We spoke with her about the role of curiosity in her and the OpEx team’s work.
Curiosity: Sheila, you’ve been with Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany for seven years. Please tell us what you do.
Sheila: In Cork, we have about 700 people working in three manufacturing and support operations. I am in Operational Excellence—or OpEx. Our role is to drive improvements and efficiencies within our processes. What all our colleagues do day-to-day is ensure that we provide our customers with the best service and deliver quality, cost-effective products when and where they need them.
Part of what we do is training and awareness in Lean Six Sigma tools and techniques (designed to improve processes and create more customer value by eliminating waste). We find it very useful in supporting the manufacturing operation and in generating a continuous improvement culture within the organization.
A big focus for us day-to-day is identifying opportunities for improvement or problem solving. Inevitably challenges will arise within manufacturing or in the business processes which may impact customer service or product quality or non-value add activities.
An important part of identifying opportunities or dealing with challenges or problem solving is to take a step back from the day-to-day work to allow the team to be more creative. We try to get the right people to identify the opportunity or tackle a problem so that we can find the right solution. The team selected brings all the right attributes, behaviors, curiosity and creativity into the environment to make sure we maximize the result.