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When Aggregate Industries UK Ltd launched its corporate-wide ISO 14001 initiative, aiming to certify all its UK sites before the end of 2001, the Environmental Working Group challenged with implementing the system soon realised the benefits of utilising IT, and set about implementing an intranet-based Environmental Management System.
The system is compatible with Microsoft NT and Microsoft Office products, which meant that Aggregate Industries could easily adapt its existing network structure. And because the system runs within the Internet Explorer web browser, there was no need for additional software or system updates for users.
The first step was to identify and document significant aspects and impacts. Envoy provided a tool for quickly and easily identifying, assessing and documenting the significant environmental aspects and impacts of all sites in the organisation. A simple wizard helped Aggregate Industries through the significance evaluation and a flow chart of site operations clearly show all aspects identified. Once the significance assessment was complete, a comprehensive, up-to-date Register of Environmental Aspects was automatically generated. Key objectives and measurable targets for improvement are set based on the significant environmental aspects identified. Envoy also provides features that make follow-up and evaluation of objectives and targets quick and easy, and an Action Plan tracking tool to enable tracking and reporting on all objectives and targets and non-conformances found at sites within the system.
Being an "electronic" system, Envoy EMS automatically takes care of system documentation and document control. As soon as system documents, such as procedures, are created, they are all given unique reference and version numbers and Envoy EMS shows who created the document, when it was created and, if approval is required, who approved it.
Since Envoy EMS is built to be compliant with ISO 14001, the standard system structure worked well for Aggregate Industries. A few customisations to the interface were implemented and the already existing EMS documentation (in Word format) was simply cut and pasted into the system. This solved the problem of transition from a paper-based system to an electronic EMS.
As Watkins points out: "Document control is our biggest nightmare that is what prompted our quest for software initially. With Envoy EMS there is only one set of controlled documents and they are stored centrally; a huge saving in time and money."
Additionally, corporate-level users can generate reports for one site or all sites in the system as well as instantly generate "real-time" corporate-level statistics showing environmental performance .
Using the People Search function, users can instantly find others within the system by searching for them by location or by their association with other environmental management system components such as aspects and impacts, objectives and targets, or non-conformances.
The Audit tool makes scheduling, planning and conducting environmental
audits at Aggregate Industries sites quick and easy, providing an audit
schedule to cover the entire system within the timeframe chosen, as well as
suggesting qualified members of the audit team based on information from
Training module. The Audit team then uses checklists covering the
requirements of ISO 14001 and, based on the results, the system
automatically tallies an audit score, generates an audit report, and tracks
actions for rectifying any non-conformance.