This article is a follow-up from the co-authored November 2020 joint Planet Lean and The Lean Post article on COVID-19 vaccine process development experiences, learning, and progress that were framed around the six lean product and process development (LPPD) principles.
Prior to the pandemic, global demand for vaccines was 5 billion doses per year. This included shots for the seasonal flu, measles, chickenpox, and more. Factoring in the much-needed Covid-19 vaccines, the new estimated global demand for all type of vaccines in 2021 is 19 billion doses – nearly four times the demand we experienced just two years ago.
This massive ramp-up of global capacity requires detailed coordination across the end-to-end value stream to ensure critical raw materials are available and bottlenecks are addressed while simultaneously scaling up new, potentially risky technologies. In this article, I will discuss how lean thinking and practice can help us to succeed at this monumental undertaking.
There are two main challenges we need to address at this stage of fighting the pandemic. I outline them below.