Brian, Senior Packaging Technician, helped complete a two-year manufacturing project in less than five months to meet customer demand for an important Zoetis medicine. How was this possible? Brian lives the Zoetis Core Belief of Run It Like You Own It, and with his team found faster, simpler, and better ways to create a new production line. Read on to learn more about Brian’s story.
Brian’s job is to oversee the packaging of Zoetis products in the flammables division at Zoetis’ Global Manufacturing and Supply facility in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He coordinates colleagues’ work on the manufacturing floor, schedules the line production, resolves any issues that arise about packaging and quantities, and troubleshoots the machinery. That’s why he was asked to help when Zoetis needed a new manufacturing solution on a tight timeline.
The project began in September 2016 when a need arose to meet a larger market demand for Simparica®, our oral flea and tick medication, which was being produced at a contract manufacturing partner. When Zoetis leadership asked the Kalamazoo manufacturing team if it was possible to create a new, in-house packaging operation for Simparica, they said, “We can do it!” New packaging operations typically take two years to complete, but Zoetis needed this one in five months. The team knew the aggressive timeline would be a challenge, but they were determined to deliver results.
Time and Travel
To design and build the packaging operation, Brian and the team started with basics and customized details as needed. They modified the equipment, designed the workflow, and decided how the production line would function. They worked fast: the standard operating procedures and other documentation were written in just three days, which included the time it took to collaborate with colleagues in Quality for final approval.
Brian and the team met with a local vendor to modify the machinery to fit their needs on the manufacturing floor. Some of the team traveled to Florida to customize the machinery for the Simparica project. By then it was December, and the deadline was fast approaching. Over the Christmas and New Year's holidays, the team sacrificed their vacation time to work around the clock to assemble and install the packaging equipment. January came and the first shipment of Simparica in its new packaging went out—two weeks ahead of schedule.
First in a Career
Brian has been with Zoetis for almost 15 years in various manufacturing roles from an operations mechanic to a formulation technician to a packaging technician. He never before has been involved in a project like the one for Simparica. He said being in on the design of the process from the beginning gave him the ability to take ownership and deliver results.
“Creating a new packaging operation for Simparica in less than five months was a pretty exciting project,” said Brian. “Three things helped: communication, cooperation, and open-mindedness among everyone involved. Site leadership at Kalamazoo has always been receptive to new ideas no matter where they come from. If you have a good idea, they are willing to try it. On the Simparica project, we got the opportunity to design the new packaging production line—and that was a big deal.”
Brian’s manager, Paul, Manufacturing Team Leader, agrees that involving Brian and the Operations team from the beginning was important to the success of the Simparica project. Paul said “A collaboration of ideas and a strong focus on meeting deadlines was required of everyone on the team, and Brian exemplifies these attributes. Brian’s vast experience, knowledge, and positive attitude make him an ideal team player and a key contributor to the success of our work at Zoetis.”