Our Practical Process Improvement (PPI) Business System empowers employees to solve problems they encounter, creating a culture of continuous improvement. Through this practice, we are able to drive profitable growth by continuously increasing quality, productivity and customer allegiance. Kaizen events enable our colleagues to challenge the status quo to improve product and process performance and implement actions to eliminate waste.
2018 PPI Metrics: 47,600+ or 68% of employees trained on our PPI Business System
Total PPI Productivity Savings in 2018: $338M
At Thermo Fisher Scientific, we enjoy an environment in which our colleagues are passionate about their work and encouraged to influence the way we do business. Highly engaged teams have a positive impact on customers, communities and shareholders. Each year, we ask every individual to give feedback on critical elements of our culture. Our annual Involvement survey details our progress on:
- Company leadership and effective management
- Inclusion: fostering a workplace where everyone is valued for their individual differences
- Involvement: employee commitment to the company
Additionally, our colleagues are encouraged to utilize Thermo Fisher’s Ethics Hotline if they need to provide feedback related to a violation of any law, regulation or the Code of Business Conduct and Ethics.
Company culture leads to big win
Our Vilnius, Lithuania, site was awarded the prestigious Shingo Prize in 2017 to honor its culture of continuous improvement. The Shingo Prize is considered the gold standard in operational excellence for organizations that foster continuous improvement.
Thermo Fisher is one of only 15 companies in the world to have received this award.
As part of the application process, the site hosted a three-day site visit for six Shingo Institute experts who reviewed every aspect of the site processes, observed the degree to which leaders focus on principles and culture, and assessed the site's dedication to aligning systems that drive efficient behaviors at all levels.
"What the team observed firsthand is a mature culture of continuous improvement that permeates every level of the organization," said Paul Terry from the Shingo Institute. "We are particularly impressed with their system of daily accountability meetings, reinforced by an effective Gemba Walk system that enables management to connect with the people and identify and act on daily improvement opportunities."
According to the Shingo Institute's report, Thermo Fisher received the highest evaluation score possible in all evaluation fields. "We are delighted that our continuous improvement culture – the way we work and strive for operational excellence – is recognized by such a prominent organization," said Algimantas Markauskas, Vice President, Manufacturing Operations. "The highest recognition of excellence awarded to us reflects the Vilnius site commitment, every day, to our customers and to world-class quality standards. This is a tremendous accomplishment achieved by every single one of the enthusiastic team members of the Vilnius facility and I am so proud of being a part of this success."
Since embracing a culture of continuous improvement, the Vilnius site has:
- Logged more than 1,000 days without a safety incident
- Improved line-item fill rates and increased on-time delivery rates to record-high levels
- Maintained a Customer Allegiance Score above industry standard
- Hosted more than 2,000 Kaizen events
- Trained more than 90 percent of the site’s colleagues on our PPI Business System
- Increased overall engagement, as measured through the Employee Involvement Survey
Our culture of talent development
At Thermo Fisher, we are committed to the development of all our diverse, global colleagues by enhancing their skills and knowledge to achieve current and future business objectives. Talent is the differentiator to our overall growth and success and we’ve instituted a range of processes and programs to ensure we are attracting, cultivating, and retaining talent. From our colleague referral program to our Graduate Leadership Development Program, we continue build strong internal and external sourcing. Our executives and leaders participate in frequent discussions around organizational talent, leveraging workforce data and predictive analytics to better anticipate the needs of our business based on growth and market demand.
Discussing and managing performance is a collaborative and ongoing process between the employee and manager. At Thermo Fisher, we formally run an annual performance process with a mid-year check-in for colleagues around the world. Having regular discussion ensures everyone is clear on their priorities, as well as opportunities for individual development to help them reach their full potential and career aspirations.
Ongoing development is critical to allow Thermo Fisher to thrive as a larger organization in an increasingly complex business world. To support and supplement ongoing talent, performance and development conversations, our colleagues have access to a robust, building-block management and leadership development curriculum that ranges from on-demand / self-service to manager-nominated programs.
