Beckman Coulter - The Letter of Truth and Disintegration

Dear Mr. Culp,

Beckman Coulter was considered the gold standard in clinical laboratory analyzers. Since I went to medical technology school 30+ years ago, I’ve had a lot of respect and admiration for the company and its products. It was an honor to have been first offered a position in the, quality department at the DSL division in Webster, Texas, then when that section closed to have the opportunity to work as a field service engineer. I have nothing but the highest regard for my manager, Bill Briere, and co-workers, Carl Walters, John Box, and Ruben Flores.

It is therefore with the best of intentions that I would like a moment to bring some disturbing practices to your attention. In your letter dated October 22, 2013, you note that service is an area for growth opportunity…as a differentiator for our company…aligning us with our customers. That is all more true than you can imagine.

During my first year as a FSE, my soft skills development plan was to ask customers what they liked most and least about BCI and our products and why they chose us. Across the board, they responded that most clinical analyzers do the same thing, but what they like about BCI is the service. They noted that we do our best to provide same day service and unless we need to order parts not on hand, we fix it that day. In the clinical laboratory where patient results are critical, having working instruments is paramount. A lot of that expertise in being able to repair these complex instruments is now compromised. Time and money is spent training each engineer on each instrument we are to service. To repair the instruments quickly and efficiently also requires experience.

As I understand one of our core value drivers is “the Best Team Wins” with one of the measurements being retention of talent. In the last year, in order to cover in areas that have lost critical numbers of FSE, I have worked in south Florida, North Dakota, Minnesota, Detroit, Austin, and East Texas (my home territory is Houston). We are clearly not retaining talent and are in fact losing valuable assets the company has invested quite a lot in.

This is particularly disturbing after having listened to Tom Joyce’s message explaining Danaher’s core values. One of those values is “customers talk, we listen” and to see this in action, our strategic planning is to make life easier for our customers. Based on my experience, this is not happening. One example is that we have customers who pay for 24/7 service, now one engineer is covering such a huge territory when we are on call, in effect we are not providing this service we promised. We are instead just talking to them on the phone and letting them know someone will be there first thing in the morning…how many of those customers do you think are going to renew a contract like that?

A few days after one particular team phone meeting with Andrew Hyndman, I contacted Bill, my manager, to let him know I had never been so insulted. During the phone meeting, Andrew stated that we were “walking our dog and having breakfast” after clocking in and that he expected us to clock in when we got in the car to go on our first call. After a long silent pause, another engineer, Brandon, responded that he (and as far as he knew every other FSE) clocked in at 7:30 when he got his calls, turned on his computer, logged onto VPN while calling the customer, discussed the issue with them and agreed upon a time to arrive, then got onto web-to-go to get the call details, then possibly onto ProService to look at the customers instrument errors while calling the coordinator to let him know the name of the client he spoke to as well as the time agreed for arrival and sometimes if possible, quickly checked e-mail to see if something critical needed to be responded to. That takes 30-40 minutes before getting in the car to leave. Andrew again said that he did not expect us to clock in until getting in the car. Brandon point blank asked him if we were supposed to work off the clock or not do those functions. Andrew responded that no, we were not supposed to work off the clock, but that yes, we were to get all the other work accomplished…. Bill responded I wasn’t the first to let him know how I felt about that “meeting”. In every team meeting we have had with Andrew or John Dion, I’ve come away with the same feeling that we are not respected or trusted. It’s really odd that I don’t know anyone who goes to work every morning thinking anything but they want to do their best that day…yet the two of them seem to believe otherwise.

To sum it up, when Danaher first bought BCI, it seemed like new energy moved in, energy to get rid of waste and energy to revitalize R&D in this complex ever changing business, I was excited. However due to decisions by my upper management (who are not using the Gemba model) resulting in both lack of retention of talent and lack of caring about our customers, I wonder how long it can be sustainable.

Highest regards,

Theresa Tompkins

713-492-XXXX

Theresa Tompkins, MT (ASCP)

Field Service Engineer

R&D is dying a slow death in

R&D is dying a slow death in all diagnostics companies. The rate of growth of new or improved tests no longer justifies large R&D departments. It is hard to imagine anyone making a large investment in new systems with revolutionary features since most of today's systems meet customer needs. Smaller investments will be made in incremental improvements. It's always easy to blame management, but in this case it seems to be more of a matter of the state of the art within the industry and the increasing commodity nature of the products.

but the company has such nice

but the company has such nice reviews on Glassdoor...

