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Implementing Lean Sigma in pharmaceutical research and development: a review by practitioners

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The authors recount their experience of the implementation of lean thinking and Six Sigma in pharmaceutical development research and development (R&D). Use of Lean Sigma in pharmaceutical manufacturing is widespread and generally noncontentious. Lean Sigma is used successfully to improve the development of new pharmaceutical manufacturing processes. However, the value of the application of lean and Six Sigma ideas to research & development is controversial. Published material is reviewed, and then the methods, tools, barriers and benefits are discussed, with recommendations for implementation of Lean Sigma into an R&D organisation.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: GlaxoSmithKline R&D Pharmaceutical Development, Harlow, CM195 AW UK. ;;, Email:

Publication date: January 1, 2009

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