Combining pharma expertise and management consulting to create a solid basis for decision

Our customer wants to minimize manual handling on its filling line. During an intense 10-day sprint, we teamed up to co-create possible solutions, balancing risk to patient, effort and complexity.

At NNE, we are skilled in engineering and much of what we do involves “hard” technical skills. But we are also consultants at heart, and we love working together with our customers to help them make the right decisions and solve their most complex challenges.

In a recent project, our customer came to us with an ambition to reduce human interventions on its filling lines as much as possible. The customer had previously explored the possibility of implementing robotics automation, but a GMP review – facilitated by NNE’s compliance experts – revealed that the solution was not feasible. Hence, we needed to come up with alternative solutions. To do that, we invited the customer to participate in a 10-day design sprint to generate ideas for how to meet its ambition.

The sprint resulted in two concrete solution suggestions – and a very happy customer:”It was extremely valuable to be able to spar with consultants who have an in-depth understanding of the pharmaceutical value chain and know so many perspectives of pharma manufacturing, quality systems and standard operating procedures. I have worked with management consulting companies like McKinsey and Valcon before, but there is no doubt that I will reach out to NNE, next time I need input and sparring.” (Customer’s project manager)

I have worked with management consulting companies like McKinsey and Valcon before, but there is no doubt that I will reach out to NNE, next time I need input and sparring.

Customer's project manager

Want to know what we did? Read more about the innovation sprint below.

Change management to guide the customer in the innovation process

As the customer was not experienced in the sprint process, NNE’s pharma consultants took the lead on developing the “project plan”. On the basis of a quality risk management assessment conducted with the project group, we co-created process and workshops with the customer, guiding the entire customer project group through the innovation process.

Throughout the sprint, our consultants helped to drive change management and supported in stakeholder management, all the while ensuring that the customer’s project manager felt secure about the process and the outcome.

Co-creation and fast concept development are core aspects when we do design sprints and this sprint was no different. With a goal to present one or two concrete and finalized concepts to the customer’s steering committee after nine days, there was no time to waste.

The fast track to a strong proof of concept

To make sure all participants had a joint understanding of the challenge to be solved and the setup in which the solution had to work, one of the first things we did was to visit the site and see the filling line in action. NNE’s experts performed smoke studies and other types of test and also did a risk assessment to establish which process steps have most impact on risk to patient. This provided the customer team with a full and common understanding of the production facilities and the opportunities and constraints involved.

Back in the workshop room, we spent the following few days developing concepts for possible solutions. To make sure our ideas “held water”, we asked some relevant people from outside the project group to review and challenge our ideas. These outside perspectives helped us to improve our ideas further and build a strong proof of concept for each of them.

Led by NNE’s compliance consultants, we developed a list of evaluation criteria and assigned each criterion a level of importance in terms of its criticality to compliance, productivity and project execution. All ideas were then evaluated against the criteria and from that we decided which few concepts best balanced risk, effort and complexity. These were then presented to the steering committee.

The customer is currently preparing the implementation of the chosen solution.

Design sprint week 1

Design sprint week 2

Fact box



Fill and finish

Workshop with customer

10-day sprint

Project completion

Services provided
Management consulting