Interstate Batteries Makes 76 Locations Safer in 4 Months

Challenge:

Launch proactive environmental, health & safety program at owned and franchised locations.

ROI:

Corrective action completion rates rise at 76 locations. Workplaces made safer.

Optimized Work Streams™

• Safety audits
• Corrective actions
• Inspections
• PPE hazard assessments
• KPI report generation
• Electronic OSHA report submission

Dallas, Texas ― Aligning parties across state lines is a challenge that often takes billion-dollar companies 6-12 months. Within 4 months, Interstate Batteries aligned employees at 76 locations by powering its new Safety Champion program with Pulpstream.

“Prior to developing this application, we saw different levels of implementation and efficacy,“ said Matt Stringer, Director of Environmental, Health and Safety at Interstate Batteries.

“Now, we have an army of Safety Champions at the company who have the knowledge and the tools to go find things that can get people hurt.

Even though they’re all over the country or out of the country, they’re all having a shared experience through the app. It’s amazing; and Pulpstream is a huge part of that.”

New EHS program aligns business across borders

Stringer created the Safety Champion program to empower employees, who aren’t managers, to make workplaces safer. Participants are dubbed Safety Champions and given a personalized version of the application.

App in hand, they conduct environment, health, and safety hazard assessments at regular intervals to ensure that work spaces are safe for employees, and compliant with corporate and government regulations. Best practices are built into the app. Notably, the digital forms and photographic evidence requirements change from week to week to support the company’s risk management strategies.

Because the company’s lines of business are so diverse, it was a challenge to roll out an environment, health, and safety (EHS) system that would work effectively at every location. “The biggest challenge was trying to get everyone on the same page,” Stringer said.

Interstate Batteries has about 500 wholesale distributors and warehouses throughout North and South America. It also conducts business in Australia and is expanding into China. It distributes to more than 200,000 auto repair shops, vehicle service chains, and retail stores, which provide consumers with every type of battery on the market.

Founded in Dallas, Texas in 1952, Interstate Batteries is the number one recycler of lead acid batteries in the world, recycling about 26 million batteries per year. The privately-held company annually earns $1.5 billion in revenue and employs more than 1,500 people. It is these employees it seeks to protect with the Safety Champion program.

While employees in the distribution centers are at work, they navigate forklift traffic, hazardous chemicals, and shelves that contain batteries of all sizes, from AAA’s to large car batteries. Keeping these work areas safe, so employees can stay healthy, is of utmost importance. With Pulpstream, the company proactively prevents injuries with safety assessments, audits, and training.

Why Interstate Batteries chose to partner with Pulpstream

Mr. Stringer was introduced to the Pulpstream platform when he worked at Central Garden & Pet, a publicly-traded company with a $1.6 billion market cap. Central Garden & Pet used Pulpstream to optimize its EHS program with such great success that when Stringer transitioned to a new role at Interstate Batteries, he recommended Pulpstream to his new executive team. Interstate Batteries employees now use mobile devices to complete EHS processes at 76 locations, even in areas where there is no cell service.

“We’ve seen massive improvements in our compliance rates, month-to-month.” Stringer said. “Without Pulpstream, the Safety Champion Program would not be functional at all. Tracking improvements and corrective actions would be a nightmare.”

Prior to using Pulpstream, the company managed these business processes with pen and paper. Today Stringer and his team at HQ track corrective actions and other KPI trends across all distribution centers, warehouses, and franchises through a web-based interface. If needed, corrective actions can be assigned and tracked on a mobile app or through a web interface.

Platform flexibility enables operational excellence

Any incident can be dynamically-managed with the elements in the work Streams™ that are in the company’s version of Pulpstream. (A Pulpstreamed business process is called a work Stream.™) Interstate Batteries’ work Streams™ comply with corporate policies, as well as state, county, federal and international government regulations. If requirements change, or a new location starts participating in the program, Cooper Ratliff, Environmental, Health and Safety Specialist, flies into town.

Mr. Ratliff is the Pulpstream expert for the company. While he is not a classically-trained software engineer, he can change any part of any work Stream™ with the Pulpstream visual Stream Designer™. His knowledge of occupational health and safety best practices, and dedication to the company’s mission of conscious capitalism, empower him to create the right business processes for the enterprise.

Without writing a line of code, he builds personalized work Streams™ for a location, based on local conditions, policies, and government regulations. At the time of this interview, he was preparing to fly to a distribution center in Iowa to create a new EHS work Stream.™

“I can make the changes we need to make in real time when I get there, instead of going into a spreadsheet, typing it in, and then sending that back to headquarters,” Ratliff said. “Being able to show the guys what I’ve made for them and giving them something they can utilize when I leave is awesome.”

“That’s something that we weren’t able to do in the past,” Stringer said. “That same day, the checklist for the distributor audit can be in the system based on what he observes out there. So by the time we’re done, they’ve got an audit specific to that location. If we had to write it all down and create it later, things would get lost.”

With Pulpstream, every piece of data entered into the app is centralized in the cloud, enabling everyone on the team to access real-time information from any device, anywhere in the world.

At HQ, Stringer monitors Safety Champion performance across all participating locations on a personalized analytics dashboard. He can zoom in to see photos attached to a safety inspection or zoom out to see macro trends across a continent. And when things change, Cooper can update the work Streams™ without writing a line of code.

No matter what future business strategy Interstate Batteries chooses to implement, Pulpstream’s fluid work Streams™ enable the company to rapidly evolve its business process management.