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Interview with HCmed's Manufacturing Department Director, Chester Lin

As the Director of the Manufacturing Department at HCmed Innovations, Chester Lin leads the department on plant design, management and production, aiming to improve production and efficiency whilst reducing waste and costs in the manufacturing process. To achieve so, the manufacturing site at HCmed has applied several management models, which Chester explains in the interview this week.

1. During the process of manufacturing, how do you ensure the production efficiency and quality of the products?
In the manufacturing process, facilities aim to achieve higher efficiency and improve the quality of the products whilst reducing operation cost. Two kinds of management methods can be applied to help achieve this goal – Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) and Total Quality Management (TQM). TPM focuses on the ongoing maintenance and improvement of the production process, targeting to improve efficiency and reduce the costs. TQM on the other hand, focuses on improving the quality of a facility’s output by eliminating errors in the produce process and by reducing the number of defects. Although TPM and TQM are two different approaches, they resemble in the sense that they share the same goals of increasing efficiency and avoiding waste creation. Moreover, both require commitment from cross functional teams and evolvement of every employee at every level. Besides applying TPM and TQM techniques, HCmed also conducts process validation and ensures the qualification of employees to maintain the quality of the products and to ensure that the manufacturing processes are up to the company’s own standards.

2. How do you coordinate and manage the manufacturing site to sustain or improve production efficiency?
The Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) model can help an organization or a manufacturing site with continuous improvement in a process or system. Through job rotation and observing the results of a PDCA cycle, we place the suitable manpower and resources at the right place and at the right time. The PDCA model can be used in a wide range of areas, including management and manufacturing. This model can also be applied when aiming to sustain or improve production efficiency. After establishing the objectives and executing the plan, we evaluate the results and observe if any significant changes were made. We could adjust based on the results we observed. For future plans on sustaining or improving production efficiency, we can already proceed with a better baseline.

3. What are the advantages of implementing an automated production line over manual assembling?
Compared to manual labor, automation production lines typically generate higher production rates and reduce factory lead times while lowering possibilities for human error and providing a consistent output. Automated systems generally result in less variability and make more efficient use of materials, thus resulting in less waste being created. As automated lines are playing an increasingly major role in factory production, HCmed has been planning the implementation of automated production lines to increase productivity and to better meet our customers’ demands.

4. How do you ensure the capacity of every production line for different customers?
In order to fulfill the requirements of every customer, HCmed customizes the production line that enables manufacturing of different devices to reach optimized performance for each formulation. To improve efficiency and lower the production cost when facing orders of different products, HCmed applies a flexible manufacturing system (FMS) and a pull production system in the production process. An FMS allows us to be able to adapt to the changes in the quantity and type of the product. This flexibility allows HCmed to utilize a make-to-order production strategy, making customization for products possible for every customer. The implementation of a pull production system is just as important. As a pull system focuses on producing products based on actual demand and not on anticipated demand, its application reduces waste and avoids overstocking. Under this production model, we are able to maximize our resources and achieve better efficiency.