Creating an Industry “Ecosystem” with Technology

Ian Cohen
Product Marketing Manager, Environmental, Safety & Sustainability Solutions, Cority

  1. Tell us a little about yourself and your work at Cority.

I joined Cority a little over 2 ½ years ago as a Product Manager and worked on developing and enhancing the company’s EHS compliance management solutions. I’m now the Product Marketing Manager for Environmental, Safety, and Sustainability Solutions. In this role I get to work closely with clients and prospects and our product team to drive our short and long-term strategy so that we are keeping pace with client needs and evolving regulatory regimes. I hold a BS in Biology and Master’s in Environmental Science from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

Before joining Cority, I spent nearly seven years in the energy sector working on environmental compliance, technology implementations, and sustainability strategy and reporting. My first-hand experience working in this space, developing and managing technology solutions like Cority, and supporting various compliance and sustainability programs, gives me unique perspective on the challenges EHSQ teams faces and how we can develop functionality industry professionals need to do their jobs successfully; build strong safety cultures; and drive operational excellence.

  1. The term “Industry 4.0” seems to be getting a lot of buzz. Can you explain to our readers what that term means?

Industry 4.0, in a nutshell, is about connecting the technology and automation that was put into place over the last 50 years—so that industry professionals have access to the information that is being collected by various operational systems to enhance collaboration and decision making. The goal is to create a “smart factory.” Industry 4.0 is all about the intersection of people, processes and technology; the digitalization of work; and creating networks to easily share information across the enterprise.

At Cority, we’re focused on creating an ecosystem that helps EHSQ professionals support and, in many cases, drive digital transformation and operational excellence initiatives at their organizations. We know EHSQ departments need to work closely with operations and development teams to collect data that is needed to demonstrate compliance, as well as for regulatory reporting and risk assessments, so we’ve designed our integrated, true SaaS platform to support our clients’ Industry 4.0 initiatives and help them reach their digital transformation goals.

  1. Cority is devoted to helping its clients achieve a “safety culture.” What does this term encompass? How does Cority help encourage building a safety culture by incorporating technology into the mix?

Safety culture is how companies measure employees’ views about safety to determine where the safety “cultural gaps” are between employees and management. This enables management to take proactive measures to realign the safety processes and procedures, and to demonstrate to employees the importance of safety to the organization. Over time, the goal is for employees and management to share the same views and values about safety risks, so they can consistently take the necessary actions to avoid, minimize or mitigate the risks of workplace injuries, illnesses or fatalities. It’s key that everyone strives for consistency and continuous improvement, when it comes to complying with internal health and safety processes and procedures, and that an environment is created where employees are not afraid to stop a job if they see someone working unsafely.

We view technology as a way to augment what employees are already doing to build and sustain the safety culture at their organization. Safety culture can’t be built sitting at a desk, so many of our clients are leveraging mobile solutions, like our myCority application, to give frontline workers and supervisors the resources they need while they are in the field. This includes access to safety data sheets to ensure proper awareness of chemical hazards; conducting risk assessments and completing corrective actions; reporting near misses and incidents in real-time; completing routine safety inspections; and conducting observational inspections of work areas and workers.

Our main platform makes it easy for management to quickly identify trends and take action, so we have invested heavily into analytics and business intelligence solutions that enable our clients to create charts, graphs and reports that update in real-time and can be easily shared.

Lastly, the ability to automate key steps in a process are paramount. This includes creating actions based on an inspection or audit finding, sending out notifications when a near miss or incident occurs so that supervisors can begin the process of reviewing the incident and identify the root cause. Through automation, we can eliminate the risk of a process breakdown.

  1. Related to the above question, how can Cority help promote worker well-being through its holistic programs?

Cority makes it easier for EHSQ departments to promote worker well-being initiatives. Our solutions are designed to enable clients to move beyond a task-related approach to employee health by building holistic programs that integrate health, safety and wellness together in a centralized, standardized solution.

Within our platform, clients can manage, track and streamline key aspects of their health and safety programs, like PPE tracking, respirator fit testing, inspections, audits, ergonomics assessments, industrial hygiene, process and procedure documentation, and HazCom. By centralizing this work and the related data, management can then create reports, charts and graphs from within the application to track and trend results overtime and quickly take proactive measures when they notice negative trends.

  1. Can you talk a bit about the company’s cost-effective EHS software for mid-sized businesses?

We’ve spent a lot of time trying to understand the market needs for mid-sized businesses, in addition to the large, global enterprises we serve, and how to deliver these in a cost-effective manner. We’ve focused on three areas to ensure our solution is cost-effective for mid-market clients:

  • Our true SaaS model is cost-effective, as it eliminates the IT hardware and infrastructure costs that can be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. There are also savings related to system administration and maintenance for many of our clients.
  • All of our clients benefit from our three major releases per year. They can take advantage of new functionality, improved UI/UX and the latest enhancements at no additional charge, in most cases. This ensures that they are always using the most current version of the application and maximizing their return on investment.
  • Lastly, we have developed solution and services packages to meet mid-market needs that are cost-effective from a licensing and implementation perspective, while still delivering the same functionality enjoyed by larger, enterprise clients.
  1. Cority is also interested in improving ergonomics data collection. How is this achieved?

Cority empowers ergonomic specialists with a complete solution to effectively manage ergonomic requests from employees, data collection and onsite assessments. Using Cority, ergonomics specialists can manage company-wide ergonomic audits and inspections, as well as individual ergonomic assessments. Leveraging Cority’s analytics tools, they can quickly identify tasks that have an increased risk of strains, repetitive motion injuries, or cumulative trauma injuries, and then take proactive measures to reduce injury rates and mitigate future risk.

  1. How does Cority help business utilize collaboration between departments and across their enterprise? What are some of the benefits of these processes?

We’ve designed our solution to be collaborative, because we know that EHS professionals can’t be everywhere all the time. This means that certain tasks, like routine inspections and corrective actions, are likely to be done by someone in the field who has no EHS background, i.e., an operations tech or engineer or maintenance tech. By leveraging a system like Cority, companies can streamline, standardize and centralize their processes, so they don’t have people managing the same process differently throughout their organization. This is especially beneficial for companies operating in multiple states/provinces and countries.

With our solution, EHS professionals can effectively break down communication and data silos that oftentimes exist in companies—especially large, matrixed organizations. EHS professionals are able to empower non-EHS end-users with a technological solution that replaces pen and paper and emails, and improves the overall culture of the organization by staying ahead of critical issues through automated notifications and analytics. We really believe that collaboration between EHS and non-EHS teams is vital for company success in the short and long-term. It’s what drives operational excellence, safety culture and a sustainable business model. These emphases can and do have a direct impact on a company’s bottom-line through reduced turnover, improved productivity, and overall employee health and well-being, both on and off the job. WMHS