Acelity uses CPD strategy to successfully respond to increased manufacturing demand
13 October 2015
In 2013, KCI, an Acelity company, faced manufacturing challenges responding to an increased demand for V.A.C.® Therapy devices, the global industry-leading negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) that promotes wound healing. Acelity is a global wound care and regenerative medicine company, and its KCI manufacturing facility in Ireland manufactures V.A.C.® Therapy devices, sterile canisters and advanced wound dressings.
Since opening in 2007, the KCI Manufacturing facility in Ireland was steadfast in remaining best-in-class while aligning with corporate business objectives constantly subject to change. The facility understood the need to strike the correct balance between cost, customer responsiveness and other business drivers. More recently, the KCI Ireland facility faced an unexpected – and unprecedented – volume of orders due to a 300 per cent increase in US demand for V.A.C.® Therapy devices, driven by the changing commercial environment. To enhance supply chain adaptability to meet demand, a new postponement model was implemented, with the pilot programmes’s goal to allow shipment of completed products within 48 hours.
Continuing Professional Development (CPD) came to the forefront as a primary strategy for supporting necessary adaptation and delivery of the business. In recent years, a shortage of highly skilled employees in the MedTech sector has emerged. Acelity understands that employee development is not merely a moral ideal of nurturing an individual’s growth, but an essential aspect of delivering organisational needs such as execution of company strategy, creation of leadership bench-strength, and succession planning. Therefore, competency development was a core focus to increase understanding of several methodologies, ultimately driving flawless deployment success of postponement. These included understanding Average Daily Demand, manufacturing assembly cycle and lead-time, calculation of economic production lot size, and TAKT time. Furthermore, the development of process excellence competences continued with the rollout of Green Belt DMAIC training and Kaizen events.
As CPD practices have become more embedded in KCI Manufacturing operations, greater attention has been given to identifying criteria best suited to specific objectives. In the case of postponement and several other projects, a focus on knowledge not only led to excellence, but also maximised the use of internal expertise. The CPD committee designed and launched a new SharePoint™ site in 2014 called the “CPD Centre”, which has grown to become the central hub through which KCI Manufacturing in Ireland now manages certain – business activities, including: storage and review of key site performance metrics, updating site projects, including postponement; and the provision of project resources. The initial challenge of ensuring the CPD Centre was actually used by employees was overcome by the inclusion of desired functionality such as instant access to holiday balances, a check-in system tracker, an internal phonebook directory, an “induction tab” containing standardised business templates and interactive product videos, as well as the creation of business unit tabs fully aligned with the KCI Manufacturing organisational structure.
As a result of postponement, KCI successfully adapted the supply chain to be more responsive to customer demands. The Ireland facility successfully reacted to the 300 per cent increase in US demand for product. What was previously a six-week lead time was reduced to less than 48 hours, with 99.9 percent of customer orders shipped within two days. Following the successful delivery of a pilot study, the postponement model was extended to cover a far wider range of KCI’s core product offerings.
In a desire to become more adaptable and competitive, many organisations are increasingly aware of the value of using CPD as an engine for change. Importantly, CPD practices that channel the collective expertise and knowledge of the workforce within a learning environment have allowed for more flexible and adaptive business execution strategies. The best-in-class results achieved through the postponement programme have not only delivered on the original objective of supporting an unexpected influx of customer orders, but have also provided the platform for KCI to expand this methodology into other products within the Ireland facility as well as deploy them into an Acelity sister manufacturing facility in the UK.
KCI Manufacturing’s CPD strategy has allowed the company to respond successfully to unplanned challenges while increasing employee knowledge. The company recognises that further improvement and expansion of current CPD offerings, such as the CPD Centre, are required to maintain a competitive edge in the industry.
David has over 10 years experience as a HR professional, with almost 7 of those as part of the HR team within KCI Manufacturing. He has led KCI’s CPD Team for a number of years and has in the past supported Engineers Ireland as an external CPD auditor. Prior to joining KCI Manufacturing, David oversaw the HR function within Coffey Construction. He has broad range of HR experience that includes talent development, recruitment, psychometrics, compensation and benefits, and employee relations et al. David holds a BA in Human Resources and Accounting from the National College of Ireland as well as an MSc in Work and Organisational Behaviour from the University of Limerick. David is currently Chairman of the Midlands CIPD.
CPD Employer of the Year Award 2015
The 2015 search for the CPD-accredited employer that uses formal learning and development to best effect is coming to a close. The aim is to recognise and reward engineering-led organisations which demonstrate best practices in the use of continuing professional development (CPD) to adapt to steps-changes in their operating environments.
The CPD Employer of the Year Award is the premium award for employers of professional engineers and technicians. Now in its twelfth year, the Award aims to recognise successful accomplishment of an organisation’s strategic vision through the use of suitable CPD initiatives. This year’s finalists will present their entries to an audience of CPD-accredited employer organisations on Wednesday, 7 October, in Clyde Road. Winners will be announced at the Engineers Ireland Excellence Awards in the InterContinental Dublin, Ballsbridge, on Friday, 6 November 2015.
In announcing these awards, Engineers Ireland was saluting organisations that have pioneered new approaches, new processes and new practices. These achievements are of national standing, of sectoral significance and they have sustained and protected thousands of jobs, if you take the totality of what our finalists have achieved.
A stellar selection of entries has been whittled down to just three – the very best of the best. The 2015 finalists comprise:
- Boston Scientific (Galway);
- Farrans Construction;and
- KCI Manufacturing.