGMPs and PAT initiatives are helping remove past hesitancy by life sciences companies to pursue innovative solutions, but those companies are now struggling with where to begin and how to turn their goals into realities. That’s where Emerson’s OpX Advantage Program can help.”

Many independent studies conducted across multiple industries have revealed that, while manufacturing automation accounts for only 5-8% of total plant costs, proper application of automation technology to plant-floor business practices can have an enormous impact on production efficiency and product quality, according to Emerson. The firm adds that OpX quickly, efficiently, and affordably identifies what’s required functionally, operationally, and culturally to apply and sustain the long-term benefits that innovative automation solutions can provide.

“Although OpX Advantage is very specific to the life sciences industry, its concepts are rooted in similar programs that Emerson has been successfully using for many years, both internally and to assist other industries,' adds John Gardner, Emerson's senior VP for its life sciences business. 'We’re already engaged in helping leading life sciences companies along their OpX journey. And PlantWeb is proven in thousands of installations, delivering significant efficiency improvements time and again.”

Implementing OpX
Using a structured methodology, OpX begins with a one- to two-day assessment of a client’s manufacturing operation and supporting services. Each assessment is uniquely tailored for the client, but is generally designed to identify the client’s “as is” cultural, procedural, and operational environment. This as-is assessment culminates with a formal presentation and written reports identifying assessment findings; what’s working well and what’s not; suggestions for cultural, procedural, and operational improvements; and quantification of potential gains implementing the suggested improvements likely will yield.

Next, Emerson’s industry experts conduct an in-depth study that identifies and quantifies ways of improving quality, throughput, and availability, while reducing costs in operations and maintenance; safety, health and environment; utilities; and waste and rework. The findings and recommendations of this detailed study form the foundation for improvement. Emerson then works with the client to implement the plan.

'Just applying technology to existing manufacturing processes doesn't maximize the benefits,' says Lenich. 'Creating and sustaining OpX improvements requires changing work practices, as well as cross-functional communication and cooperation among all the various plant floor organizations, such as manufacturing, QA, QC, engineering, and others. We've opened eyes at several companies when our assessment program revealed how compartmentalized they were and what significant improvement opportunities existed.'

After the project is carried out using the agreed-to methodology, services, and technologies, Emerson and the client conduct a post-installation audit to measure improvements and compare them to the baseline performance measured in the original study. 'We can guarantee improvement,' says Lenich. 'It's that simple.'

Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Jim Montague, news editor

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