“I have yet to find a situation where a pharmaceutical client said they’d sacrifice a little quality if I can make it cheaper.”
ICC Inc. Senior Process Engineer Eric Raibley is a problem solver among problem solvers, but he is the first to tell you that quality is non-negotiable in the design engineering of a pharmaceutical facility, so cost savings must be found elsewhere.
Since Raibley works with a team of phenomenal designers and engineers who love to pick apart a problem and find solutions, maintaining quality while identifying cost-cutting opportunities is just the kind of challenge they live for.
Here are just a few of the ways ICC’s multi-discipline engineers keep budgets under control:
Efficiency: One of the best ways to contain costs is by eliminating project oversights and errors that create expensive delays.
“We do a lot of laser scanning of client facilities so we can create highly accurate 3D models and make the execution of the design as smooth as possible,” says Raibley. “A line is going to be out of service during the buildout, so we want our design model to be precise.”
Procurement: Getting the best deal is a matter of connections, due diligence, and market savvy.
“We pay particular attention to our sourcing, looking for ways to save money on software and material procurement while offering them the best choices. There's always opportunity there,” says Raibley.
In-house expertise: Even better than a great deal from an outside vendor is the built-in savings of working with in-house fabricators.
“One way we can avoid some of the excess costs incurred by going to an outside vendor is to take advantage of our stainless steel pressure vessel manufacturing site in Oregon,” says Raibley. “Many pharmaceutical products are manufactured in stainless steel and our manufacturing division excels at complex creations in stainless steel.”
Automation: There's often opportunities to improve safety and efficiency through automation, which can pay for itself quickly.
“Most projects have some level of automation, which is a boon to an industry like pharma, where accuracy and repeatability are absolutely critical,” says Raibley. “The removal of personnel from certain situations is also a great benefit, especially when you consider the safety component of keeping people away from hazardous chemicals.”
Fitness Assessment: Carefully assessing processes, parts, and equipment can yield high returns.
An on-site Fitness Assessment carefully examines every stage of the manufacturing processes, from the incoming raw materials to products leaving the warehouse gate.
“You can’t control what you haven’t measured, but you can waste a lot of time and money jumping ahead to what you assume is the best solution,” says ICC, Inc. President Alex Alexandrov. “You can’t know that adding a new line or automating a particular function will deliver the results you want until you’ve done a thorough assessment, so that’s where we start.”
Quality review process
Quality control can keep costs down as well – by heading off potentially expensive issues in the early stages. ICC follows a Quality Review protocol from day one:
“An outside observer with a background in design engineering can help us avoid mistakes in the field by providing a fresh set of eyes,” notes Raibley. “We also make sure to cross-check designs with every discipline—the mechanical, civil, structural, electrical and architectural engineers, along with control systems—so we’re sure everything will work together.”
ICC’s Fitness Assessment, design engineering, and quality review process works so well that it earned Project of the Year recognition from a major pharmaceutical client for an automation project.
Throughout the entire process, from assessment to build-out, ICC works closely with the client. “It's important that we develop a good relationship with the client’s concept design team,” says Raibley. “Especially in pharmaceutical, their conceptual design is usually set before we ever meet because they have a process that’s highly regulated and validated. The better we work together the better the design.”
ICC is the go-to expert for pharma facility engineering, design-build, and manufacturing. Click here to learn more.