Armstrong - Integrated EH&S Management in Action
Armstrong World Industries manages a wide range of EHS priorities. As the largest wood flooring company in the world, the company is focused on environmental sustainability. With its ceiling operations, the company has implemented pioneering water and material recycling programs.
In its energy-intensive operations, the company is working to reduce its use of fossil fuels and reduce its carbon footprint. Finally, safety is a priority for this manufacturer with approximately 13,000 employees worldwide.
An enduring commitment to environmental stewardship
Armstrong has consistently demonstrated its commitment to environmental stewardship, starting with the company’s use of cork waste in 1909 to manufacture linoleum to its modern recycling program that saved more than 45 million pounds of ceiling tile from being discarded in landfills.
The company is intensifying its efforts to further reduce its environmental impact in four areas: energy, greenhouse gases, water, and forest management.
As Armstrong embarked on these new initiatives, it realized it needed a more efficient system for global EHS management. To collect EHS data, corporate EHS managers had relied on faxes, voicemails, e-mails, and Excel spreadsheets from the company’s factories, warehouses, and sales offices all over the world. From these disparate sources, corporate EHS managers would laboriously compile EHS performance reports that often lacked the kind of detail that would provide management with detailed insight into operations.
“Take on-the-job injury reports, for example,” corporate safety specialist. “We used to receive a report that indicated that an injury had occurred, but which often lacked details about the type of injury or its seriousness.
We were unable to see if there might be a pattern of certain types of injuries so that we could take pre-emptive action.” The EHS department faced similar limitations in environmental and health reporting. To find a solution, a multifunctional team was assembled that included specialists from each area of EHS and representatives from plants around the world.
“We were looking for a system that tied everything together in real time – sustainability reporting, energy consumption, EHS incident reporting and tracking, and corrective action tracking. It also had to accommodate languages and compliance for different countries.”
Armstrong chose a solution with the capabilities that were most relevant to the company’s objectives: sustainability reporting and management, EHS reporting and management, incident management and risk prevention. The company then ran a two-month pilot project that included a plant in Europe, and three U.S. plants representing each of the company’s business units.
After a successful pilot, Armstrong began in January 2008 to roll out the system to 110 worldwide locations including manufacturing plants, office and sales groups, warehouses, and the corporate center.
“The new solution integrates our reporting into a single, comprehensive, real-time system that we need in a global enterprise.”
Real-time EH&S performance management
Armstrong now more easily and efficiently tracks EHS performance in real time around the world. EHS managers at all levels of operation analyze results, produce reports, track corrective actions, and measure progress toward achieving environmental goals. Automated consolidation of data has reduced the risk of error that existed in the old system, while management dashboards and alerts help to keep performance on track.
By choosing a modular system, the company has the option to add other EHS aspects of its operations, like materials handling, to the system as its needs evolve.
With a central repository for all compliance information, alerts to notify regulatory agencies, and the ability to track corrective actions, Armstrong has increased the efficiency and accuracy of its compliance efforts across the company and all its locations.