Digital Transformation Of EHS At Johnson Controls

What sets Johnson Controls (JCI) apart from many of its competitors in the industrial space? It is the ability of the organization to clearly identify strategic areas of investments, financial and otherwise, to set the organization on a path of long-term success and growth. One such strategic area of investment for the company has been in the health and safety of its global workforce, operational risk mitigation, and environmental sustainability. Highlighting the journey and the success of JCI in adopting a comprehensive EHS strategy and bolstering the afore-stated strategy with a digital transformation program, John Perkins (VP of Global EHS) and Serge Everdepoel (Director of Corporate EHS) presented “The Digital Transformation of EHS, Johnson Controls’ 3-step Approach to Ensure Workplace Safety” in a recent webinar. You can access the webinar on-demand here

Johnson Controls has been in business for about 130 years. Warren T Johnson started the company with the very first commercially viable thermostat in Whitewater, Wisconsin. Today, the company’s U.S. headquarters is in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Globally JCI has more than 100,000 employees and reports approximately $23 billion in annual sales. JCI helps optimize building performance, improves safety, and enhances comfort in environments where people live, work, learn and play. JCI’s global operation includes manufacturing, service, distribution and research and development. In 2020, JCI was recognized by 16 different entities for achievements in Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance or ESG, for providing solutions and products to help reduce energy and provide more efficient operations for its customers worldwide.

In late 2019, the safety team created a safety vision for JCI, called “Zero Harm,” ensuring that the company would have a very strong safety, health and wellness, and environmental focus across the enterprise. Zero Harm has also been instrumental in the way JCI addressed COVID-19 across the company. JCI adopted ProcessMAP’s integrated and comprehensive digital EHS platform to drive standardization across all operations, eliminating stand-alone reports or localized solutions. The single system provides accurate, complete and timely visibility into actionable insights, thereby elevating best practices across the enterprise. The system quickly delivers all the metrics necessary to report on KPIs and gather statistics that can be reported out of the system, rather than being compiled manually. Finally, the integrated system gives the safety team better information on the state of EHS within the company. With better data, company leaders can make informed decisions on the next business initiative or what area of the business needs to improve performance.

JCI’s safety team strongly believes in the importance of a proper implementation of their EHS platform and that the change management process is critical to its success. As they worked to identify the proper platform and partner, the team understood that employees needed to accept the system as a tool that they would be prepared and ready to use. Stakeholder management was another key to successful implementation, from the C-Suite to frontline employees. The safety team understood the importance of effectively communicating with all their key stakeholders about their EHS system. The third critical element was training, helping all the users to understand the system, and to have strong post go-live support in place to help all system users.

In 2014, JCI became a ProcessMAP customer, utilizing numerous modules in the ProcessMAP EHS platform. What was important to JCI during the vendor selection process for their EHS system was choosing the provider with the best match in philosophy on platform configuration, and a similar vision and philosophy around post go-live support and maintenance that needed to be aligned between the vendor and the customer. JCI first went live with ProcessMAP in 2015, and has continued to add more modular solutions throughout the years.

Johnson Controls Implemented the ProcessMAP Platform

JCI has integrated the ProcessMAP platform with other enterprise solutions that they operate, including integrating with IT on the security side, for single sign-on, and user identification and also integrated with the HR platform for location and demographic data. Building these integrations up front was very beneficial for JCI, as they knew they would have the latest information on employees and users, without worrying about updates. The safety team can also extract EHS performance metrics, performance data, incident statistics, audit statistics, permits, and corrective and preventive actions (CAPAs). The system enables JCI to monitor and track all this information.

Over time, JCI has seen user counts for their EHS system increase, now exceeding 400,000 user logins. Employees are increasingly using the system for audits and inspections, in large part because of the COVID-19 pandemic, where locations needed to operate in terms of the “new normal,” with considerations such as social distancing, single traffic lanes, and even areas beyond the EHS network, including facility management and business continuity. The company continues to identify new priorities where they can utilize their EHS platform to achieve new goals, including reporting near-misses, unsafe acts and unsafe conditions, which they began measuring in 2018. Increased platform use leads to more actions, such as collective and preventive actions being created in the system, including incident investigations. Since 2018, JCI has made recordable case investigation a digital priority, resulting in more than 80 percent of cases now being fully investigated in the system, with the resulting benefit of additional data collected. The end result reflects the near 35% reduction in the company’s TRIR and more than 41% reduction in LTIR, over the last five years. Similarly, reporting of leading safety indicators such as near-miss incidents, unsafe acts, and unsafe conditions, increased by nearly 145% over the last five years. 