I also agree and as long as

I also agree and as long as tools like DBS are around we will only see a further decline. DBS only empowers those who were incapable in the past.It is no wonder that R&D is dying a slow but certain death in Beckman.The shareholder rules !!!.

Totally agree with that last

Totally agree with that last post

It is interesting to read so

It is interesting to read so many threads about diagnostics companies that all sound the same. Remember the good old days when management appreciated the workers? Remember the teamwork? Remember the overall energy and enthusiasm? Where has it all gone (wringing hands)?

Well, folks, I am sorry to inform you that those days are gone at all of the major diagnostics companies and they are not going to come back any time soon. This is neither the fault of the employees or management, but represents a change in the nature of the business itself. Unlike the good old days, the business is no longer expanding rapidly. Compare the number of new tests coming on the market today with the numbers 20 or more years ago when companies were adding all sorts of 'new' tests to their menus. It all started with routine chemistries and ultimately extended to immunochemistry which included therapeutic drugs, drugs of abuse, and a long list of serum proteins plus a few additional 'routine' colorimetric chemistry tests. Nowadays, everyone pretty much has the same menu and, for most analytes, performance among the major manufacturers tends to be comparable.

What does this all mean. It means that diagnostics has evolved from a dynamic and growing business into pretty much of a commodity business. When was the last time you saw a new system and said: Wow, this is really new, different, and better. A long, long time ago. And with the advent of the commodity era came a much smaller reliance on R&D and inventiveness to achieve competitive advantage. Now it's more in the 'deal' with the lab, special prices for those who bundle their diagnostics purchases, and reliability (which is pretty much taken for granted by most customers who expect their systems to work each and every day without problems). And, when you belong to a part of the organization that is no longer essential to its growth and success, you are ultimately held in lower esteem and are less valuable to the company and, hence, treated more and more like dirt.

The above is not unique to Beckman or Danaher, but is being experienced at Siemens (that combination of the old DPC, Dade-DuPont, and Bayer-Technicon), at Roche (most of which is the old Boehringer-Mannheim business), and Abbott (who were always rough on their employees).

I'm sorry if I am the one to have to expose today's reality for what it is, but knowing the situation helps to understand how things are where you work, and allows those who want a career in a growing business to look elsewhere.

Diagnostics isn't dead .... it's just in a state of suspended animation.

They hear about why from

They hear about why from every good employee that leaves on their own terms. They just choose to do nothing about it and pretend that it is an isolated incident. The company will fail because of this Policy. Lou Rosso ex CEO and CFO and President used to say: "the most valuable asset of Beckman Instruments goes home every night at 5:00, and he meant it. Back when Beckman was great. They forgot what made them great when they got too rich....Maybe they could do a "white team analysis" on this and rediscover why they were great.

Beckman Coulter treats their

Beckman Coulter treats their technical staff horribly. They expect them to work like dogs on Mon, Tues, Wed, and Thurs and send them home early on Friday to avoid paying OT to these guys. Hiring DM's at other companies joke that when they have an open position they are inundated with Beckman employees trying to get out--. Danaher will trim the fat so tight that their Field Service will consist of newbies that have no idea what they are doing. This will happen while the true talent is picked up by the other companies that still value their employees and will profit from Danaher’s GREED

We just bought and AU 680

We just bought and AU 680 analyzer. What a joke. The once great Beckman reduced to nothing. This analyzer is the same thing that was being sold in the 1980's. Where did the DXC line go??? It may have had its issues but it was the best thing out there. Looks like Beckman has no clue what we customers want. This is the last time my institution will by from this company. We go scammed with this AU. Dont be as naive as we were. Look elsewhere for Chemistry instrumentation.

How can Biofind continue to

How can Biofind continue to allow people to get anonymously career assassinated?

Someone did the same thing to me when I worked for a company in Massachusetts

Well I'm one of many that

Well I'm one of many that have been let go in another round of layoffs. I feel sorry for the guys in the field…those who don't work for Beckman have no clue how awful it is for the field techs and dm's out there. Its as if they want the techs to die out in the field. The cheaper younger crew are not cut out for this work…they refuse to work the long hours with no parts and intense scrutiny that DBS puts engineers under. Not only is the field getting cut, even R&D is getting cut…so be ware of more shotty equipment going out to customers. Its crucial.

