MilliporeSigma Recognized for Sustainability Improvements at 2019 SCALE Awards
“That’s the way we’ve always done it” is known as one of the most harmful phrases in business, as it keeps companies from exploring new ideas that could lead to innovation. However, the life science business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, which operates as MilliporeSigma in the U.S. and Canada, defies this mindset by continually looking for new ways to improve the sustainability of its operations.
The company’s innovative spirit is evident at its site in Jigani, India, where dedicated, cross-functional teams and initiatives, such as the “Challenge the Status Quo” program, led to outstanding advancements. Designed to strengthen quality, safety and operational excellence across Asia-Pacific, “Challenge the Status Quo” engages more than 20 employees—identified as “Challengers”—working in operations, distribution, manufacturing and supply chain across different countries. These Challengers work in tandem with regional and country teams to build a safer, more proactive and operationally stronger organization.
This program led to the Jigani site’s recognition by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) through the 2019 Supply Chain and Logistics Excellence (SCALE) Awards by CII Institute of Logistics. CII works to create and sustain an environment conducive to the development of India, partnering industry, government and civil society. Since 2013, the SCALE Awards have been a comprehensive and extensive program for self-evaluation and best practices in innovation and process adoption.
The Jigani team was awarded first place in the e-retail sector for two significant improvements for sustainability initiatives at their facility:
- Performed Kaizens (lean manufacturing techniques) and implemented a preventative maintenance program for chillers, air handlers and compressors—reducing energy use by 12%, while increasing production volume by 22%.
- Reduced distribution waste by optimizing the size of corrugated boxes shipped, eliminating plastic packaging and decreasing corrugated box scrap. The company reduced corrugated box scrap from 21 tons/year to zero tons/year by turning scrap corrugated boxes into packing filler material and using it to ship products.
Additionally, two major improvements also earned the Jigani team third place in Supply Chain Performance in the chemicals and fertilizer sector:
- Increased speed to customers by reducing packaging back-log from 21 days to 3.8 days. This was achieved by focusing on:
- People: Used skill mapping and selected an optimal team for packaging. The company also provided training—sending the team to automobile factories on Single Minute Exchange of Dies (SMED) concepts to reduce changeovers in packaging.
- Process: Identified and eliminated Non-Value Added (NVA) activities. The company formed a dedicated changeover team to carry out changeover activities such as creating set-ups and freeing bandwidth on the packaging team.
- Technology: Automated the liquid filling packaging process.
- Reduced service quality complaints by 70% over 2018 through packaging redesign and daily Root Cause Analysis (RCA).
“We challenge ourselves today to be the better version of ourselves tomorrow,” said Amit Saxena, site director—Jigani, India. “We aspire to achieve excellence in safety, sustainability, quality and productivity through Lean Six Sigma.”