Barr boosts quality management and workplace safety

Cutting paperwork and increasing efficiency with solutions from IBM Lotus and Codel Software

Published on 20-May-2011

Validated on 28 Oct 2013

"The combination of IBM Lotus Notes and Domino with the solutions from Codel Software gives us a much more efficient way to manage key business processes and helps reduce workload for employees in the field and at head office." - Stuart Stark, IT Director at Barr

Customer:
Barr Ltd

Industry:
Industrial Products

Deployment country:
United Kingdom

Solution:
Business Integration, Optimizing IT, Optimizing IT

IBM Business Partner:
Codel Software

Overview

Barr Ltd is one of the UK’s leading engineering companies. Its four divisions provide products and services for construction, industrial, manufacturing and environmental projects. The company has its head office in Paisley, and employs more than 700 staff, many of whom spend most of their time working at client sites nationwide.

Business need:
To increase quality, safety and efficiency and support ISO 9001 certification, Barr wanted to replace paper-based processes with automated workflows that would be accessible to employees working at customer sites or any other location.

Solution:
Barr implemented Activ Quality Manager and Activ Absence Control from Codel Software, which integrate with the company’s existing IBM® Lotus Notes® and Domino® environment to provide comprehensive automation and improved insight into key processes.

Benefits:
Enables easy analysis of quality and safety issues, helping managers identify trends and resolve common problems more quickly. Simplifies the process for employees submitting holiday and sickness absence requests. Provides greater visibility and rapid filing of quality and safety reports, encouraging users to share data and collaborate more effectively. Eliminates many paper-based processes, reducing administration workload for head office staff.

Case Study

Barr Ltd is one of the UK’s leading engineering companies. Its four divisions provide products and services for construction, industrial, manufacturing and environmental projects. The company has its head office in Paisley, and employs more than 700 staff, many of whom spend most of their time working at client sites nationwide.

“Barr is particularly well-known for large-scale construction projects – for example, we have built around 40 sporting stadia and more than 50 supermarkets across the UK over the past few years,” says Stuart Stark, IT Director at Barr. “We are also involved in quarrying, and in manufacturing products such as steelwork and precast concrete, which we use in our own projects and also supply to the industry. Quality, health and safety and environmental management are key concerns in all areas of our business.”

Meeting ISO 9001 requirements
The company’s manufacturing divisions were in the process of achieving and maintaining ISO 9001 certification, and began looking for a solution that could help meet a critical requirement: the management of non-conformance reports (NCRs).

“Identifying and tracking non-conformances is important for quality management because if the same problems keep occurring in the same areas, NCRs can help to identify the problem and find a solution,” explains Stuart Stark. “The problem was our existing NCR process depended on staff and managers filling in paper forms, which were then sent to head office for collation into spreadsheets – a slow and cumbersome process. We developed a small database to handle NCR management instead, but it was difficult for users to access if they weren’t working on-site. To make things easier and encourage users to file more frequent, more detailed reports, we decided to find a web-based solution.”

Finding the right solution
Barr looked at various solutions before choosing Activ Quality Manager from Codel Software.

“There weren’t many products on the market that could meet our requirements,” comments Stuart Stark. “The big advantage of Activ Quality Manager was that it included a specific module for NCR management, and was capable of being customised to align with our precise business needs. As a bonus, it is built on IBM Lotus Notes and Domino, which we were already using for corporate email. So we saw the Codel Software solution as a good way to extend our existing investment while leveraging the powerful communication and collaboration features of the IBM Lotus platform.”

Meeting additional business needs
As the project progressed, Barr realised that the Activ Quality Management solution could be extended to replace other previously paper-based processes too – including health and safety, customer feedback and environmental management reporting. Working closely with the Codel Software team, Barr designed new automated workflows to support these processes, and as a result will soon be able to eliminate paper forms and spreadsheets in most areas of the business.

“When we started out on this project, we were mainly focusing on the requirements for ISO 9001 – but the Codel Software solution offers so much more,” says Stuart Stark. “We are now able to take a much more business-focused approach to analysing our data. For example, we can use the reporting tools in Activ Quality Manager to look at trends in our quality data and identify problems at the product design or manufacturing stages. This means we can address issues before the products reach the construction site, which avoids bigger problems later on.”

Enhanced absence management
As a second phase of the project, Barr decided to implement another Codel Software product: Activ Absence Control. This provides an automated workflow that allows employees to see how many leave days they have remaining and submit holiday requests quickly and easily. The appropriate managers are automatically notified and can make decisions on overall staff availability before approving or rejecting the requests. Staff can also notify managers of sickness, so that resources can be reallocated to cover absentees.

“Activ Absence Control and Activ Quality Management are both web-based applications, so it’s simple for our employees to log in from anywhere, even if they’re working at a client’s site or using someone else’s PC,” comments Stuart Stark. “Both solutions make life much easier for the large proportion of our employees who regularly work away from the office; as a result we get better, more detailed data and greater insight into our business processes.”

A successful partnership
Stuart Stark concludes: “The combination of IBM Lotus Notes and Domino with the solutions from Codel Software gives us a much more efficient way to manage key business processes and helps reduce workload for employees in the field and at head office. The Codel team has been excellent, helping us adapt their solutions to our precise needs, and providing dedicated, responsive support to ensure the success of both projects.”

Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

Software:
IBM Notes, IBM Domino

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2011. IBM United Kingdom Limited, PO Box 41, North Harbour, Portsmouth, Hampshire, PO6 3AU. Produced in the United Kingdom, May 2011. All Rights Reserved. IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, Domino, Lotus and Notes are trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation, registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. A current list of other IBM trademarks is available on the Web at “Copyright and trademark information” at: ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml. Other company, product or service names may be trademarks, or service marks of others. Activ Quality Manager and Activ Absence Control are products of Codel Software. IBM and Codel Software are separate companies and each is responsible for its own products. Neither IBM nor Codel Software makes any warranties, express or implied, concerning the other’s products. References in this publication to IBM products, programs or services do not imply that IBM intends to make these available in all countries in which IBM operates. Any reference to an IBM product, program or service is not intended to imply that only IBM’s product, program or service may be used. Any functionally equivalent product, program or service may be used instead. All customer examples cited represent how some customers have used IBM products and the results they may have achieved. Actual environmental costs and performance characteristics will vary depending on individual customer configurations and conditions. IBM hardware products are manufactured from new parts, or new and used parts. In some cases, the hardware product may not be new and may have been previously installed. Regardless, IBM warranty terms apply. This publication is for general guidance only. Photographs may show design models.