CNH Industrial Utilizes Digital Technology To Report Good Observations On The Shop Floor

Health and Safety professionals often struggle with engaging their employees to become more involved in building a safety culture. While utilizing digital technology can help enhance a company’s safety program, for employees to embrace that technology, they need proper training, repetition and reward or recognition to assimilate any new task. One company that has succeeded in elevating its safety program through digital technology is CNH Industrial (CNHI), a capital goods company that manufactures agricultural and construction equipment. Christopher (Chris) Rieder, the EHSE Manager for CNHI, recently spoke on a ProcessMAP EHS Leadership Roundtable about his company’s use of ProcessMAP’s AppBuilder, and how it has helped advance their safety program.

CNH Industrial is a global company with more than 65,000 employees spread across 67 plants. In North America, CNHI has 11 plants and research and development centers. Chris Rieder is based at an R&D facility in New Holland, Pennsylvania, where the company designs buildings and validates future models of their products that will be introduced in the coming years.

CNHI is heavily focused on sustainability, being named to the Dow Jones Industrial Sustainability Index for the past 10 years. The company believes in giving back to the community, to the environment, and to protect their workers, and being named to this list is a validation of their efforts in this regard.

In seeking to protect their employees more proactively, CNHI launched a “Good Observation” program, a way of giving their workers a voice to be able to suggest improvements if they see unsafe acts or unsafe conditions. The company has given the employees a voice, because they believe that the worker knows best what the hazards of the job are.

The Good Observation Program enables employees to identify situations where they could get hurt, so the company can deploy resources at the right places. As the program has evolved, it has become a tool that the safety team uses to identify and fix hazards, as well as the communication and accountability processes surrounding those hazards.

When first introduced, employees would submit Good Observations on paper or through email. Those observations were then logged and tracked on spreadsheets, which meant someone had to go back and check to make sure that these activities were being followed up on and sending emails to request status updates on projects. 

This was a time- and labor-intensive process just keeping up with actions that needed to be taken. In addition, there was not a lot of feedback being shared, and employees often felt like their observations were going into a black hole, where nothing was accomplished. This reduced employees’ incentive to submit more safety suggestions and be able to celebrate successes when they happened.

In 2018 and 2019, the CNH Industrial safety team implemented ProcessMAP’s Calendar and Task Manager. Even though they were collecting and manually inputting data into these modules, they could easily see what items were overdue, and supervisors and other responsible parties received notifications and reminders for follow up. While these modules helped the company with tracking and accountability, and when action items became overdue, the system would send alerts and reminders. However, the safety team still believed they could improve upon the data collection and data entry process within SPARK, which is their instance of the ProcessMAP solution.

Initially, CNH Industrial Safety Team launched the Good Observation Program digitally on the desktop. This program allowed supervisors to have more visibility into what good observations were being submitted and be able to address situations and schedule corrective actions sooner. Within a few months, the company launched the Good Observations mobile app, built on ProcessMAP’s zero-code App Builder platform, to all its employees, enabling them to submit good observations through mobile devices or kiosks located on the shop floor. The mobile app gave employees immediate access to safety policies and procedures as well as the ability to submit their observations right when they occur.

The mobile app is designed to collect where a situation occurred, what the situation entailed and what corrective action the employee suggests. They can type or talk to text, take, and upload photos right from their phones and attach them to the Good Occurrence record. 

When an employee submits a Good Occurrence on the shop floor, a notification goes to both the shop floor supervisor and the Safety Department instantaneously.

Supervisors who receive a Good Occurrence notification review the submission, then go meet with the submitter to provide feedback on the issue, determine if other corrective actions are needed and add action items that link to a person’s calendar. The Safety Department completes a review of the Good Observation, the action that came out of it, and categorizes the observation by World Class Manufacturing (WCM) or hierarchy of controls methodologies for later tracking and reporting. The Good Observation app is linked to Insight, enabling the Safety Team to analyze the collected data and manage the trends as they are occurring.

The Safety Team at CNH Industrial are enthusiastic about all the benefits the company has gained since implementing the Good Observations mobile app. Employees have embraced the app and the improved speed at which issues are now resolved. Previously, it could take up to a week before the cycle of one observation was complete, and there was often duplication of effort. The Safety Team now has visibility into all the observations submitted and can act upon them much faster, and utilizing Risk Assessments and other tools, they can determine where to best invest company resources, particularly for capital investments for large projects.

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