Global Case Study

Opcenter (Preactor) APS

Pacira Pharmaceuticals

Pacira eases scheduling pain with Opcenter APS, formerly Preactor Advanced Planning & Scheduling

Pacira Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on the development, commercialization, and manufacture of development and manufacturing of injectable pharmaceutical products for use in hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers. Controlling post surgical pain is the key to improving patient outcomes, yet up to 80% of patients report pain that is moderate to extreme in intensity after surgery. In addition to the patient population that where opioid analgesics are problematic (elderly, obese, sleep apneic), the rising concerns the consequences of opioid analgesics in suitable patient populations creates opportunities to develop alternatives. Pacira is addressing that need with EXPAREL is a local analgesic that utilizes bupivacaine in combination with the proven product delivery platform, DepoFoam®.

In late 2013, the company increased capacity to meet demand, which made the job of scheduling shop orders more complex in spite of a simple product routing. EXPAREL involves a two-step process that consists of manufacturing a bulk and then packaging. Tripling the bulk production process ended up constraining the product vessel availability and subsequently the filling process.

The scheduling model required an APS model because a custom scheduling rule was required to capture time-based constraints to stay within the processing window of the bulk manufacturing to guarantee product efficacy. The window of time was layered onto a tank model in order to accurately capture the duration of all the inter-operational processes to ensure that the schedule was correct in indicating that the batch step was valid. As a manual process, the master scheduler would create a schedule and if the solution was invalid, would delay the batch start time and begin building the schedule again. This was in large part why manual scheduling was so time-consuming.

“Preactor has reduced the time that it takes to (re)schedule jobs from several hours down to around 30 minutes,” says Steven Broderson, the master scheduler for Pacira. Steve uses Preactor for scheduling jobs between monthly MRP planning runs. Preactor resides on a server located in the Pacira corporate office in New Jersey and is utilized at the manufacturing site in San Diego, CA.

Preactor was deployed with Expandable ERP utilizing an integration jointly developed by Expandable and Quinn & Associates. Expandable® ERP primary markets are medical, high tech, industrial equipment, and general manufacturing.

“The success at Pacira shows the flexibility of Preactor. Many scheduling solutions work well in discrete environments but are not good matches in production environments that include process and continuous, overlapping flow. Preactor fits nicely into process- and mixed-mode manufacturing once you fully understand and appreciate Preactor’s capabilities,” observes Fraser Bonnett, President of Quinn & Associates and Director of the Preactor business unit.

“Fraser Bonnett at Quinn & Associates has been extremely helpful in assisting me with the maintenance and configuration Preactor. The level of service and the response time I receive would be considered world class,” adds Steven.

Without a doubt that Preactor has eased the pain of scheduling at Pacira Pharmaceuticals.

*In 2018, Lean Scheduling International & Quinn & Associates merged underneath the umbrella of Lean Scheduling International. Fraser Bonnett, who successfully led this implementation, continues implementing Preactor APS, now known as Opcenter APS, for LSI. 

Opcenter (Preactor) Advanced Planning
• What to make • When to make it • How much to make • Where to make it • Required materials & resources
Opcenter (Preactor) Advanced Scheduling
• How best to make it • Sequencing • Synchronization • Priorities, constraints, & conflicts • Monitor execution & change
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