Chicago, Illinois – In the process industries, most people today operate in caring working environments with everyone helping each other and trying to do the right thing. But, points out Craig Torrance, PepsiCo’s global senior manager for health, safety and well being, somebody, somewhere, has to have the responsibility and be accountable for safety.
“It is the same with everything else we do,” said Torrance. “If we don’t hit our sales targets or profit targets, people get fired for that. Safety is no different. It’s about who is going to do this, and whose neck is on the line if it doesn’t work.”
This element of ‘accountability’ is missing from the global safety programmes at many organisations, believes Torrance, who was explaining how PepsiCo has harmonised its corporate safety system across all its divisions and around 800 plants.
PepsiCo’s system includes an audit programme that looks at how its sectors are performing against the standard. The audit, said Torrance, goes all the way up to the board of directors.
“For anyone in a large organisation with a regional VP or sector operations director [if you] issue a score card for his area, and put a red marker next to it, you tend to get things moving,” Torrance remarked.
Previously, PepsiCo did not track all the incidents it had around the world with its equipment - its decentralised structure made this difficult.
“The local folks did, but we did not have that knowledge at a corporate level. So we have now put in a database to capture risk-assessment-type incidents and share that information around the world,” said Torrance.
In a recent presentation to Rockwell’s Automation Fair in Chicago, the safety leader detailed how the company’s own safety standard now serves as the framework for every machinery programme across the group, which spends $5 billion a year on new equipment.
The standard was simplified to ‘what must be done’ (14 pages), with support guides to expand and provide greater coverage (100 pages). The document does not cover items, such as engineering guides, specifications, example wiring diagrams or risk assessment templates.
Within this global programme, standardisation does not mean making everything identical, said Torrance. Safety, he explained, has to be locally owned because the capabilities and requirements of European teams differ from those of the teams in the US and in Asia.
PepsiCo. has a programme for all new equipment that comes into the organisation to make sure everything that comes into PepsiCo is safe, compliant and meets the standards.
“First and foremost we make sure that everything that comes into the business is safe,” said Torrance. For example, he said, all requests for proposals or quotes, legal contracts tied to ensuring that risk assessments are delivered by suppliers.
But you can’t just go in and say you have to meet the Pepsico standard, the safety manager continued. “We have to educate all our 6,500 machine equipment suppliers around the world, because without that the programme fails.”
PepsiCo runs roadshows around the world to explain what it is trying to achieve. This effort targeted in particular 120 of PepsiCo’s top machinery and equipment suppliers that constitute 80% of its capital spend.
There was a broader communication and guidance send-out to all suppliers, who must eventually come back and affirm that they are compliant and understand what the buyer is trying to achieve.
Assessing something, upgrading it and making sure it is compliant is not something that is done overnight, said Torrance, pointing out that these regimes are run within a three-year programme.
“Then all I have to worry about is the 800 plants and 6,500 warehouses, which are jam-packed full of machinery,” said Torrance. To do that, he said, Pepsi runs a programme educating its plant operators, maintenance teams and engineers about safety. This covers new equipment, existing equipment and internal capability.
The programme will probably take 10 years, plus significant investment, said Torrance. The cost of ensuring safety, he added, can make it hard to justify many projects, for example spending £50,000 on an existing piece of equipment to make it safe.
One approach at PepsiCo for dealing with this issue is called ‘project bundling’, through which any Capex project that touches that equipment becomes part of the safety programme.
This applies, for example, if the company is moving a line from one location to another or changing an old drive to a more energy-efficient unit.
Ultimately, though, Torrance’s key message was: “It’s the same with environmental, the same with efficiency the same with cost, it makes no difference: If you cannot do the project safely, you cannot afford the project.”