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Sanofi x iObeya : a Lean 4.0 shopfloor

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At the beginning of 2015, Sanofi, an international pharmaceutical company, faced significant challenges planning the launch of new products over the course of the next four years. These projects were very large and complex, as they involved many stakeholders spread across different work sites. Sanofi decided to embark on an transformation program of its Enterprise Management System based on Lean management, with initiatives aimed at simplifying and supporting growth.

Ten years ago, Sanofi launched a Management System transformation based on Lean principles. This initiative, called the “Sanofi Manufacturing System”, aims to standardize practices in all manufacturing plants to improve performance, quality and innovation while focusing on patients’ needs. To achieve this, Sanofi works to develop a culture of continuous improvement, standardize work methods and strengthen collaboration through Visual Management.

Five years after the launch of its Lean transformation initiative, the Covid pandemic paralyzed the world and forced Sanofi employees to adapt their Lean routines. The implementation of the Sanofi Manufacturing System accelerated significantly in 2020.

This is when the Visual Management platform, iObeya, was deployed across the organization. The practices supported by the Sanofi Manufacturing System, such as the SQDCP, were digitized and deployed on a large scale. The tool has been rapidly adopted by the employees and contributed to the acceleration of the Lean transformation within the pharmaceutical organization.

Learn more about the benefits of digitizing SQCDP.

Sanofi, like all other companies for several years, has a program to transform its System Management based on Lean, therefore programs to simplify and support its growth. So we implemented the Sanofi Manufacturing System, which puts the patient at the center of everything, with patient satisfaction first, and the practices brought by the Sanofi Manufacturing System, to solve this problem, then we implemented tools like iObeya to help ensure this.

Karima Souami, Product Owner at Sanofi.

By adopting the Sanofi Manufacturing System, Sanofi also hopes to establish the paperless factory of the future.
The Marcy l’Etoile production site in France, which specializes in research, development and vaccine manufacturing, aims to become a Lean 4.0 factory across the entire value chain, addressing three main challenges:

  • democratizing real-time data,
  • improving working conditions through the use of digital tools,
  • investing in Big Data

“We are convinced that tomorrow, this is what will make us evolve our way of manufacturing vaccines,” said Emilie Chabanon, Manufacturing 4.0 Manager. The use of the iObeya Visual Management platform and its quick adoption by all the teams involved were critical in meeting these three objectives.

As a Visual Management platform, iObeya allows us to structure our way of doing things. It’s not a whiteboard, it’s my Obeya, it’s my activity sequences organized according to a standard that we have put in place, because it’s a proven standard that has demonstrated effectiveness.

Karima Souami, Product Owner at Sanofi

Since the implementation of iObeya at Sanofi, Lean 4.0 teams have saved time in collecting information. This is because the various boards can be interconnected and information is shared at different levels of the organization, more quickly and directly. iObeya is an essential tool for Sanofi’s teams. Thanks to the implementation of iObeya, the teams have observed the following benefits every day: faster project management, greater efficiency in task execution, easier and faster information sharing at all levels of the organization, and more effective problem-solving.

iObeya, we couldn’t do without it. It’s completely anchored in our teams’ practices and they are strongly attached to it

Arnaud de Sainte Maresville, Sanofi Manufacturing System Leader

The iObeya platform is a Visual Management tool that allows teams to structure their activities according to their own Lean standards. iObeya adapts to team routines and rituals for seamless operation. It is a personalized “Obeya” for each user. The adoption of this Visual Management platform has changed the way things are done at Sanofi and has allowed managers to evolve their way of leading and interacting with their teams.

The implementation of iObeya at Sanofi was part of an objective to identify and resolve problems more quickly and efficiently in order to improve performance and processes. Digitized SQCDP boards have helped teams work together to improve decision-making and achieve continuous improvement in their production system.

Now, iObeya is considered an essential tool by Sanofi teams and is one of the pillars for accelerating its Lean transformation. Check out the Forrester x Sanofi study to learn more!

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