EHS incidents and maintenance processes optimally integrated with the help of Ultimo
“Ultimo has become a matter of choice for maintenance management,” according to Meinhard van der Laan, QESH Facilitator at Solidus Solutions. He emphasises that the Ultimo system has become indispensable for the solid board manufacturer.
For many years Ultimo has been successfully operating in the maintenance industry, and of course, Ultimo plays an essential part in terms of their safety processes. For example, all EHS incidents are registered, ensuring that all safety issues are managed within the system. Meinhard van der Laan and Erik Mulder (Group ICT Manager) explain exactly how the manufacturer uses the software and advantages they have gained by using it such as profit and efficiency.
With four cardboard factories and five additional converter locations in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Belgium, Solidus Solutions is the largest integrated concern in the field of the solid board. Contrary to other manufacturers of solid board, Solidus delivers a complete concept; they don’t just manufacture the cardboard, they also process it into a packaging product at their converter locations. In doing so, they set themselves apart in the market. These packaging products are often used for vulnerable products such as meat, fish, poultry, vegetables, fruit and flowers because the solid board is very strong material. The cardboard can also be made water-resistant, for the meat and fish industry for example, by adding a water-repellent layer which makes it suitable for use in moist and chilled conditions. The solid board is a natural product that can be recycled, making the production process of Solidus Solutions a sustainable one. A total of over 1,000 people are employed at the organisation. In addition to the factories and converters. Solidus also has several sales offices in, including Norway and France.
Safety has always been an important topic for the organisation. They attach great importance to it by registering all incidents that have taken place and analysing and learning from them. Of course, their first focus is to offer their employees a safe workplace, and in addition, adhere to the requirements of legislation and regulation.
On top of that, the business is mindful that incidents cause (unplanned) downtime of the machinery, preventing the company the benefit of the optimum uptime. Solidus Solutions seek to avoid this as much as possible. Therefore, registering EHS incidents is a priority for multiple reasons. Meinhard van der Laan explains. “For Solidus, Ultimo was the logical system to managing these incidents. Maintenance and safety go hand-in-hand. If something breaks or an unsafe situation arises, certain maintenance activities pose a potential safety risk. We needed to integrate these so they are centrally available to everyone.” Therefore, they collaborated with the Ultimo consultant to develop a custom software so that Solidus is able to integrate both the Maintenance and Safety processes. Additionally, Ultimo collaborated with a customer panel to develop an extensive EHS suite, enabling Solidus to use the standard functionality for EHS incident management.
EHS incident management
“At Solidus, everyone can report an EHS incident. In practice, it turns out that particularly employees in production and the technical service are active reporters because they are directly confronted with unsafe situations or accidents on the shop floor.” Therefore, every report has to be categorised, distinguishing between:
- Accidents with absence;
- Accidents without absence;
- Unsafe situations;
- Environmental incidents;
- GMP reports (reports concerning food safety);
On the basis of the above categories, a priority of the report is determined. If it concerns an accident, then, the QESH Facilitator is immediately notified via Ultimo. A checklist is linked in Ultimo so that no essential matters are forgotten; for example… Has the plant manager been warned? Has the labour inspection been called? Is further investigation required? This offers thorough processing of incidents and, moreover, the collected information is available for analysis, improvement and prevention.
Every morning Ultimo generates a report which is reviewed and all incidents, from the previous day, are discussed. These incidents are further assessed in the weekly meeting (care consultation) in order to monitor progress. This ensures that everyone is informed of the incidents. Important questions like ‘why did it go wrong?’ and ‘what can we do to prevent it?’ are then answered with the purpose of making the shop floor a little safer for the future. “in addition, we also organise workplace meetings. In these, we discuss EHS attention areas that apply to the workplace and which are documented in our procedures. These reviews of the Ultimo reports encourage continuous improvement.
Efficiency by Integration
In addition to the whole safety issue, Ultimo also offers broad support in terms of maintenance. The complete work order management of the technical service (reporting, preparing and processing) has been included in the software. “Because the maintenance processes are also safeguarded in Ultimo, we can benefit from the integration between maintenance and EHS. It often happens that our mechanics are confronted with an EHS situation while performing their maintenance tasks. In that case, ‘safety’ can be checked on a work order. In this way, the incident reaches the QESH Facilitator and EHS manager, who can then process it. This is very efficient because data does not need to be entered multiple times in different systems. The data of the original work orders are easily copied, which saves a lot of time.”
This stimulates the collaboration between production and technical service. This collaboration is important because integrates both disciplines who both work on the equipment and buildings. This core advantage applies in reverse situations in which an EHS incident results in a work order for the technical service.
Ultimo Offer More
The integration of maintenance and safety is a major advantage, but the use of Ultimo at Solidus is much broader than that. In addition to work order management, all periodical maintenance schedules are managed in Ultimo, allowing the production process to be perfectly adjusted to the periodical maintenance activities.
Even the Job Planner, with which work orders are efficiently scheduled on the basis of the availability of the employees, is used. Ultimo plays an important part in terms of stock management and purchase. The registration of all warehouses, stock, depreciation and invoices take place centrally in the Ultimo system.
For invoicing, an additional two-way interface has been developed with the financial system ASPAS. Articles are purchased via Ultimo, after which these are transferred to the financial system. When the invoice of the article has been received, it is then written off in ASPAS and the data is automatically transferred back to Ultimo. As a result, a lot of manual and duplication of work is avoided and the administration in both systems is kept up to date. This does not only concern the technical purchases (articles that are ordered in response to a work order), but other purchases also take place via Ultimo, such as air travel, cars and documents for the IT department.
IT Services Management
Ultimo also offers the necessary operational support to the IT department. IT reports and requests can be submitted via Ultimo Self-Service, after which they are also centrally processed in Ultimo. If necessary, a report is converted into a change in case of a software adjustment or a request for a new laptop. “We can safeguard the progress of reports in Ultimo. We can also record the approvals (and corresponding documents) that are necessary for some reports in the system, which is necessary for audits.
Despite the broad application of Ultimo within Solidus Software, there are still plenty of future opportunities available to them. One of the essential aims of the organisation is multicurrency. Solidus Solutions, as an international organisation, incurs costs in different currencies, therefore, Ultimo is currently developing a solution to incorporate this. Examples of other solutions in development include multilingual use. “We are continuing to further develop the application in collaboration with Ultimo. This is the software’s great advantage; everything can be registered in one system and the software is very affordable in comparison with other packages.”
About Ultimo Software Solutions Ltd.
Ultimo Software Solutions is a software company that has been active in developing, selling and supporting software for the functional management of business assets and processes since 1988. Ultimo’s main offices based in the Netherlands and its subsidiaries are located in the United Kingdom, Belgium and Germany.