Manufacturing Facility Creation from Idea to Occupancy


A major international pharmaceutical company wanted to create a new manufacturing plant on its existing campus.


Create a manufacturing plant for pharmaceutical solid dosage and liquid products that leverages technology to allow efficient production of short runs of multiple products.


The key criteria by which project managers measure their projects’ performance are scope, schedule and cost.  They have to remain in balance.  Changes in any one will affect the others.  On most facility projects, the process is to define the scope (functional and space requirements) of the project first, then develop an acceptable conceptual design that delivers these requirements.  A budget and schedule to deliver the project are developed next.  If the budget and/or schedule are unacceptable, the scope has to be tweaked until the three criteria are in balance.

Initial cost estimates and schedules were developed as soon as the project requirements (scope) were known.  These estimates and schedules were based on historical information for similar manufacturing facilities.

Our view is that the form of manufacturing facilities should be driven by the functional and space requirements of the manufacturing processes and equipment.  It is necessary to understand and design the manufacturing technologies first, before the facility is designed.  On this project, task forces were formed to study and evaluate different technologies including containment, material handling, etc.

Once a decision had been reached on the technologies to be used, process/industrial engineers were engaged to develop the concepts for the manufacturing processes and material management systems.  Conceptual designs for the building and its systems followed.

More detailed estimates and schedules were produced, based on the manufacturing equipment and conceptual building designs.  Once approved by the corporation, these estimates, schedules and concept designs became the baselines against which the project performance was measured until its completion.

Based on experience with pharmaceutical manufacturing projects, a contracting strategy was developed that allowed flexibility to make changes to the layout and equipment cost effectively.  This strategy paid off when a number of changes had to be made during the life of the project.

Project controls focused on monitoring, reporting and controlling the project scope, budget, schedule and risks.  When the monitoring identified deviations from the base lines, corrective actions were taken. The project was completed on schedule and on budget in about 30 months at a final cost of about $105 million (2010 dollars).