Eaton - Integrating Management Systems to Improve EHS Performance
Eaton Corporation’s EHS initiative followed almost immediately upon the directive with the development of a corporate-wide management system to collect its EHS metrics.
They also put together a small core team headed by its Manager of Industrial Hygiene that was familiar with EHS data bases. However, simply trying to determine what the company was doing from an environmental stand point proved to be an obstacle in itself; there was no existing internal process in place for automatically collecting data for publication in the annual report.
Some sites had been collecting information, perhaps 20 – 30%, and could provide data quickly. But the larger percentage had never collected such data.
The EHS management team had to enlist front-line employees for the work to be done, and convince them of its importance, as well as the importance of accuracy and timeliness in the collection process. With no processes or programs in place, spread sheets were the default initial repositories for the variety of information collected via several different tools and systems.
Searching for a data base system to collect its EHS metric quickly became a priority.
As the team began this search, the company rolled out a comprehensive EHS management system, and with that came other documentation that was required, such as: action plan, auditing process, and risk assessment. So the team expanded the search to companies who could offer a more comprehensive solution.
Eaton’s concern was to find a company who offered a solution that would address more than one of their issues and more than their here-and-now, initial requirements. Since the company had no centralized process, no single place within the facilities for managing EHS data sources and information, supporting a global management system that allowed the company’s sites to have a single data base became a first priority.
Eaton’s project team put together a Request for Proposal (RFP), including a list of requirements that a single source solution would meet:
- the ability to manage all of the company’s EHS data—for various facilities not only to put their data in, but to get reports back out, as well as at a group/corporate level, without duplicating efforts at different levels of the organization
- the ability to function as an “off-the-shelf product.” The company did not want a customized “specific” product; they wanted one where they could turn on and off certain features according to their needs
- the ease of extracting information from the system at all levels for creating reports
- the ability to work in 12 different languages at sites around the world
- the intuitive nature of the system, and ease of learning other applications as they would be added to the system The EHS management team’s search was actually aided and refined by an internal business group’s analysis of possible software solutions. This helped the team remain focused on their immediate need for a metrics piece to the comprehensive solution, while keeping in sight other potential data base solutions they would need as their processes matured. The internal analysis set the groundwork for a second RFP that narrowed the list of possible vendors to four. Later this was refined to two vendors who were invited to demonstrate the capabilities of their software systems. Enablon, an industry leading EHS software firm, was selected following this last phase.
Eaton purchased four of Enablon’s applications centered around their SD-EHS environmental, health & safety reporting and management software solution.
To date, Eaton has deployed Enablon’s EHS Metrics application, their action plan management application, and two additional modules of their EHS management application—the Incident Management System (with its Workers’ Compensation module) and the Job Safety Analysis/Job Hazard Analysis (JSA/JHA) module. Eaton plans to deploy a fourth Enablon application, the internal audit and compliance assessment application. As Eaton purchases other applications to add to their overall management system, they will be implemented in a similar phased approach.
Acceptance of the Enablon EHS management system at Eaton’s various facilities around the world has been extraordinary. When Eaton rolled out the Enablon Metrics application to 160 manufacturing sites and 300 users, they immediately achieved approximately 80% participation. A primary reason for this reception among all users is certainly the applications’ ease of use.
Other reasons for the hugely positive response arise out of Eaton’s corporate culture: the company’s commitment, at the highest level, to the principle of an integrated EHS management system, and its history in EHS management—or rather, lack of history and attendant legacy processes and systems. Convincing people to let go of an in-place system and adopt a new one can be an obstacle to rapid acceptance. In Eaton’s case, being at the start of rolling out a new EHS management system actually helped move the program forward, even beyond optimistic expectations.
Eaton, as a major user of software applications to operate its business, has established internal requirements to bring new software online. These requirements add time to the installation effort but help to ensure the successful launch of new databases.
For Eaton’s Enablon EHS management team, as they drive ownership of the EHS system down to the supervisor levels in regions around the world, the challenge is to see that the software is translated properly and that there is a robust global training program—mostly accomplished remotely via live web presentations, later posted online. Again, the software’s clarity and ease of use are major factors in global acceptance. The rollout of the IMS and JSA/JHA modules increased the system’s potential users to 2,000+ and is available to all of the facilities worldwide.