When managing EHS compliance, JCI relies on the ProcessMAP platform for its ability to integrate regulatory content from an external resource with updates made on a weekly basis. The system’s audit capability has enabled JCI to configure sets of questions pertaining to inspections, checklists or assessments using the same functionality. JCI grants third-party auditors limited system access in order to perform both audits and regulatory compliance checks within the system itself. The system’s flexibility allowed JCI to enact an entirely new use during the COVID-19 pandemic. Using the audit module, JCI was able to create a question set that became a protocol. Within a short time, the protocol was translated into all the languages needed, and those audits were scheduled into the system, enabling JCI to utilize their existing system in a whole new way.

Johnson Controls and ProcessMAP

Johnson Controls has also turned to the ProcessMAP platform for its Corporate Sustainability Reporting (CSR), as it tracks energy and emission reporting under greenhouse gas emissions, as well as water consumption and waste generated at JCI facilities. They have generated a waste audit through the platform with various categories to identify volumes as well as reduction opportunities, which are critical to JCI’s attaining the goal of reaching zero landfill, which is a core goal for the company. For its HVAC operation, it is critical for JCI to track refrigerants for its chillers within the operation, where they must track and report emissions globally. JCI publishes an annual sustainability report that is available on the company’s website. This CSR report includes various metrics specifically related to diversity and sustainability as well as the company’s safety performance.

For JCI, embracing the mobile version of the ProcessMAP tools was an important concept to convey to their users. The safety team had to help users understand that the mobile version of the ProcessMAP solutions had the exact same functionality as the version on their desktop or laptop computers. Both interfaces communicate directly with the same database behind it, with constant replication between the database and interface. The safety team also helped users to understand that difference between a desktop and mobile application is more tactical, and more operational. 

With a mobile workforce, it was important for the safety team to help their employees understand the benefits of mobile functionality, and that use of the mobile interface was actually going to help the workforce to complete tasks more efficiently, including reporting near misses, conducting workplace inspections, and even performing observations were all actually easier for users to do using the mobile version of ProcessMAP. In manufacturing floors, where employees are not permitted to carry their own mobile devices, the company is currently experimenting with kiosk-type of devices centrally positioned, where users can log unsafe actions, unsafe conditions or near misses they have observed, and quickly return to their work assignments. 

As JCI returns employees back to work in this “journey to the new normal,” the safety team is utilizing a “forms” module in their ProcessMAP system for temperature tracking and employee screening as part of their on-site “layers of protection” for their employees. The safety team quickly built a custom form with questions pertaining to specific work environments, and deployed it out to the locations that were performing temperature screening, enabling the safety team to quickly gather temperature screening data around the world. The flexibility in the ProcessMAP’s system functionality enabled JCI to quickly customize a solution that helped get their employees back to work. 

Key takeaways

  • Using technology enhances the organization’s ability to manage EHS aspects of its operations. Companies must embrace technology and look for integration opportunities wherever they may be.
  • Using an integrated EHS platform enhances the organizations ability to delivery EHS aspects of its operations in a more standardized, more consistent and more efficient manner
  • Even the best technology or EHS platform won’t deliver value unless it is properly configured, and that business processes are linked to that technology
  • Having an integrated HS platform in one place allowed JCI to quickly respond to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the safety team was able to  leverage existing functionality to meet changed demand
  • Mobile access, fully integrated with the platform, creates new possibilities for using an EHS technology platform and employee self-service on EHS

While the JCI safety team fully expects to address new challenges in the future, be they through business acquisitions, changes in personnel or even health issues, they have fully embraced using the digital platform to help manage their response to these challenges and maximize the system’s capabilities to the fullest.

To learn how ProcessMAP can help you digitally transform your EHS initiatives, sign up for a free trial today! 

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