TEAM OF THE YEAR AWARD FINALIST, LARGE-SCALE PROJECTS: BMS's ITO GROUPBristol-Myers Squibbs Indiana Technical Operations (ITO) group is comprised of two different sites. The Evansville facility, in existence for more than 40 years, has a rich history and culture, and a tenured work force where leadership has been based on seniority within the organization. The Mt. Vernon plant 15 miles away, which reopened in 1998 as a greenfield facility, has had a performance-driven system and modern plant management principles from day one. Evansville manufactures primarily prescription pharmaceuticals, while Mt. Vernon produces popular over-the-counter drugs such as Excedrin and Comtrex. A few years ago, however, one thing that both sites had in common was the prospect of closure.Back then, departments operated as functional silos, yields and efficiencies lagged, inventory buildups were the norm, and workers did not seek to develop their careers. Something had to change and it did. A major focus was the adoption of Lean principles. Acknowledging the need for additional resources, management relied on outside consultants to assist in the areas of team development, performance management software solutions, and methodologies to effect incremental, targeted change where needed. ITO senior director John Wellemeyer calls it a homegrown approach that balances the latest theoretical concepts with the practical needs of the two sites.Judging from the results, the approach has worked:
- Over the past several years, cycle time has been reduced by 80%. Management has drawn from sources such as The Goal and the World Class Manufacturing movement.
- Following Factory Physics methodologies, the team has achieved a 75% work-in-progress (WIP) inventory reduction, and five times faster inventory turns.
- Employee productivity (measured in output per employee hour) has more than doubled since the 1990s.
- Product variability has significantly decreased. First-pass quality has risen to nearly 95% in the last three years.
- Both sites currently have gone more than 800 days without a lost-work-time accident.
- Employee communication and engagement has improved, as demonstrated by company survey results.