Future-proofing our ways of working

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As the Covid-19 vaccine roll-outs continue, employers around the world are making plans for the future of work in a post-pandemic world. As an organisation that has innovation at its core, pharmaceutical giant MSD Ireland has always been future-focused.

For 130 years it has been developing medicines and vaccines for many of the world’s most challenging diseases, as part of its mission to improve lives.

It continues to be at the forefront of research to prevent and treat the diseases that threaten us, from cancers to infectious diseases such as HIV and Ebola.

Part of a global operation employing 74,000 people worldwide, MSD Ireland is one of this country’s leading healthcare companies, first established here more than half a century ago.

Today it employs approximately 2,700 employees across six sites in Tipperary, Cork, Carlow, Dublin and Dunboyne in Meath. Together these represent approximately $3 billion in investment in its Irish operations, with a combined annual turnover that ranks it as one of Ireland’s top 20 companies.

How can we future-proof our ways of working?

Here are some examples on how MSD has future-proofed their ways of working.

Growing global careers locally

MSD’s Irish sites play a critical role globally, with approximately 50 per cent of the company’s top 20 products manufactured here. “Our existing portfolio and future pipeline of medicines and vaccines ensures our employees in Ireland operate at the cutting edge of science and technology, and we’re very proud that the pioneering work undertaken by employees in Dublin, Dunboyne, Carlow, Cork and Tipperary helps to improve health and wellbeing globally,” says Laura Murphy, business excellence lead at MSD Dunboyne Biologics.

Career opportunities exist right across MSD’s diverse businesses “for people with ambition and drive to continuously grow, learn and develop,” she says.

That opportunity doesn’t end in Ireland either. “There are numerous examples of Irish employees taking up a varying range of positions with MSD around the world – furthering their careers at a global level.”

Driving global innovation from Dunboyne

As part of its continuing investment in Ireland, last year MSD announced the acquisition of a new site in Co Meath, MSD Dunboyne Biologics.

As MSD’s first single-use commercialisation facility, it plays a key role within the company’s network.

It also takes a highly innovative approach to pharmaceutical manufacturing, with state-of-the-art technology that provides a unique opportunity to work on a range of medicines to better adapt and respond to patient needs across the world, in an ever-changing environment.

Laura Murphy, business excellence lead at MSD Dunboyne Biologics.
Laura Murphy, business excellence lead at MSD Dunboyne Biologics.

“MSD’s site in Dunboyne is redefining traditional manufacturing. It has a future-focussed approach to work, with the latest innovations in technological infrastructure and equipment,” explains Murphy.

It’s not just the equipment that is innovative, the processes are too.

“The site is structured around a fully agile model which empowers people at all levels of the business to work at their best in order to maximise the site’s performance,” says Murphy.

“There’s a strong focus on bringing the right people and skills together within a team to reflect this need for agility, as well as ensuring processes are simplified in order for team members to be flexible and to be empowered to make the right decisions efficiently and effectively.”

Making every work day unique

MSD Dunboyne Biologics runs a ‘Flow to the Work’ model. “Whereas traditional manufacturing tends to be organised through ‘downstream-upstream’ teams, at MSD Dunboyne Biologics we champion a fully horizontal, flexible and dynamic working model through which teams literally ‘flow to the work’,” she explains.

Upon arriving on site, our colleagues know where they’re needed, where to go and what to prioritise. “Because of our shared overarching commitment to the patient, our feedback-rich culture, empowered teams, and flat, transparent structure built on knowledge-sharing, we are all able to reside within the team where we do our best work and where our work is most needed,” she says.

This need for agility is supported by a digital-first approach. Every single area on the site has a screen outlining the activities and operations currently ongoing so that all teams are able to monitor and track the site’s end-to-end activities in real-time.

“This approach ensures we have all the resources and knowledge we need to make the right decisions on what’s required as we design each unique workday on-site,” she says.

Making work dynamic and flexible

It’s why no two days are alike at MSD Dunboyne Biologics.

“Our site is dynamic and fast-paced, and the operations are structured to always be flexible. The culture is for everyone to be empowered to learn and upskill all the time and to be able to adapt quickly, meeting the varying needs of MSD’s global operations,” she says.

It’s a unique way of working that could not work if it wasn’t for a horizontal and empowering culture and the skills and experience of its people.

“Technology, digital infrastructure and agile workstreams are all vital parts of our site’s identity, but none of it would be possible without our people,” says Murphy.

“We have a people-first approach to everything, and all teams, at all levels, are structured to champion listening, learning, and developing, be it through formal, structured programmes like our Dunboyne University or through the dynamism of our everyday work. We also support and accelerate our diverse talent through coaching, mentoring, on-the-job training, and learning and development programmes. Learning and career development are at the core of everything we do.”

Giving careers a purpose

At the forefront of everything we do is the patient. There is no better incentive than “knowing that our scientific innovation to deliver medicines and vaccines may help millions of people around the world,” she says.

Diversity and inclusion is actively championed. “We are a global company, supporting patients worldwide, and it is critical that our workforce is representative of those patients,” says Murphy.

Moreover, “true innovation is achieved not in a vacuum but through the powerful intersection of ideas from employees from a wide range of diverse backgrounds who bring different ideas to the table – or the production floor in our case,” she laughs.

“This diversity is seen at all levels and areas of our work, from the production floor to our labs, engineering, warehouse and capability hubs.”


If you would like a career with a purpose that impacts tomorrow today, explore our career opportunities at jobs.msd.com/ireland


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