Yeah, Beckman stinker getting

Yeah, Beckman stinker getting her panties pulled down. Looking at that bubbling fadge... Poo!

Very cool. Beckman stinker!

Very cool. Beckman stinker!

I would definitely be

I would definitely be interested in finding out who posted a confidential letter to a public message board. If I were you, I would look at my options. After all, someone has sullied your reputation by making this stupid decision. All it takes is a Google search to pull this info up for possible future employers to see. Not cool.

Experienced technical staff

Experienced technical staff that left in frustration? In this economy, with mouths to feed and bills to pay? It's traditional at bec to trash people that were let go and it probably makes the ones left feel a little more secure to call them deadwood but it's more likely that a lot of the experienced technical staff were escorted out the door by security not long after the integration was finalized. Experienced is expensive compared to somebody that meets the minimum experience and education of the job description. Since associates are interchangeable it makes sense to the parent company to fire experienced and hire cheap, and it's easier to keep newbie expectations low long term when they don't know any better. Making profit by slashing costs like this is lower risk than actually progressing and innovating, at least until the brand name gets so tainted that market share drops. Low risk is what shareholders like and by the time the market becomes a real problem the folks that made these decisions will have moved on.

I did write this, but I

I did write this, but I didn't post it here - someone on LinkenIn told me about this posting. I sent it to Larry after I'd already given my 2 weeks. The environment is too punitive for current employees to comment.
I also sent this letter to HR before my exit interview. It was a long interview and they called me the following week for more information. The HR person said they are aware too many FSE are leaving but none previous to me had really said why in detail. My hope it that positive changes will result to strengthen the company rather than continue it's current course. Theresa

So who posted it here, either Larry, or Staff, or HR? Interesting question!

Danaher could save more money

Danaher could save more money by paying technical associates more, and administrative associates (management) less.

All of the highly expensive and time-consuming re-work (service, assay development, customer trouble-shooting, etc) is due to incompetent newbies who replaced the experienced technical staff who left in frustration.

"My hope it that positive

"My hope it that positive changes will result to strengthen the company rather than continue it's current course"

It's a nice thought but based on the history of the parent company with their other acquisitions it isn't likely. More probable they were trying to figure out exactly at what point you decided to leave so that remaining associates could be pushed right up to that line but not over. The business model is based on associates being fungible resources and concepts like quality and service being just points on a graph. Associate's expectations will be "managed" so that maximum labor can be extracted at minimum expense. The products will be made as cheaply as possible and support services slashed while the brand name is milked.

I did write this, but I

I did write this, but I didn't post it here - someone on LinkenIn told me about this posting. I sent it to Larry after I'd already given my 2 weeks. The environment is too punitive for current employees to comment.
I also sent this letter to HR before my exit interview. It was a long interview and they called me the following week for more information. The HR person said they are aware too many FSE are leaving but none previous to me had really said why in detail. My hope it that positive changes will result to strengthen the company rather than continue it's current course. Theresa

So low quality. It is like.

So low quality. It is like. If you get a new car, and the dealer tells you that after 6 months the automatic windows and the ac won't work .
What a piece of s...t. let's go Sysmex. Toyota never dies!!!!!!!!!

In Miami the cheap as.......s

In Miami the cheap as.......s are now inventing to debug two units at the time. The units are not bad enough with the letters attached to them saying that after 6 months the unit's ttm will fail but now the unit is going to be manufactured with the lowest quality you can buy for the same piece of crap
Best Regards the Gangahers ( money dynamos )

"If you see the blog from

"If you see the blog from SIEMENS the employees are not happy same is the case with Aboott, Roche, BCI and J&J... so all are same or its just the natue of the employees..."

how works our global economic system? global players work like that with every resource they have and employees are one of it!

If you see the blog from

If you see the blog from SIEMENS the employees are not happy same is the case with Aboott, Roche, BCI and J&J... so all are same or its just the natue of the employees...

I agree with you about every

I agree with you about every point related to the systemic oppression from upper management toward FSEs. You mention this person name Andrew Hyndman. He is the most opprevise manager I have ever known. He has been destroying the service organization.

"...when Danaher first bought

"...when Danaher first bought BCI, it seemed like new energy moved in, energy to get rid of waste and energy to revitalize R&D..."

