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A Journey to Shape Reliability Excellence at Bristol-Myers Squibb: Part 4

Read Part 1: Initial Implementation and Prioritizing of Uptime Elements
Read Part 2: Aligning a Framework Within Our Sites
Read Part 3: The Central Team’s Effort Aligned to Our Strategy

This fourth installment shows how the Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (BMS) was able to train and certify more than 200 employees as certified reliability leaders (CRLs) in just one and a half years. The series began in Uptime’s December/January 2016 issue with the initial implementation of Uptime Elements at BMS. The second installment in the February/March 2016 issue explained the alignment of the framework with the sites, while the third installment in the April/May 2016 issue covered the role of the central corporate strategy. These all supported the culture that led BMS to 200 CRLs.

Journey to 200 CRLs

The first facilitated CRL exam was held in October 2014 at BMS’s annual reliability excellence conference. This exam resulted in 28 CRLs across seven sites, planting the seeds for BMS’s journey to 200 CRLs. Each of the sites acquired an appreciation for the value of the CRL education and an appetite quickly developed to spread this experience to others in the organization.

Like many companies, BMS begins each new year with the development of objectives. These discussions begin at the top of the company and cascade downward throughout each organization. Objectives are separated into categories and each objective is aligned through a line of sight back to the overall company goals. For reliability excellence, 2015 brought with it some key objectives associated with growing the culture across not only the reliability centric positions, but across functional areas. The Uptime Elements and CRL training and certification offered a fantastic opportunity to do just that. So embedded in the central team’s objectives was a goal to reach an additional 50 CRLs across the BMS manufacturing network. While this was a documented goal, the central team informally set a goal of 100 CRLs across all of BMS.

Why was this a goal for the central team? Put simply, reliability comes from people. The CRL process allows for the removal of silos and increases the understanding of other departments and functions. It develops and demonstrates a minimal level of understanding across the framework relating reliability to BMS employees and their roles in it. It facilitates conversations about improvements that can be made to systems related to asset management and develops a sense of ownership in equipment reliability across functional boundaries. The development of CRLs is a mechanism to nurture the BMS culture.

To help facilitate this process, BMS joined the Reliability Leadership Institute (RLI). RLI offers an organization access to many benefits, including the Uptime Elements learning management system, which includes access to the body of knowledge in PDF, audio books and videos. Users log in and are guided through each passport and its knowledge checks. Additionally, the organization commits representatives to participate in the RLI community as board members, implementation and benchmarking champions and learning managers. These groups meet regularly to discuss goals, achievements, lessons learned and opportunities to expand on the current framework.

The first step in BMS’s development of CRLs was to provide access to the RLI learning management system to anyone interested in learning more about reliability. As people began to utilize the training materials, a strategy for training and certifying BMS employees was needed. With the same goal across many sites, it was decided to certify an internal employee for the training delivery and exam invigilation. The next step in the strategy was to coordinate visits to a dozen sites and fill rooms with people willing to take the course and sit for the exam.

It’s no easy task to have a production site commit to filling a room with personnel for reliability training, especially when they are needed to execute the daily mission and particularly if reliability is not something they would define as their core role. So began the efforts of e-mails and phone conversations to gain alignment on why this was an important effort and why the sites should invest their time in this training.

Honestly, for BMS, this was not as difficult as you might think. BMS employees get it; they understand that at the core of who BMS is as a company, its employees have to operate and maintain equipment in order to deliver to BMS patients. The sites recognized that the CRL was not just for maintenance reliability individuals. Many departments were engaged, including operations, manufacturing support, quality, training, validation, engineering, supply chain, metrology and more. Not only was the central team able to gain commitment for the courses, but several sites required multiple sessions to accommodate the number of people interested.

As summer approached, the central team finalized travel plans and prepared to live out of hotel rooms for a while. George Williams, CRL, CMRP, the facilitator for these sessions, scheduled each session as a one-day overview to include the exam. This was by design to help ease the burden of having many key people in training simultaneously. Individuals were encouraged to utilize the online content prior to the overview sessions and exam.

The first site to host a CRL overview discussion and exam brought 12 people together for an all-day interactive training followed by the exam. This allowed for conversations relevant to the site’s unique situation. This format was very effective and became the platform rolled out at other sites. Over the next few weeks, three other sites hosted similar events, all with their own unique approaches.

One site expanded this even further and built an eight-week program. There was a kickoff meeting to explain the process, resources and expectations. This was followed by several lunch and learn sessions that were spaced strategically to make sure the group would stay on track. In addition to preparing for the exam, the lunch and learns were designed to facilitate conversations, encourage opportunities and build relationships.

The framework provided a path to outline the journey, but didn’t prevent deeper discussions or the typical sidebar conversation. Each was supplemented with a video on a topic directly related to the framework. As the end of the program approached, there would be a concentrated, all-day training for the group, followed a day or two later with the exam. This format produced a 95 percent passing rate and has resulted in a culture tipping point in the direction of reliability across functions.

Each individual brought a unique viewpoint to the discussion, specific knowledge and questions, but each left with a common language and understanding of the framework. It was this benefit that was realized and allowed BMS to achieve the 200 CRLs. Now, it’s time to see where the journey goes from here. Perhaps someday, the CRL process will be part of onboarding each new employee.

George Williams y Robert Bishop

George Williams, CRL, CMRP, es Director Asociado, Gerente de Activos, Servicios Globales en Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (BMS). George tiene un máster en Ingeniería de Confiabilidad de la Universidad Monash y ha trabajado en BMS por 15 años. Comenzó su carrera en BMS como técnico de mantenimiento y ha ejercido varios cargos de creciente responsabilidad.

Robert Bishop, CRL, CMRP,es Ingeniero de Mantenimiento en Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (BMS) en Syracuse, NY. Rob tiene una licenciatura en Ingeniería Mecánica de la Universidad de Rochester y un máster en Bioingeniería de la Universidad de Syracuse. Rob ha trabajado en BMS por más de nueve años en varios cargos de soporte de equipos. Es un early adopter y le encanta mejorar los sistemas y la cultura.

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