Sun Pharma plans to streamline manufacturing processes at all plants

P. T. Jyothi Datta Mumbai | Updated on March 12, 2018

Drug-maker Sun Pharma is to have uniform processes and manufacturing practices at all its plants spread across four continents. It is considering a global technical head to oversee the plants.

“We are looking at a global manufacturing organisation with constant, consistent processes,” said Mr Dilip Shanghvi, Sun’s Managing Director. It will be headed by a technical head, elevated from within the ranks or from outside, he told Business Line.

Explaining why such a streamlining was necessary, he said: “We are looking at how to ensure the same practices and processes (across manufacturing facilities)….So even though you have a head of US operation ….manufacturing will have a direct relationship with the manufacturing organisation.” The development is significant, as the over Rs 8,000-crore Sun has been seeing changes at the top. Over the last three months, Sun has made key appointments, including that of former Teva Chief Executive, Mr Israel Makov, as Chairman, and Sun’s Mr Kal Sundaram as the head of its Israeli subsidiary, Taro.

Underlining the importance of technical expertise, Mr Shanghvi said, historically, for example, senior people with a marketing background handled businesses and also manufacturing. But they would have limited technical expertise, and so the company is looking to separate the two and create a separate set of systems for manufacturing, he said.

Sun Pharma’s key global operations include its wholly-owned US subsidiary Caraco, and the recently-acquired Israeli subsidiary Taro. In fact, Caraco’s facilities are in the process of “remediation,” after coming under the US Food and Drug Administration’s scanner years ago.

Streamlining sites

Sun Pharma has 23 manufacturing sites half of which make finished forms of medicines or formulations. They are across India, Israel, the US, Canada, Hungary, Brazil, Mexico and Bangladesh. The realignment will help improve speed to market, and remove duplications in processes, a company official said.

Some plants may at present have heritage processes, some may have USFDA-level processes (approved by the US regulator), “so this limits inter-changability to some extent,” the representative said.

Sometimes, this may further require “an uphaul of utilities and support systems as well, or even activities like vendor audits done in the same way across the company. This mindset change will have to begin from process/product development itself,“ the official added.

The other aspect where realignment would impact is in product selection. At present, country-specific product baskets are selected based on the universe of Indian product basket.


Published on July 24, 2012

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