Chris Cassidy of Takeda Dunboyne is sitting in front of a computer on a desk and smiling into the camera.
Chris Cassidy. Image: Takeda Dunboyne

Why Digital 4.0 has impacted how this reliability engineer works

11 May 2020

How is reliability engineering impacted by AI, data analytics and IoT? Takeda Dunboyne’s Chris Cassidy explains.

Chris Cassidy is a senior reliability engineer at Takeda Dunboyne, where he is responsible for developing, implementing and continuously improving the pharmaceutical company’s asset maintenance and reliability strategies.

Here, he discusses his role in optimising team performance and processes at Takeda, and how new technologies are helping to shape that.

‘New technologies will become integral to the role of a reliability engineer in the future’

If there is such a thing, can you describe a typical day in the job?

Every day begins with getting to know what has happened across maintenance and engineering over the last 24 hours. Here at Takeda Dunboyne, we have a number of tier boards where we discuss our daily business and offer a chance for different hubs to reflect on upcoming work or to ask for guidance or help with upcoming projects.

As tier board facilitator, I need to be up to speed before I attend our 8.30am engineering operations tier board meeting. This is where the team comes together to discuss any safety or delivery concerns, and to agree what the focus and priorities are for the day ahead. This is an opportunity to ask for help from the team in order to achieve our milestones and prepare the site for site-readiness activities. We call it ‘flow to the work’.

My typical day is varied but is always about delivering on my commitment to the team. This can involve deciding what preventative and predictive strategies are required for our equipment, completing various assessments such as criticality ranking, equipment importance level, vendor service level requirements and reviewing stock. A great way to do that is to do a walkdown and gemba, a Japanese term for ‘go see’, to learn about the equipment and process and how everything will work when we go into manufacturing.

What types of projects do you work on?

I am working on several projects and initiatives now that will define and optimise our reliability strategies and programmes on site. Asset reliability is about ensuring all of our equipment is available when required and operates at its maximum potential. This ensures that we minimise interruptions and guarantees a continuous supply of medicine to our patients.

One of the key projects I am leading is the delivery of a strategy and roadmap for Digital 4.0 alignment and compliance on site. An example of this within engineering includes the delivery of Maximo, our computerised maintenance management system. Maximo links with Bluetooth machine sensors in the field that continuously monitor the health and performance of our equipment.

This data will be combined with process data, analysed and used to predict future failures before they occur. Maximo will then schedule the maintenance teams to take preventative action to repair the issue before it interrupts our manufacturing schedule.

What skills do you use on a daily basis?

Outside of applying my skills in electrical, mechanical and reliability engineering, it is important to have good problem-solving skills to drive these types of projects. A great way to keep your skills current is through use of our DMAIC process. This is just one of the ways in which we approach problem solving here at Takeda Dunboyne. It stands for ‘define, measure, analyse, improve, control’.

I work as a ‘blue-belt’ coach and I really enjoy supporting others across the organisation in applying DMAIC to complete their blue-belt projects. On a day-to-day basis, I enjoy the challenge of constantly improving and optimising how we work as a team.

Working in Dunboyne provides regular opportunities to apply business and operational excellence skills and experience gained throughout my career. I am currently training up on our new enterprise investigation process and learning how to investigate issues or problems that could occur in any part of our business.

What is the hardest part of your working day?

Ensuring I am working on the right priority is very important as I have many stakeholders who rely on the support from maintenance and reliability. It is imperative to deliver on that expectation, so good time and project management skills are vital.

Do you have any productivity tips that help you through the working day?

Be pragmatic. Focus on the important stuff but don’t get too bogged down in the minor details. Delegate where you can and ask for help when you need it. There is a great can-do culture in Takeda Dunboyne, and everyone supports each other to ensure we meet our priorities and goals.

When you first started this job, what were you most surprised to learn was important in the role?

The immediate opportunities to be a leader and to be self-managed were surprising. There are so many opportunities for everyone to get involved with influencing and helping to design our new processes and ways of working.

I’ve been very impressed by the level of real focus and effort to understand our patients and their needs and in ensuring they are at the core of all of our decision-making at every level.

How has this role changed as this sector has grown and evolved?

Digital 4.0 and the recent development of data analytics and the internet of things have greatly changed the way I work. New technologies such as advanced data analytics, machine learning, systems modelling, artificial intelligence and 3D printing will become integral to the role of a reliability engineer in the future.

What do you enjoy most about the job?

I love the variety and the opportunities to continuously learn, challenge and develop. I get to work on projects with a diverse group of people right across the company. I also get to communicate and work with engineering colleagues within the global Takeda network, as well as linking up with interesting people in other companies and industries.

I am really looking forward to continuing the journey from project phase through to sustaining operations here in Dunboyne and being part of a great team that will deliver such important medicines for patients.

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