Aerojet builds on tradition of EH&S performance and supports innovation in mobile waste data collection

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Courtesy of IHS

Aerojet, a GenCorp Inc. company, is a major space and defense contractor specializing in missile and space propulsion. Since its founding in 1942, Aerojet has been widely recognized as a leading force in the development of crucial technology and products that have protected America from potential enemies. In recent years, Aerojet has also played a leadership role in the implementation of world-class technologies and best practices that protect the environment, employees and neighboring communities.

Aerojet was an early adopter of advanced Environmental, Heath and Safety (EH&S) information technology and has continuously strengthened and refined its solution over the years. The enterprise-level software platform it has built around – and recently helped enhance – is Essential Suite from ESS.

Aerojet started using Essential Suite in 1995, beginning with the air, water and waste emissions modules and adding others through the years in order to ensure strict compliance with a broad spectrum of local, state and federal environmental statutes and regulations. Among its first concerns were the US Clean Air Act's Title V, Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).

Over the next 14 years, Aerojet's EH&S team has spearheaded a series of initiatives to not only ensure compliance, but also drive operational efficiencies throughout the company. Hundreds of Aerojet employees currently use Essential Suite to manage air, water and waste emissions data – continually monitoring levels, acting on anomalies and generating reports as needed. Essential Suite serves as the company's master repository for EH&S data thereby reducing workload and risk by eliminating the need for duplicate systems.

Imam Mohammed, Environmental Specialist and a leader in addressing EH&S data management issues at Aerojet through the years, says, 'Environmental, health and safety management has always been a top priority at our company and now the spotlight on these issues is brighter than ever. Our team provides reports to Aerojet's senior managers and executives every month highlighting key aspects of EH&S performance company-wide.

'Over time, we have tracked many efficiency gains made possible through our use of ESS' integrated EH&S platform,' Mr. Mohammed continued. 'For example, all of our materials safety source data is stored in one master database – accessed through the Essential MSDS Manager module – so our compliance work processes only have to be done once, not again and again at each of our 10 operating locations. That means we're getting the job done in one tenth of the time it would take otherwise. Similarly, the Essential Water module enabled us to dramatically shorten the time required to process data for DMRs [Discharge Monitoring Reports] from 2 days to just 2 hours.' That improvement was facilitated in part by custom interfaces between the Essential Water module and both a Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) and a sewer monitoring system that was used for pH and flow monitoring.

Recently, Aerojet achieved new efficiencies by partnering with ESS again in order to support the integration of Essential Suite with a different type of information technologies.

Aerojet's research and development operations generate waste materials that must be collected, stored, documented, and shipped for disposal in accordance with RCRA requirements. Waste operations employees used to spend up to 45 minutes per day manually entering or reentering waste data that they had gathered in the field. When Essential Waste was used with a homegrown mobile data collection application, Aerojet employees were able to immediately capture waste data at the point of generation and storage locations – cutting data entry time to just a few minutes each day.

In early 2009, when Aerojet upgraded its Essential Suite platform, the company's EH&S team decided to take the next step forward by collaborating closely with ESS in the design, development and field testing of an entirely new application called Essential Mobile™ for Waste.

This new add-on software leverages barcode technology and wireless communications to capture and send that data to Essential Suite.

Mr. Mohammed said that Aerojet chose to support the launch of Essential Mobile™ instead of investing its internal resources – including an estimated 3 months of development – in producing another homegrown application because ESS' new solution would simplify the company's business processes for container inventory tracking, consolidation and shipping.

'ESS listened to the needs of our team. When we compared the cost of building our own mobile application against Essential Suite's mobile solution, it made sense to choose ESS,' Mr. Mohammed said. 'Essential Mobile for Waste offers an integrated technology that delivers all of the functionality that Aerojet needs, plus additional functionality that supports improved workflow in our waste operations.'

Mr. Mohammed went on to say that ESS' new Essential Mobile for Waste is 'a lot easier to work with,' because its barcode technology makes tracking faster than Aerojet's old system. 'Our homegrown solution was not set up for tracking shipments. Using barcodes has helped us generate time savings beyond our homemade solution,' he said. And, because Essential Mobile for Waste is 'productized' and fully supported by ESS, Aerojet expects to save additional time and money whenever the system needs to be updated in the future.

The Challenge

  • Assure compliance with local, state and federal EHS regulatory and permitting requirements.
  • Optimize work processes to maximize efficiency and minimize risks/costs

The Solution

Essential Suite® including

  • Essential Air™
  • Essential Water™
  • Essential Waste™
  • Essential Chemical Inventory™
  • Essential MSDS Manager™
  • Essential Compliance Manager™
  • Essential Task Manager™
  • Essential Mobile™ for Waste

Also licensed: Compliance Suite's Safety Management Software Waste Reporter

The Results

  • 14 years proven performance streamlining compliance with federal, state, local regulations
  • Hundreds of employees use ESS' EHS software from the plant floor to management
  • MSDS master database eliminates redundant work at multiple locations, cuts material safety management time costs by 90%
  • Water discharge monitoring reports (DMR) now generated in 2 hours instead of 2 days
  • Waste data entry time drops from 45 minutes to a few minutes each day per waste operations employee – thanks to mobile wireless collection
  • Saved 3 months now and additional time in the future by eliminating the need to update/maintain homegrown mobile waste data collection tool

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