Environment, Health & Safety, and Quality (EHSQ) is a people problem, not an asset or data problem, according to Intelex CEO Mark Jaine. And it is this premise that is behind how his company builds software that provides the most benefit to individuals and companies.
“We’re all about getting every employee engaged in the Intelex system. We’ve built our user interface to be kind of ‘Facebook-y’, where a user can see a feed of EHSQ information and easily contribute to that feed. I can have my voice heard. And, if I see a near miss or an incident, I can start to engage in that, because I’m engaged in the EHSQ system.”
Jaine made his remarks to a class of students enrolled in a Management Consulting practicum at Toronto’s prestigious Rotman School of Management. The two-week program was designed to give students real-world experience in providing consulting advice to a company.
“Other products in the EHSQ space tend to look more like an Excel spreadsheet that only an environmental manager would want to look at,” Jaine added. “We have that data in our system, too, but it’s for an administrator a few layers down.”
This people-first approach is also reflected in the recently launched EHSQ Alliance, an Intelex-led online professional social community that allows companies to share ideas, experiences and best practices around EHSQ, regardless of whether these professionals work for companies that compete with one another. It’s all done in the interest of collaboration that drives EHSQ performance improvement for all. When asked to describe the goals of the Alliance, Jaine explained there were four stages to its development.
The first step is to simply facilitate conversations between EHSQ professionals about their experiences and allow them to share information. From there, exchanges can be created and distributed – things such as bulletins about hazardous weather conditions in a certain area.
The third stage involves taking data collected through the Alliance, aggregating it, and creating benchmarks to measure everyone’s level of success: Company X is performing at this level and these are the processes and controls they’ve put in place.
The fourth level is all about sharing process data. If a worker at an auto parts manufacturer, for instance, has an accident due to a malfunctioning machine, and a subsequent investigation takes place, this experience would be documented and shared. Other auto part-makers that belong to the Alliance would be able to read about it and fix or replace that same machinery if they happened to be using it.
“Our customers are saying that they already share this kind of information, but we’re giving them a vehicle to do it,” Jaine said.
For many EHSQ professionals today, best practices and information might be shared anecdotally at industry association conferences, Jaine said.
“It’s woefully inefficient, but they do their best over a table at a conference to say, ‘Hey, what did you learn this year?’”
The EHSQ Alliance has the potential to change this situation dramatically, and for the better.