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Success Customer Profile, o-i

Redefine your approach to problem management

Learn how Owens‑Illinois (O‑I) changed the way they define and manage "problems" to capture opportunities for business improvement

Key insight
Problem management should be more than fixing incident root causes. Instead, use the process to identify and capture opportunities for business improvement.

The situation
O-I had too many open problems, many of which aged significantly without consistent review or resolution. This complicated its ability to track and prioritize solutions to key business issues.

The challenge
Teams didn’t always prioritize problem resolution, which led them to accept workarounds. Moreover, leadership had no visibility into existing problems, and there was no consistent process to identify, track, prioritize, and resolve known problems.

Action step summary

1. Change the problem definition to capture improvement opportunities
O-I changed how it defines problem management to capture continuous improvement opportunities. The new definition provides a yardstick—sustained negative impact—to guide prioritization.

2. Focus the problem manager’s role on building culture
O-I holds the full-time problem manager responsible for building a culture of effective problem management across the organization and not for problem resolution.

3a. Configure ServiceNow to build transparency
O-I used the ServiceNow email notification feature as a status report for problems and added all relevant stakeholders (including the CIO) in the watch list to ensure alignment and transparency.

3b. Configure ServiceNow to promote team coordination
O-I configured an additional fifth level, available out of the box, to track and manage all problems. Along with providing a prioritization scale, the levels influenced teams’ behavior and informed an approach to resolution.

The results
O-I has created an approach so problems are not seen as distractions to actual work but are prioritized to realize business outcomes faster.

  • 85% problems resolved in 2018 didn’t require direct problem manager oversight
  • 40% problems were closed within 10 business days of being opened
  • The visibility and resolution of improvement opportunities tracked as problems increased
  • IT built strong relationships with business units and third-party partners
Owens-Illinois, Inc. (O-I)
Owens-Illinois, Inc. (O-I)
Large (over 20,000 employees)
ServiceNow customer
Since 2013
Questions addressed
Questions addressed
• How do we define and identify a problem?
• What is the problem manager’s role?
• How can we effectively use ServiceNow to track and build transparency on problem management?

It can be done' is the quote of our Founder, Michael J. Owens. I agree with him. O-I has revolutionized the glass industry by ingraining that spirit into our culture. How we do work today may not be how it’s done tomorrow. Challenge the status quo, even when it comes to something like problem management.

Adam Jackson

IT Problem Manager, O-I

Put these best practices to work for your company.