3 Key Lessons in EHS Software Implementation Excellence
“It’s a very nice recognition…because we only started with Enablon with the QuickStart approach in January 2017. We realized already a lot in a very tight timeframe together with the team, together with Enablon.”
Sofie De Pauw, SH&E Excellence Process Manager at Bekaert, during the Enablon Excellence Awards ceremony at SPF EMEA 2017.
Have you heard of a company called Bekaert? Even if your answer is “no”, there is a strong chance that you already used their products, for instance whenever you opened a bottle of Champagne or are driving a car. The wire cage that fits over the cork of a Champagne bottle, the “muselet”, is made of steel wire produced by Bekaert. Every year, more than 1 billion bottles of sparkling wines are opened via the muselets made of Bekaert wires. In addition, more than 30% of all tires in the world are reinforced with Bekaert tire cords.
Bekaert is a global company headquartered in Belgium and employing almost 30 000 people. The company is a market and technology leader in steel wire transformation and coating technologies, serving customers in over 120 countries in diverse sectors such as automotive, construction, energy, agriculture, consumer goods, and others. Bekaert decided to implement a single EHS & Sustainability platform across the organization to break down silos and improve performance. Their implementation efforts were recognized at SPF EMEA 2017 with an Enablon Excellence Award in Project Management. Let’s take a closer look at three key lessons from the Bekaert implementation.
Koen Gregoir, Group Safety, Health and Environment Manager, and Sofie de Pauw, SH&E Excellence Process Manager, Bekaert
1) Control the Number of People in Project Teams and Workshops
More people lead to more discussions, which means there is a greater likelihood that people will get lost in the details. Software implementation project teams must be limited to relevant people. At Bekaert, the core project team is composed of three or four people only, and it’s the same people regardless of the module that is being implemented, in order to have a global view. Workshops with Enablon would include six people, maybe a little higher for some workshops depending on the topic. For every module of the Enablon platform that was implemented, Bekaert would involve the owner of the relevant business process impacted by the new module in the workshop. As a general rule for implementations, carefully select project and workshop members, and manage people upfront to make sure that workshops produce the type of outcomes desired, and which would contribute to setup the system appropriately.
2) If You Have a Tight Schedule, Stick to the Standard Product
Bekaert and experienced software implementation project managers recognize this fundamental principle. Bekaert opted for Enablon’s QuickStart implementation methodology because the company had a very tight deadline to roll-out a single, standard platform for EHS and Sustainability management to a global user base that is ramping up to 20,000 users across 80 plants around the world. To deliver and roll-out software quickly, you need to stay as close as possible to the standard product and limit (or even entirely avoid) customizations. Bekaert also believes that, if you’re a global organization, it’s better to stick to a standard as much as possible, rather than making things more difficult by managing a large amount of “plant-specific” software characteristics. Common and consistent functionality across the entire organization enables greater standardization of business processes.
3) Start Small and Simple
Leonardo da Vinci famously declared that “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”. Bekaert applies this principle to its implementation of the Enablon platform. The software is being deployed in phases; and it’s important to just get started to make sure that you get feedback allowing you to assess whether you’re on the right track and improve the system before a full worldwide deployment. To facilitate this phased approach, Bekaert advises that you don’t activate all functionalities and all languages at once, and that you start with a basic set-up without complex workflows. If things are too complex at the beginning, the risk is that you lose the attention and commitment of end-users. In addition, just as Bekaert and other Enablon clients did, adopt a pilot approach and verify the quality of data entered by end-users from pilot sites in the system. In Bekaert’s case, six pilot sites were chosen, one per key region of the world.
Because the company is going through a successful software implementation planning and execution, which is providing valuable takeaways to Enablon’s community of users and other organizations, we’re glad to have bestowed Bekaert the Enablon Excellence Award in Project Management at SPF EMEA 2017. A reason the more to open a bottle of Champagne, through Bekaert’s muselet wire!
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