Optimal manufacturing management of EHS compliance
By Luis Alberto Rodriguez, President and CEO, STS Software LLC on August 8, 2017
Filed under Discrete Manufacturing
Digital transformation is happening in all areas of the manufacturing process, from automation to the global supply chain to compliance with environmental, health, and safety (EHS) regulations. For manufacturers of all sizes, good performance in EHS has become not only a compliance requirement, but also an opportunity to improve the competitive advantage for the business. There is no question that cleaner and safer work environments are in the best interest of all parties involved in manufacturing operations, regardless of jurisdiction.
STS Software LLC, a Microsoft ISV partner specializing in heavily regulated industry, is helping manufacturers of all sizes with EHS Tracker, an integrated manufacturing management and compliance application for EHS based on Microsoft Azure. One such manufacturer is CooperVision, a world leader in the production of contact lenses, with sales in more than 100 countries. The company has manufacturing plants located around the world, and its facilities in Puerto Rico produce more than a billion units per year. As the company provides health-care solutions, quality requirements are supremely important.
“We form part of an industry which is highly regulated by several layers of state and federal agencies. Beyond that, we share an absolute commitment throughout the company to ensure that the products which reach our consumers are top-quality and manufactured in an environment which is safe, healthy, and free from any known hazards,” says Damaris Santiago, EHS Leader of Manufacturing Operations.
In order to meet the requirements of regulatory agencies, the EHS management group initially used to rigorously keep records and schedules in Excel format. “This activity was extremely time-consuming and limited our availability to deal with our other obligations with agencies,” adds Vimaris Ortíz, EHS Manager at the Puerto Rico plant. “It limited our daily operations, including generating reports to meet pre-established deadlines. The information needed to be absolutely accurate and submitted in the timeframes required. At the same time, we were using printed documentation to follow up investigations, where it was vital to have reliable information as quickly as possible.”
As the company grew, and with it, its prospects for expansion, it became necessary to handle these processes in an agile and more effective manner. In 2016, CooperVision Puerto Rico adopted EHS Tracker, based on the .NET application and Azure SQL Server, to handle its EHS compliance and regulatory requirements, internal audits, and manufacturing management systems. Its Puerto Rico facility has about 1,600 employees and operates 24/7. EHS Tracker offered a cost-effective solution, integrating many Azure services in an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) environment. EHS Tracker uses Azure Active Directory authentication, Azure SQL Database, Azure Service Bus, Azure Redis Cache, and Azure Storage services.
“The scale of our operations means we must comply with several legal requirements at local and federal levels, reflected in the programs we have set up in EHS, both in Puerto Rico and in the U.S.,” says Santiago. “Each agency has specific deadlines when we have to submit reports, so we run a strict schedule that obliges us to prepare timely information. With EHS Tracker, the situation has changed dramatically, as this streamlines information management, making us more efficient in terms of time and resource management, since all the EHS compliance data is now in one place, organized according to previously established parameters. This not only has to do with incidents or situations that could affect our partners, but also with other metrics, such as recycling, energy, and water reuse. For us, compliance with EHS regulations is both a commitment and a business imperative. Now the entire compliance process has been systemically integrated, and both communications and alerts are handled automatically through the application associated to our users’ emails, wherever they are: whether at their desk, working with a laptop computer, or in transit using their mobile phones.”
EHS Tracker has created a digital transformation of the EHS compliance process at CooperVision, enabling the company to switch from a paper-based manufacturing process to digital workflows and automated reporting of KPIs, all available on the company’s intranet. It has delivered continuous improvements in the consistency, organization, agile management, and distribution of EHS data. And it provides the monitoring required to maintain a proactive compliance posture.
To learn more about this Azure-based solution, contact STS Software LLC at firstname.lastname@example.org or request a demo at www.ehstracker.com.