Safety at its Best: Aligning Employee Safety with Business Performance

Feb. 19, 2008
A case study of Snap-on Tools' safety program

We have a problem on our hands: manufacturers have plenty of data, but they often haven't figured out how to use it to analyze human and process behavior and cause-and-effect scenarios that impact company performance.

Data can be a burden. Some companies use multiple spreadsheets, which inevitably lead to conflicting metrics. Others rely on business or process analysts, who can only prepare periodic reports resulting in stale, often inconsistent metrics. Both options result in "rear-view management," with static reports delivered after the fact.

Dashboards and business intelligence systems have addressed the challenge, but the former is typically limited to a single functional area, while the latter is costly and resource-intensive.

So what's a business to do?

An Easy Fix: Meaningful Metrics

One way to solve the "metrics mayhem" problem is with a fresh approach to operations performance: hosted software that gives companies an easy way to combine operations -- and business -- metrics in a timely manner.

One of the most critical areas where we see the need for improved delivery, guided diagnosis and analysis of key metrics is in the area of safety and resulting workers' compensation claims.

Case Study: One Global Manufacturer's Safety Success Story

Snap-on Inc. is a leading global innovator, manufacturer and marketer of tools, diagnostics and equipment solutions for professionals. For the global company, safety is a core belief, and the associates understand that the company will not negotiate when it comes to workplace safety. Snap-on has been focused on safety as a strategic initiative for three years. Through process improvement, standardized protocols, associate training and management focus, it has surpassed the safety standard for its industry.

As it continues its quest to achieve world-class safety results, Snap-on will look to myDIALS as a solution that would improve visibility for operations and provide a holistic understanding of performance, while eliminating the need for the IT team's involvement in building metrics and the required reporting.

Identifying the Right Metrics for Running a Safer Business

The questions below will set you on a path to building trusted, consistent metrics that drive aligned behavior and result in true, validated performance improvement:

  • What is the cost in terms of productivity as a result of lost time due to injury?

  • What is the cost of workers' compensation claims due to safety incidents?

  • What is the rate of recordable injury incidents (based on standard number of hours worked)?

  • What are our top 20 worst facilities this month, and who is getting better?

  • Which sites are consistently better vs. consistently worse?

  • Can best practices from good performing locations be transferred to other locations?

  • Is there a repeated pattern in injury type at a location that might be corrected through better training or equipment?

  • Is there a repeated pattern in injury location on the body that could be corrected through better equipment or changed processes?

  • Are there new problems occurring after some change in the environment?

  • Is there an improvement trend following an education program?
  • In implementing its new operations performance management solution across global facilities, Snap-on is enabling management to view safety and workers' compensation results, and then compare them with corporate and industry targets over a rolling 12 months and year-to-date analysis.

    Snap-on is tracking accidents in which there is work time loss, near misses and first aid cases. Case severity, loss or restricted work days and circumstances around the incident are also recorded.

    Metrics can change over time, which, if left undetected, can result in confusing information. With pre-defined KPIs and an interactive dashboard, Snap-on can recalculate metrics as underlying data or organizations change. Armed with timely data that is repeatable and accurate, Snap-on will be able to more clearly monitor safety as it happens, leading to fast incident resolution and follow-up.

    "myDIALS gives us an accumulation of information in an organized way that helps us identify trends over time. Safety has an effect on workers' comp and productivity, so if we can get to a root metrics and understand cause and effect, we can improve processes," said Jeanne Moreno, vice president and Chief Information Officer of Snap-on Inc.

    The combined analysis of multiple behavioral metrics provides the basis for improvement metrics, helping Snap-on to determine 'If we do something differently, can we improve our performance?' and 'Are we doing better or worse?'

    Consistent Data Means Aligned Behavior... for True Performance Improvement

    By adopting innovative technology and best practices, we can figure out how to perform better now, while also planning for the future. The bottom line is about changing behavior... and a critical step in doing that is helping management validate data and identify important trends to keep employees safe and make their business even more successful.

    "KPIs can help you know what you know. There are many things that our data tells us, but we don't always understand relationships, cause and effect and the actions we need to take to ensure improvement," said Moreno. "Information is critical and we need to keep adopting innovative technologies and processes to help us figure out how to perform better now, while also planning for the future."

    As it continues its multi-faceted initiative, Snap-on expects to see continued improvement in safety, as well as a reduction in work time loss and work job restrictions, which minimize expenses associated with general labor, salary costs, and medical and disability expenses.

    With a concentrated focus on sustainable performance improvement, everyone heads towards a collective goal and knows their role in getting there.

    Wayne Morris is President and CEO of myDIALS, which helps companies improve their operational performance by extracting metrics and calculating Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) across all functional areas. These KPIs are presented in an easy-to-use dashboard that allows intuitive analysis and sharing of information to aid in making

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