Really?

Any response from Larry Culp

Any response from Larry Culp yet? Or any other Beckman management? Theresa, are you still a Beckman employee, or has there been any disciplinary action due to this posting?

Agreed on the unison. Should

Agreed on the unison. Should start a union.

It is worse in the UK. No

It is worse in the UK. No resource and no MD. All gone.

Well it's clear from this

Well it's clear from this that BC have vastly insufficient resource to support their products. Is the situation the same in the UK?

Ummmmmmmmm.... interesting

Ummmmmmmmm.... interesting post.

Have you noticed the barn door is open and the horse is long gone? How can anyone remove their name from here once it is published?

Please take your name off of

Please take your name off of this post. I'd hate for your honesty to be your downfall.

Great line: Danaher

Great line: Danaher "embraces metrics with a masturbatory zeal".

[Sad part is everyone is too

[Sad part is everyone is too scared to stand up and say it...if its all done in unison...then there is not much to dispute..but complaining to coordinators or DM's are useless because they are caught in the same ugly mess.]

Nothing said by any Danaher "associate" will make a difference at this point. BEC was on a slow road to destruction well before BH and SG. Much can be traced back to JW. The last BEC executive that really cared about Beckman employees was Dr. Beckman, may he rest in peace.

The Danaher honchos are just trying to make the best of their lousy acquisition. They will pick the carcass and sell what is left to the highest bidder.

Sadly the pawns in this global chess game are the employees, many who worked countless hours, often away from home, hoping someday to retire with dignity. For most, the retirement is gone. In many cases along with the career. Meanwhile the decisionmakers who really are responsible for this mess will (or have) ridden off into the sunset with lucrative severance packages.

Sad part is everyone is too

Sad part is everyone is too scared to stand up and say it...if its all done in unison...then there is not much to dispute..but complaining to coordinators or DM's are useless because they are caught in the same ugly mess.

I noticed that the original

I noticed that the original author's post was "flagged". What does that mean on this forum?

Well, there's at least one

Well, there's at least one way to do what you do and still play by the stated rules. You clock in at 7:30 from the front seat of your car. You drive to the local McDonalds or Starbucks which has free WIFI(therefore your car has moved so the GPS is happy) and do your morning routine from there. A little noiser, and you don't have your desk or supplies or printer there so you can't do inventory stuff, but you are "moving" and you're doing the same admin and your first call on-site time remains the same, plus you charge all that admin stuff to the travel time for the first call. It's an old, old Beckman saying from some old experienced field engineers; tell me the numbers you want and I'll give them to you. There's another old engineering maxim. GOOD -FAST -CHEAP; pick two.

From what I have seen at this website, it's the same everywhere. Welcome to 21st Century Business. As a guy told me in 1975 while we were standing in front of a construction site, hoping to be hired that day; you're just another piece of horsemeat.

I was with Beckman for 16

I was with Beckman for 16 years. When they started putting in GPS tracking in your van and phone I knew it was time to get out. It's all about metrics and who can or cannot make their numbers. I suggest you just do what they say and make your numbers however you can. Over the years we had customer and employee surveys, but in the end they don't do anything about it. It is just to prove to their bosses they are trying to improve things (making their numbers!).
It was a tough decision to leave, I used to love my job at BCI but it was getting to the point that I hated getting up in the morning. There is light at the end of the tunnel! I'm so glad I left.

Great letter. But it's

Great letter.

But it's analogous to a Walmart associate pointing out they feel like they are treated like a number.

Theresa what you are seeing is the result of the drive of DHR upper management for a high rate of investment return. DHR made a multibillion dollar bet that they could "flatten and trim the fat" to achieve their investment goals. The DHR DBS is promoted to do just that. Field service has born the brunt of this mentality as much or more than any other area within Beckman. I can't imagine that Mr. Culp would encourage anyone in his family to pursue a career as a field service associate.

If you know your area managers you know that they obsess over metrics with a masturbatory zeal. It's what their future is all about. If a concept cannot be represented as a number it doesn't exist. Common sense is dark matter and has no bearing on the DBS. Honestly it is the DHR way.

No disrespect intended to those employed at DHR but the underling principle of the DBS is the individual is irrelevant. Hence the term "Associate".

This is a great post, explains the situation exactly.

Great letter. But it's

Great letter.

