IW Best Plants Profile - 1994

Baxter Healthcare Corporation's 1994 Best Plants award-winning IV Systems ivision at North Cove has been a benchmark for the production of large-volume intravenous solutions and related products for more than 20 years. Indeed, the Federal Drug Administration asked the plant for a training video illustrating world-class practices within the pharmaceutical industry.

The IV Systems Division thrives in a heavily regulated, mature industry. What's the secret? The Quality Leadership Process QLP.

"QLP is an umbrella that can drive the proper business alignment of strategies for overall operational excellence in concert with customer-driven goals," explains industrial-engineering manager John Martino. The QLP structure is supported by five foundation stones: continuous improvement, total employee involvement, prevention, defect-free work, and the fulfillment of customer requirements. On this foundation rest 11 manufacturing strategies.

One of these strategies is time to release, the amount of time that elapses between the packaging of the last piece of a batch and its formal release for shipment. Releasing product requires a complete documentation package, which grows larger at each stage of the manufacturing process and must be in perfect order before North Cove ships finished goods. From 1988 to 1993, time to release was reduced from 190 hours to 50 hours.

Another strategy is total productive maintenance, in which all 2,000-plus employees have been trained. Among the results: Manufacturing delays caused by facility downtime reduced from 36 hours in 1991 to 25 minutes in 1994.

North Cove, a leader in environmental initiatives as well, has vowed to completely eliminate waste to landfills by 1996.

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