- We offer programs for new and aspiring managers, development programs for more experienced managers, and global leadership programs for executives.
- We also provide on-demand materials to support managers based on performance or business activity including Global People Manager Development webinars and access to hundreds of books, articles, videos, eLearning and more through our own Thermo Fisher University Learning Portal. This also includes a robust collection of Professional, Management, Leadership and Executive development curricula, which are either leader led or taught by faculty from institutions, such as Harvard Business School and Tuck School of Business (Dartmouth).
- We also offer and continue to build function-specific leadership development programs, including Operations, General Management and Human Resources, which are year-long, nominated programs for our emerging leaders. We continue to enhance functionality and access of all our offerings to allow our colleagues to increase their knowledge and learning.
- For executives, we have compiled a selection of best-in-class external executive education offerings through our online learning portal, offering breakthrough research-based insights and providing excellent networking and learning opportunities with business leaders from around the world.
Nurturing early talent
Thermo Fisher supports early talent seeking hands-on experience. Each summer, college students who hope to join the next generation of scientists, engineers, business professionals and leaders, come to Thermo Fisher to obtain real-world experience through our internship program. In 2018, more than 256 collegiate summer interns engaged with our specialists in engineering, research and development, finance, marketing, sales, operations, communications and information technology (IT).
Based on student intern feedback, our program ranked on the WayUp Top 100 Internship Programs of 2018 for providing trust, accountability and challenging work.
As part of our focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education, we also hosted high school STEM summer interns at our Tewksbury, Massachusetts, and Rodano, Italy, sites to provide complementary experience to their classroom curriculum. The 2017 program marked the inaugural class of STEM interns in Tewksbury, where in collaboration with local high schools, we offered seven students an immersive hands-on experiential learning experience that included individual projects, site tours and a team product design challenge.
In Italy, high school chemistry students worked on analytical workflows to detect air pollution and measure the amount of protein in animal feed. Thermo Fisher is committed to creating opportunities for students that will develop the next generation of scientists and engineers.
To create our pipeline of talent who will be the next generation of business leaders, we also offer seven leadership development programs for new graduates determined to accelerate their careers with robust, on-the-job learning opportunities, mentorship and structured learning plans.
Our Leadership Development Programs support: General Management (Graduate Level), Human Resources (Graduate Level), Finance, Information Technology, Operations, Procurement, and Sales
Our Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) professionals are vital to the success of our company. A strong commitment to EHS helps us achieve our business goals by enabling productivity and quality improvements, ensuring stewardship of our employees and environment, and creating a strong culture of Involvement.
Lost-time injury rate:
- LTIR 2018: .29
- LTIR 2017: .25
- LTIR 2016: .32
- LTIR 2015: .46
Protecting our colleagues and the environment
The Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) is a European Union regulation established in 2006 that has determined the need for the reduction and discontinuation of more than 140,000 chemicals with a phased implementation over the next decade, including the chemical diglyme.
Diglyme is used in the manufacturing of our Dynabeads product line, which is valuable to our customers as Dynabeads can be used in a variety of research and testing in the medical fields. If Dynabeads were no longer available, the medical conditions relating to these tests would be more difficult to diagnose, putting millions of patients’ lives at risk.
Thermo Fisher is committed to identifying a replacement for diglyme so that we can continue to enable our customers to make the world healthier. In order to take immediate action to ensure a healthy and safe workplace, in 2017 our EHS colleagues in Norway utilized our PPI Business System to identify ways to improve the handling, storage and usage of the chemical. Our teams implemented several improvements, including increased training and new procedures, while focusing on the introduction of engineering controls. Through Kaizen events and Just-Do-Its, the team identified ways to remove the chemical, thereby reducing environmental risk as well as employee exposure through increased ventiliation and other modifications.