But it's analogous to a Walmart associate pointing out they feel like they are treated like a number.

Theresa what you are seeing is the result of the drive of DHR upper management for a high rate of investment return. DHR made a multibillion dollar bet that they could "flatten and trim the fat" to achieve their investment goals. The DHR DBS is promoted to do just that. Field service has born the brunt of this mentality as much or more than any other area within Beckman. I can't imagine that Mr. Culp would encourage anyone in his family to pursue a career as a field service associate.

If you know your area managers you know that they obsess over metrics with a masturbatory zeal. It's what their future is all about. If a concept cannot be represented as a number it doesn't exist. Common sense is dark matter and has no bearing on the DBS. Honestly it is the DHR way.

No disrespect intended to those employed at DHR but the underling principle of the DBS is the individual is irrelevant. Hence the term "Associate".

Every employee feels the

Every employee feels the same, Danaher ways of doing business is wrong and wont work, on the borderline of harassment. But no one will step up and confront these guys. They should respect and listen to what everyone is feeling. Their are much smarter ways of running this business without threats . Someone needs to step up before its to late.B.C.I can be a great place to work when all this BS stops.44

Its amazing how everyone

Its amazing how everyone feels the same way about Danaher and their ridiculous tactics and policies, someone needs to get rid of the top guns making these non productive non effective ways of doing business, its not working and will never work, beckman coulter was a great company it was enjoyable and rewarding to work for, we never had any problems with customers or goals, this company needs to go back to the ways we did business and everything will work again. Danahers ways will never work or improve anything, employees and customers are frustrated and losing their patients. They need to spend all their enegy on r&d instead of what time and how long it takes someone to go to the bathroom. Great and honest workers are droping fast, Danaher lies to the employees need to stop. J D needs to go before the damage is irreversible.

Tom J. still in the picture?

Tom J. still in the picture? What a jerk. Really, Dear Mr.Culp must be MIA on this one. Further more the most disturbing and immoral part is ........

Oh hold on a minute.

Now I remember. All DHR is trying to do is polish up the numbers so they can sell what remains.

Remember Biff, two coats of wax on that turd!

They are worse than BCI, they

They are worse than BCI, they are the perfect marriage. Everything is a lie.
In Miami while having the Chinese guy to visit and check the advance in all the restructure.The "Director gave orders to hide in rooms quarantine Instruments, all the testing instruments out of place, and all the mess.
They didn't change anything they are just hiding it.
Danaher only cares about the green ones they need to recover for such a bad investment

Of course they want you to go

Of course they want you to go to bed at 9pm and be up doing unpaid work at 6am, its all invisible. Work-live balance has no worth in diagnostic, its the same in ALL the companies.

I see your frustration in your letter but it won't do you any good. Your obviously a straight up player, you need to wise up and play the game more. Sometimes the only way to prove to dumb ass management that a policy doesn't work is to do it and show it brings things down, instead of being compliant and making poor policy work at your expense. Its against a good customer focussed engineers instinct to let the customer down, perhaps we are better connected seeing daily what we do means to them - but sometimes you have to 'work to rule' clock on 7.30, then sit in your car waiting someone to tell you what to do. don't respond to emails for days, when you have time. Go to a customer and don't fix the system, get your laptop out and start doing admin. and so on...

To sum it up, when Danaher

To sum it up, when Danaher first bought BCI, it seemed like new energy moved in, energy to get rid of waste and energy to revitalize R&D in this complex ever changing business, I was excited. However due to decisions by my upper management (who are not using the Gemba model) resulting in both lack of retention of talent and lack of caring about our customers, I wonder how long it can be sustainable.
-----------
Truer words were never spoken.

BCI Executive Management is the same in R&D. Lack of retention of talent and lack of caring about our customers AND PATIENTS are rampant.

Scientists have no say and are overridden. Unethical, unqualified, and self-serving Directors & VPs are in it for the money.

When will science and ethics return to BCI?

Don't you know that the

Don't you know that the emperors like their new clothes? Repent, Harlequin!...oh wait. Wasn't the Ticktock Man tardy himself?

The bigger the company, the less the truth matters. I applaud your honesty, but if this is truly your letter, best dust off the resume and get that paper on the street.

Oh honey I hope you've packed

Oh honey I hope you've packed your bags. The gold-digging buffoons who run life science companies these days don't like such honesty.

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