I Would Like It Perfect, Free, and Now – Please

Daniel R. Matlis

A colleague once shared a sign he saw in a restaurant. It read something like this:

You can have your food Good, Cheap or Fast
You may pick only two.

If you pick:

  • Good and Fast, it won’t be Cheap
  • Cheap and Fast, it won’t be Good
  • Cheap and Good, it won’t be Fast

Last week, I was invited to a seminar on “Strategies for Operational Excellence” hosted by Iconics. There, I heard Mark Hepburn present the purest form of “Good, Cheap or Fast”. It is “Perfect, Free and Now” (PFN)

Let’s face it, as consumers we love PFN and, as we can hear from Capitol Hill, we want our healthcare PFN.

Historically, Life-Science manufacturers, regulators and consumers have expected drugs and devices to be Good and Fast. Consumers want potent drugs, with no side effects available just in time, but the cost has not been Cheap.

Nevertheless, the marketplace demands increased quality, lower costs and faster time to market. What is a Life-Science manufacturer to do? One solution: implement Analytics, Manufacturing Intelligence and Operational Excellence tools.

To illustrate my point with clichés: 

“Past performance is not guarantee of future results”
“Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it”

Analytics and Manufacturing Intelligence allows manufacturers to sift through the Petabytes of historical data accumulated over the last twenty plus years to transform it into information, knowledge, wisdom and ultimately truth.  To move towards Operational Excellence, manufacturers must identify “golden” as well as “lead” batches and analyze key parameters that produced them.  They must also compare and contrast “golden” with “lead” batches to identify parameter that are inconsequential to product quality.

It is time for Life-Science manufacturers, regulators and consumer to deal with the reality that “Perfect, Free, and Now” is not attainable.  Maybe the best we can do is “Gooder, Cheaper and Faster”.

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