Fuller formed an EH&S group in 1991, to ensure that its policies remain uniform and are implemented consistently throughout the 33 countries where the company has a presence. The group's primary compliance vehicle is a combination of software systems, including Essential Suite by ESS. Among the modules used by the department are Essential Air™, Essential Waste™, Essential Chemical Inventory™ and Essential Task Manager™.
'Essential Suite is a significant component within our information technology infrastructure, and it is completely integrated with many of the other systems,' said David Crisman, EH&S manager.
'ESS recently introduced Essential Suite (Version 6.0), the first enterprise-level system with the capacity to fully leverage EH&S and Crisis Management data to assure compliance, reduce risk and enhance business performance,' Crisman said. 'The browser-based functionality is one of the new version's key advances.'
Integrating Multiple Systems
Essential Suite takes a holistic, integrated approach to managing EH&S and Crisis Management data, turning it into a powerful driver for sustainable growth. Real-time knowledge of compliance metrics allows organizations to optimize their resources, share best practices enterprise-wide, eliminate costly multiple systems and support a culture of continuous improvement of all EH&S activities - and effectively demonstrate these achievements.
H.B. Fuller has used ESS products since 1998. Essential Suite is connected to an Oracle data mart that houses information from multiple systems, an internally developed Product Lifecycle Management software package that stores all of the company's raw materials data and finished product formulations, and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software. Raw material and formulation data is shared with the Essential Suite modules on a real-time basis.
The system's use of the Essential Chemical Inventory module is a good example of how the various tools in the company's software system work together. Once a week, a data stage job collects inventory totals, including disposal and scrap transactions. Then, Chemical Inventory stores data including the components and physical properties of the materials so the regulatory reports can be run.
Essential Chemical Inventory is used in the development of Toxic Chemical Threshold reports for the United States Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) and Canadian National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI). The module is also used for Tier II reporting in the United States, and threshold reports for specific state rules, utilizing the LOLI data that is included in the module.
H.B. Fuller also uses the transportation form within Essential Chemical Inventory to share information with other systems. The company created Visual Basic forms to customize the module to help them with regulatory issues including the Arts & Crafts Manufacturer's Institute, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA), the Toxic Substance Control Act (TCSA) and the European Inventory of Existing Substances (EINICS), and more.
Other metrics the department has generated within Essential Suite include:
Chemical Exposure Monitoring - The Industrial Hygiene module compliments the program requirements established by the company.
Open Tasks - Essential Task Manager shows the open compliance-related tasks remaining at the end of each month.
Report Runtime - A customization built into the system by HB Fuller to monitor the amount of time it takes to run reports.
User time - Another customization by the company that shows how much the system is being accessed by its power users.
Building a Legacy
'While many associates have access to the system for uses such as data entry and answering tasks, all of the compliance reporting is accomplished by 10 power users worldwide,' said Molly Coskran, Regulatory manager, responsible for all of the related EH&S and product knowledge applications at H.B. Fuller.
'We leverage the expertise of the few people who help the operations teams maintain compliance in this complex world, striving to keep facilities in compliance, and building a legacy for the business, ' Ms. Coskran said. 'This is really what we've turned to the software to do.'
To that end, H.B. Fuller is looking to expand the roles of some Essential Suite modules in the future. For instance, the company wants to enhance compliance task management with Essential Compliance Manager.
With chemical waste-to-production being one of the company's key metrics, Essential Waste has already assisted with the basic business measures. It is the system of record for water borne and chemical waste. The numbers are reported monthly to measure the company's progress with regard to reducing waste.
Reports show that H.B. Fuller reduced chemical waste by 17.6 percent worldwide in 2003. Mr. Crisman projected an additional 10 percent reduction for 2004. 'In 2001, the company set a three-year goal of 30 percent chemical waste reduction, and most divisions are on track to achieve that threshold, or more.'
'We need to start utilizing more of the power of the Essential Waste module for our benefit,' he said. 'We still have a very hands-on process for reporting waste from some regions and Essential Waste will help us streamline internal reporting.
'Initially, Essential Air was viewed as a tool that would assist in compliance with air permits and ordinances only within the United States,' Mr. Crisman said. 'However, it may increase in significance outside of the United States, with the greenhouse gas emission targets that are included in the Kyoto Protocol.'
Ms. Coskran ended by saying, 'Cost reductions can come in the form of money, time and increased efficiencies. In a global market, the ability to quickly transfer and share manufacturing and compliance data from country to country can make or break a deal.
'Corporations are at a point now where they simply can no longer afford to have people using multiple systems that are not fully integrated,' she said. 'The integration and customization capabilities within Essential Suite have made it the perfect complement to our system, as well as our strategic business model for Global Regulatory and EH&S at H.B. Fuller Company.'