A Program to Supervise Upjohn's Chemistry Labs
Buss, Daniel L.
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For my SIP I worked on a computer project for Upjohn - Control Division as a computer science intern. Control Division monitors the quality of all the various chemicals and drugs that Upjohn produces. After being given a part of a "lot", Control has its numerous laboratories run various tests to be sure that all of the chemical's characteristics are within standards (i.e., that the drug is fit for use.) One problem that Control Division poses for the rest of the company is lapse time. For example, if Upjohn manufactures a "lot" of aspirin, it can't just sell it to the public right after it finishes making it. FDA requirements, as well as common sense, state that the aspirin must be tested to make sure that it is aspirin and not some toxic variant there of. Thus the 30 or so laboratories in [Quality] Control will each run a different set of tests on a sample of the lot. The "lapse time" is the time between the date at which the drug is made and the date at which the drug passes inspection and can be sold. Each lab approves the drug, therefore each lab must finish its tests before the lot is approved. Thus while the average time for a lab to complete its tests may be very low, (one or two days), the actual lapse time on a lot will be very long if one lab takes a long time (say 30 days) even if all the others take only one day. So, quite commonly, one lab holds up the entire approval process and while everyone is waiting, the lot is sitting in a warehouse somewhere earning no money. My project addresses this problem by gathering statistics on all the labs to see which labs are slowing up the testing process, and thus where efforts need to be made or who needs to be yelled at. It does no good what so ever to half the average time taken per lab if the last lab is still taking the same amount of time. Likewise, a one day improvement by that slowest lab moves up the sale date of a product by a day. The former program that did this was so user unfriendly that only John Nadelin, my supervisor, could use it. It was inefficient, slow, and didn't produce accurate data as well. My project fixed all of these problems. It produced accurate data and was so user friendly that even a manager could run it.