Ethos of Continuous Improvement must be embedded in corporate culture…Mid-West Lean Network members hear

Undertaking data analytics and applying what is learnt from that data is the key to improving business performance. This was the clear message that members of Shannon Chamber’s Mid-West Lean Network learnt when they attended a webinar that showcased the tremendous strides Cork-based bio pharma company, AbbVie, has made since it commenced its continuous improvement journey.

The key to this success was developing a business excellence strategy that involves data analytics, campaign management and project governance. This involves measuring equipment performance, downtime, right first times, cycle times, throughput, taking employees’ suggestions on board for potential improvements and using lessons learnt from this process to deliver improvements.

Key presenters at the webinar, Gary Crowley, site director, and Michael Healy, a lean consultant with webinar sponsor Crystal Lean Solutions, who has been working on-site at AbbVie in Carrigtohill for the past twelve months, outlined how visual management for data collection and analysis has enhanced cross departmental collaboration and increased throughput in both production and batch record review and release.

Having been voted the best place to work in Ireland for the past six years, and the best place to work for women, AbbVie have clearly got it right.

As Gary Crowley stated: “We listen, and we take action. We understand that how we achieve results is an important as achieving them. We also understand that we cannot run our business based on subjectivity.

“Visual management and data analytics and how we control our processes is key particularly as we are making life changing medicines. It is so important that everything we do is centred on improvement and having that right control philosophy. Having a culture of improvement and understanding the key components of business excellence is key on our site. We have reached the stage where our employees naturally talk about key tools. They see the benefits of the improvement journey they are on and how it impacts their function and their operational areas.”

Stressing the importance of having innovative people in an organisation, Mr Crowley also said that any continuous improvement plan must link with employees’ development plans and with overall improvement plans.

This theme was further advanced by Michael Healy, who is the past year alone has seen huge gains from the company’s continuous improvement processes including reduced waste, increased throughput, increased reliability, increased performance, improved project governance and enhanced behaviours.

Encouraging webinar attendees to use visual management as a tool in their continuous improvement journeys, he added: “It will help you to be more innovative and where there is an interest in this area, more people will want to be involved and bring something different to the business.”

The webinar was the last in a series of six webinars organised by Shannon Chamber through its Mid-West Lean Network in 2021. The series will conclude on 7 December with a dynamic keynote speaker, internationally renowned leadership and learning coach Katie Anderson, details of which will be published shortly.

The Mid-West Lean Network is supported by Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland.