Biogen advances ESG & CI initiatives with DevonWay software
Global commitment to ESG
"At Biogen, our mission is clear: we are pioneers in neuroscience," states the website of this Fortune 500 biotechnology leader. But it's also a global leader in Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG), committed to corporate responsibility.
Biogen recently set a record of nine consecutive years of recognition on Dow Jones Sustainability World Index, a testament to ongoing efforts addressing health equity, innovation, the climate crisis, and human capital development with a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Biogen is a finalist in the Verdantix Innovation Excellence Awards 2022 in the Sustainability Strategy Implementation category for their implementation of Sustainability Project Tracking using DevonWay software
In September 2020, Biogen launched a 20-year, $250 million commitment called Healthy Climate, Healthy Lives™ to eliminate its use of fossil fuels by 2040 and improve public health. Biogen became the first Fortune 500 company to commit to going beyond net zero to become fossil fuel free. An important element of Healthy Climate, Healthy Lives is employee engagement, notably continuous improvement ideas and mindsets.
Biogen was using DevonWay for Continuous Improvement
In 2020, Biogen implemented an enterprise-wide Continuous Improvement (CI) project portfolio program using DevonWay EHSQ software, internally called Enterprise DevonWay/VISTA Continuous Improvement. They use the system to track thousands of continuous improvement (CI) projects globally from idea through review, project initiation, detailed planning, execution, and completion using DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control), a data-driven quality methodology for process improvement.
DevonWay/VISTA CI is the source system for all reporting savings associated with productivity across the Biogen enterprise. It systematically supports a closed-loop business process for forecasting, monitoring, and realizing cost savings across the business. It fosters transparency and accountability for driving continuous improvement within each of Biogen’s functional areas. It is also the source system for employee rewards and recognition associated with CI contributions and impact.
They use DevonWay/VISTA CI to track forecasted and actual savings for these projects, which come from all functional and regional areas of the company. From launch in June 2020 to spring 2022, they tracked over 2,600 projects with associated savings of over $300 million.
Sustainability is part of corporate continuous improvement
To support Healthy Climate, Healthy Lives employee engagement and continuous improvement, Biogen launched a program for sustainability projects in August 2021 and needed to very quickly provide a system that would engage employees worldwide, in all regions and all functional areas.
Biogen implemented Sustainability Project Tracking in DevonWay and rolled it out to employees worldwide within weeks, no small feat given that Biogen has over nine thousand employees in 38 office locations across 33 countries.
DevonWay’s usage-based pricing means no seat licenses necessary for thousands of new users worldwide, which boosted the business case by making it a low-risk, high-reward effort.
The system makes it easy for employees to enter their sustainability ideas from anywhere into a central repository, automates structured review workflows that enable consolidation of ideas and fast-tracking projects with the highest impact, and gives visibility to all employees, including senior management, into actions taken and impacts achieved.
Positive business results — fast
Biogen received substantial business benefits from Enterprise DevonWay/VISTA Continuous Improvement, including Sustainability Project Tracking, which enabled the company to:
- Share one standard global process and nomenclature for recording and reporting on CI projects
- Reduce manual work associated with collecting data for monthly CI governance meetings and quarterly CI reviews
- Facilitate a closed-loop process between CI benefits and the FP&A budget/actual financial review process
- Have a single data entry point for all CI project ideas globally and a single source of financial information related to CI savings
- Build the data repository for identifying opportunities for employee rewards and recognition associated with CI activities
- Run CI portfolio reporting at the Functional and Enterprise level
- Instantly get summary-level financial savings recording for Optimization activities related to Procurement, Operational actions, and non-discretionary projects as well as detailed project recording or summary level savings recording for Optimization activities
Specific to the Sustainability Project Tracking, employee engagement was "fantastic" with several hundred sustainability project ideas submitted in the first few months. Sustainability projects they are implementing and evaluating include electronic vehicle charging stations, solar array installations, and choosing vendors and partners who are certified as “Green Label” following ISO 14024 and other standards.
They evaluate each project based on expected impact and savings, which are categorized as either hard savings, soft savings, or non-financial benefits such as employee or customer satisfaction, process quality, risk reduction, or compliance improvement. The system also tracks actuals over time to see if projects deliver the expected benefits, allowing them to tune and adjust as they go. They were able to automate those workflows in just a few weeks using DevonWay.
Their centralized system provides company-wide visibility. Thus, where it makes sense, they can consolidate sustainability projects to avoid duplicate efforts. And they can more easily replicate successes throughout the company.
A significant benefit is that we integrated sustainability projects into our existing rigorous continuous improvement process on the same centralized SaaS system.