Shaping crises into success


Crises situations for organizations are crucial to their growth – without the setbacks, failures and issues, the resilience of organizational policies aren’t truly tested. No wonder then that 45% of participant organizations agreed on ‘safety incidents’ being among the top three “crises” in past two years. (Source: Deloitte 2018 crises management survey).

The report further went on to quantify the learnings via its survey that offered four key lessons:

  • Improving detection and early warning systems
  • Invest more effort in prevention
  • Do more to better identify potential crisis situations
  • Communication planning, monitoring and execution (on all levels)

On its face value, these insights and lessons, maybe be agreeable yet not admittedly ‘insightful’ per se. We might find comfort within the reason that “these are all too obvious”. But are they, really?

When we look at organizations with their precise and accurate planning, multiple layers of management, networked and meshed – we ‘assume’ a non-failing entity with backup failsafe. And yet financially, the big banking-housing crises engulfed the entire planet in 2008. Operationally, Deepwater horizon made the U.S administration take a long and hard look at its offshore oil and gas policies. While environmentally, greenhouse gas emissions are part of a sordid tale that will firmly be a part of our lives for a long time to come.

Cleaning up the act

Targeting the 4 key lessons stated and presented in consensus of more than 400 organizations worldwide is an approach that can shape crisis into success – automation and digitization.

Safety incidents wise such digital systems are offering a lot more than was anticipated before. In modern industrial operations, asset performance management forms a critical part of detection based early warning systems which can allow the supervisors and EHS personnel to accurately predict failure(s) in mechanized assets. Industrial internet of things (IIoT) makes it easier for maintenance supervisors to acquire quality performance data seamlessly.

Similarly a combination of digital permit-to-work system in combination of LockOut TagOut (LoTo) means efficient maintenance with safer work methodology for the maintenance engineers. Sadly though, lack of LoTo protocols in place attracts a lot of fines from OSHA and other worldwide safety monitoring agencies.

Preventive automated safety platforms – incident, accident and near-miss handling, behaviour based safety and the audit trifecta – inspection, observation and audits offer a no-nonsense approach to transforming your safety bottom line. These solutions allow the ecosystem approaches of environment, health and safety to thrive and perform for each other – through synchronized data acquisition, reporting and response. Safety personnel can become more dynamic on the ground rather than scanning through sheets and sheets of data. These built-in “risk offsets” help the automation to flourish and gain acceptance quicker than the otherwise cumbersome paper driven systems.

Translating crises and interpreting safety

However, the new breed of ‘predictive analytics’ driven digital safety platforms have the potential to become game-changers. Inherently, combining raw EHS data with the help of supervisory insights from EHS personnel and technical acumen from professionals has the capacity to give birth to ‘safety automation engines’ that can predict failures, accidents and crises. The approach isn’t too far-fetched as well, with the march of AI based systems fast optimizing, predicting and recommending results (read our previous blog).

While automation might offer the solution to us in most of the departments, the approach comes with a few caveats.

  • Treating “information” based on thorough input-output analysis would offer better data integrity and resilience (there are no automated shortcuts to generating-collecting good data)
  • Asking questions, retraining-reskilling your workforce and core insights into actual on-ground systems targeted by automation. In short, people should know their own systems prior to transforming onto a digital platform
  • A purposeful scouting exercise for the potential vendors in this pursuit of automation earlier, will pay-off later

Take your time and ask around.

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