Our experience in lean management


  • GEMBA walks are an important part of lean management at Skyepharma. Lean management is a significant element in creating value and optimizing work processes.
  • “GEMBA. What a wonderful word. The place – any place in any organisation – where humans create value.” This is the opening paragraph of the introduction of Jim Womack’s book GEMBA Walks (Lean Enterprise Institute).
  • GEMBA is a Japanese term meaning “the actual place”. In business, GEMBA refers to the place where value is created.


As a key player in the field of development, commercial manufacturing and packaging of complex oral solid dosage forms, Skyepharma is deeply committed to performance management and value creation for its clients. Skyepharma clients can rely on high level scientific expertise and team (Quality by Design, Analytical Development, Complex Oral Dosage Form Manufacturing, Regulatory Services), and also on organisational agility and flexibility resulting in accelerated times to market. The Company is designed as a One-Stop-Shop committed to maximising value across all pharmaceutical lifecycle stages. Lean management has a positive impact on the growth of our company.


David Lescuyer, EVP Oral Business, Vectura Group of Companies – President of Skyepharma Production SAS

“We are continuously improving and developing our capabilities to ensure we are able to offer our clients  state-of-the-art global development, manufacturing and packaging services. To achieve and maintain excellence, we have an innovative management style, involving  several tools, including GEMBA walks. Every business day, the management team visit different departments, to talk to the teams and work together to identify what is positive and can be reproduced or adapted in other departments, as well as where more value can be created. GEMBA walks are highly efficient management tools to promote excellence and continuous improvement and it is building a strong link of trust between our teams”

When companies use GEMBA walks as a management tool, it is often limited to manufacturing departments. However, it can also be a powerful tool in other departments, including pharmaceutical development.


Frédéric Chécot, Head of Pharmaceutical Development

“Incorporating GEMBA walks in pharmaceutical development has helped on many fronts including our continuous laboratory improvements, quality by design (QbD) our strategy relative to a particular project, project management key performance indicators as well as assisting  in the review of a new range of formulation agents.”

GEMBA walks are efficient tools for managers, but also reinforce team cohesion and motivation.


Isabelle Cachard, Human Resource and HSE Director

“We have had very positive internal feedback on GEMBA walks and the associated operational efficiencies. Decisions are taken on the ground, rapidly and are evidence based and now that our teams are functioning well on a department-by-department basis, we are looking to expand its functionality in order to promote inter disciplinary cooperation.”

“We would be happy to share good practices with other companies”, said David Lescuyer “We invite everyone who is practicing GEMBA walks or daily huddles in his/her own company to share feedback, success and challenges, as well as explore other management tools implemented on the ground to create value.”



  • There is no hiding from first-hand knowledge

Data gives us powerful information, but making conclusions based on data alone can and often will lead to flawed decisions. A regular Gemba walk will give Leaders transparent insights that is needed to challenge and validate assumptions made by data.

  • Insight is gained through frontline experience

A regular Gemba walk allows Leaders to understand the challenges employees need to overcome on a daily basis to deliver the results that are being promised to customers and partners.

  • People and process in equal measure

People are the most important assets for every business. But talented people will be held back by poor processes and average performers can be elevated by smart processes. A regular Gemba walk will help develop a culture that fixes the problems in a process and not one that blames the people performing the process.

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