Serco Sodexo Defence Services (SSDS) is a dedicated prime contractor to the Australian Defence Organisation. For more than 15 years the organisation has been providing facilities management support services to the Australian Defence Force.
Formed as the result of a joint venture in 1993, the company's parentage combines expertise in people, processes, technology and asset management with comprehensive on-site service and facilities management solutions. Together, the companies have created an ethos of exceptional service through continuous improvement.
In 2010 SSDS introduced the Kaizen philosophy of continuous improvement to the business and set about reviewing its functional and administrative processes. The company's objectives were to identify and eliminate non-value adding activities and also to move its administrative services across to a shared services platform.
Management decided that the best place to start was with the company's occupational health & safety (OH&S) related activities, and that an ideal project would be to automate its incident reporting, injury and claims management process.
Joshua Evans, SSDS National Commercial Manager explains, "OH&S was the perfect place to start with business process improvement as Zero Harm is a key business driver within the business. Zero Harm impacts on every aspect of the business and the OH&S processes are well defined and well understood."
"Although good gains had been made in the past by SSDS in reducing employee lost time and injuries, the ongoing problem faced by SSDS was that any future improvements would become harder and harder to achieve. SSDS needed a step change to help imbed the right culture within the business to ensure our Zero Harm goal was capable of being achieved and sustained. Another problem faced by the business was the time required to capture and process information and the visibility and consistency of the data collected. It is critical that a business acts in a timely and consistent manner in relation to OH&S incidents and that all the relevant learnings are then taken on board and built back into the process."
Recognising that technology could assist, SSDS began researching business process management software tools. Evans says, "The project was undertaken as part of a broader enterprise strategy and we understood the enterprise nature of the potential technologies. We considered a range of alternatives and conducted a careful vetting process. In the end we selected XMPro based on its ability to meet many business challenges in a consistent way." SSDS engaged Professional Advantage to help deploy the software and manage the project.
Designed to support workflows by ensuring that the right person does the right task at the right time, XMPro fitted seamlessly with the company's existing Microsoft SharePoint deployment. By integrating the two applications, SSDS would be able to obtain all the process and workflow benefits of XMPro from within the central source of information for the business - the SharePoint intranet.
"What XMPro offered was a way of capturing OH&S data at the source and then leveraging it within the business in a real time environment to provide greater visibility and enable analysis."
The injury management process.
With the help of Professional Advantage and XMPro, SSDS reworked its incident reporting and injury management process, automating the capture and calculation of incidents, LTIs and LTI frequency rates. The data is automatically distributed, followed by the generation and assignment of critical task lists based on the captured evidence. Even the lodgement of insurance claims has been automated. The workflow documents each step for each task, through to completion and provides a record for compliance and accountability purposes. The process leaves no uncertainty regarding the status of any injury management-related task and provides real time visibility.
Unlike the backwards-looking data of the past, the new process is delivering current, accurate information that has become one of the company's valued key performance indicators (KPIs). Analysis enables management to identify and proactively counter injury trends and potential problems at the time they begin to emerge.
The visibility of injury data is also helping SSDS to build a culture of safety. Now, if an injury occurs, the company's CEO is automatically emailed with all the details. It's a move that has raised the profile of injury management and is helping to ensure that supervisors and regional managers remain alert and responsive to issues.
Automation has helped SSDS to achieve its aim of a paperless process. Month end reporting has dramatically improved with data now available four days after month end, compared to the previous ten days. The depth of reporting is also delivering greater visibility and transparency to the injury management process.
The new process has given significant time savings due to a reduction in manual effort, automated management reporting to the SSDS parent companies and because management and staff no longer have to chase up outstanding data.
Adam Williams, SSDS Corporate Assurance Manager says, "Some steps have gone altogether. Finance used to have a role translating data to put together a national report. This step is now automatic. I'd estimate that the new process has increased efficiency by 25 percent easily, although the actual results are likely to be far higher."
Working in the defence field, adherence to standards such as ISO 9001, 4801 and 14001 is critical for SSDS. While all these standards have been met in the past, the use of XMPro is helping to maintain the standards in a more efficient and effective way. In addition, with much of the work now automated, the company has introduced more frequent internal and external compliance audits.
Williams continues, "XMPro has raised injury visibility. Everybody sees the KPIs on their home page and management can easily drill down on the detail. It sends a message to the business that our goal of Zero Harm is backed by real action by management."
Evans adds, "By capturing data at its source and the introduction of a central repository, our systems and people now talk to each other. XMPro has become a key enabler for SharePoint, providing information back to the business. It has helped to address compliance and eliminated instances of double and triple handling of information within the business."
Where to next?
With its first few process projects behind them, SSDS is now looking to create a more holistic way of joining data sources and processes together to provide broader KPI reporting across all areas of the business. The intention is to help the business to focus more on lead indicators.
Other projects being planned include revisions to the company's risk management and assessment processes, the HR recruit-to-hire process and multi-purpose reporting process.
Evans says, "Process improvement has become part of peoples' targets and budgets. Often the improvements that we're identifying are not necessarily based on automation but XMPro provides the ability for business-wide process improvements, for areas such as OH&S, finance, compliance and HR. Once these are addressed SSDS will investigate areas of vertical service stream process improvement where systems automation and process are the answer."
Williams concludes, "XMPro has become a key enabler for our 'Safety first, Zero Harm' vision."