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Putting Technological Advances Into Practice

Two manufacturing veterans offer their observations on game-changing technology and having the right talent.

Eli Lilly’s Maria Crowe with Stanley Black & Decker’s John Lundgren, who advised CEOs to tie compensation to operating metrics

Eli Lilly’s Maria Crowe with Stanley Black & Decker’s John Lundgren, who advised CEOs to tie compensation to operating metrics

Maria Crowe, President of Global Manufacturing Operations, Eli Lilly and Company, a $20 billion Indianapolis-based pharmaceutical company with 27 manufacturing sites in 13 countries.

As part of our global quality remediation program, we installed a set of IT tools that were common to all of our manufacturing plants. Before, we had a lot of homegrown systems in use at our different locations.

Now we have a common set of global business processes and data element definitions across the globe at all of our manufacturing sites.

We review a set of metrics for every site and every contract manufacturer every month and all of that data is in the system. It’s really given us the ability to understand how we operate our manufacturing, where our products are going and where they are in between—from the shop floor to [that destination]. The evolution and connectivity of automation and IT coming together is the one of the biggest changes we’ve seen.

You can have a great production process but if you don’t have people capable of doing the work, whether that’s an engineer or a scientist, you don’t really have anything. Recruiting in the right places, on-boarding people appropriately so that they understand the company’s values and objectives and developing them so that they can play multiple roles are all critical.

In manufacturing at Lilly we don’t hire people into a job or function, we recruit in engineering and science and then they go from there into quality or operations or other places because we need a technical base across the organization. People are our most important asset.

John Lundgren, Chairman and CEO, Stanley Black & Decker, a leading provider of tools and storage, commercial electronic security and engineered fastening systems.

The ability to base what we do, what we produce as well as how it’s used in the workplace, on real performance data rather than opinion has been the biggest game-changer for us. We now have central processors within products that give us data about how they’re performing on the job site, which we couple with end user feedback. The combination of qualitative and quantitative data enables us to design to value.

In the past, we have built costs into products that weren’t adding a benefit that our customers were willing to pay for. For example, 50 percent of our revenue is outside of the U.S.—but the math of trying to sell a $500 Dewalt power tool to a general contractor in China who is making $2 an hour just doesn’t work. Being able to use the data we capture to design products for different price points in the marketplace has had tremendous value to us.


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