Leaning Towards Success.

Originally a University of Northumbria graduate, Jarrett Palmer has worked extensively around the world, training in and implementing Lean principles. Jarrett was wooed back to the NE of England by Piramal Healthcare to be Site Lead at their Morpeth facility – but his love for the area made it an easy homecoming.

Jarrett was originally drawn to Newcastle from North Yorkshire by the reputation of the universities in the region, as well as the warm and friendly nature of the people in the North East. Having completed a degree in Manufacturing Systems Engineering, he settled in the area and began his career in an electronics manufacturing business in South Tyneside.

Five years later he was invited to join the world of ‘Pharma’, but it meant leaving the area completely. Initially, Jarrett moved into pharmaceutical contract packaging in the South of England, servicing ‘big Pharma’ customers. He then moved to the Midlands to run operations at a Cardinal Health manufacturing and packaging facility, taking it from a loss making site to a profit making facility in a global network, within a couple of years (Cardinal Health was later divested and re-branded as Catalent Pharma Solutions).

Catalent then sponsored him in his yearlong training as a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt in sites throughout Europe. Then, as a part of a small corporate team reporting into the Senior VP of Operations, Jarrett was deployed to sites across the global network to lead site transformation programs. He spent time at a solid oral dose technology site in Melbourne, Australia; followed by a stint in Schorndorf, Germany at a solid oral dose and packaging facility; then to Swindon, England, to a Zydis manufacturing plant; and finally, to Chicago, USA to lead manufacturing operations within an aseptic sterile (Blow-Fill-Seal) facility.

Jarrett appreciates the range of challenges and opportunities this exposed him to: “The experience of moving from a site based operational role to that of a corporate role across international locations was a great enabler for me to gain experience in a number of facilities, all with different needs and different challenges and cultures.”

But when Piramal came calling in 2008, the decision was an easy one. “Piramal was looking for someone from a diverse background in a contract manufacturing organisation (CMO) to run their API / solid dose / packaging facility in Morpeth. My partner was born in the North East and both the career opportunity and my love for the region was really what brought me back.”

Jarrett is very passionate about the nucleus of Pharma and CMO within the North East.

“For such a small amount of real estate there is a high concentration of ‘big Pharma’ manufacturing sites, as well as a number of highly successful CMOs. I particularly enjoy the openness and the supporting nature of sharing best practice, as well as the willingness to share resources and learning’s within the network. There is a well-established network of subject mater experts with the industry in the North East. Compared to overseas, I’ve experienced on several occasions a genuine interest within the North East to help and support each other in order to protect our presence in a highly competitive market place.”
While many people often confuse Lean with meaning less people, that’s definitely not Jarrett’s interpretation. He believes that change through people is a powerful concept, and is a big advocate of employing ‘reward and recognition’ as a means of supporting a continuous improvement culture.For Jarrett, this drives the right behaviors and provides a sustainable means of regeneration of ideas in an ever-competitive environment. “I often see business focusing on initiatives that are fashionable or way too complicated to deliver sustainable business results. My philosophy is based on simple flow, embedded business processes, employee engagement, cash-to-cash cycles and service delivery. If this is underpinned with a culture of empowerment, reward and recognition, and winning behaviors, then you can start to call it Lean principles.”And it is within this realm that Jarrett sees opportunities for corporate development. “Companies need to focus on how to create flexible working to drive labour utilisation levels up, whilst supporting a strategic growth agenda. I sometimes refer to it as ‘changing the wings on the airplane whilst flying it at the same time.”

Jarrett still practices what he preaches; an incentive based system called ‘The Golden Ticket Scheme’ was implemented at the Morpeth site which generated more than £1.5 million in savings through the implementation of more efficient processes, removing ‘non value add steps’ and improving / simplifying procedures.

Clearly, Jarrett has got the hang of flying with a full toolkit in his hands.

 

 

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