2S8: Case Study: Eli Lilly’s Lubrication-driven Global Reliability

Suzy Hitchcock, Executive Director, Global Strategy & Advocacy, ICML


When reliability and predictive maintenance in general were not improving as quickly as desired, Eli Lilly’s management realized that some areas were better than others in the reliability space and as a result started to integrate these improvements into their business plans. Lilly’s vice president of corporate engineering has become a major supporter of reliability and has made this a priority for the overall corporate agenda.

Since winning the 2008 John R. Battle award for excellence in machinery lubrication, Eli Lilly and Co. has continued to develop its lubrication program not only in the United States but around the world. The company operates more than 20 manufacturing sites internationally, with each having its own goals, objectives, culture, challenges and reliability journey.  In 2009, Rendela Wenzel took the reins of Eli Lilly’s corporate lubrication technical team. She has continued to grow the lubrication program and has recently taken on a new role to further drive reliability globally.

This paper will outline Eli Lilly’s journey into a lubrication-driven global reliability organization. The presentation will highlight strategies applied by Wenzel for Lilly’s policies and direction for reliability and predictive maintenance (PdM) and discuss the results achieved from the program.


Suzy Hitchcock is the Executive Director, Global Strategy & Advocacy; of the International Council for Machinery Lubrication. She has a Bachelor’s in Social Communication with a major in Marketing and has been involved in industry for over twenty years, in both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. Suzy is a delegate for Australia to ISO, where she is project leader at both national and international level, for ISO standards on the qualification and assessment of lubrication and oil analysis personnel. She is a longtime collaborator of SMRP’s Certifying Organization, where she has served as volunteer proctor, globalization and translation consultant and as part of the Professional Development Team. Suzy is internationally published and a sought after presenter. Speaking regularly in conferences around the globe, she advocates for more respect and support to lubrication practitioners on a global scale.