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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.
An ISO 14001 pilot scheme was already underway at 13 Aggregate Industries
sites when the Environmental Working Group decided to implement an
intranet-based EMS. An Environmental Policy, EMS Manual, Corporate
Procedures and Guidelines were also in place. It was essential, then, to
find a solution that was compatible, not only with the existing EMS
structure, but also with the IT platform and software.
“With upwards of 140 sites and only six environmental staff, the effective
management of information is critical,” says Aggregate Industries¹ Miles
Watkins. “Because we have a single certificate registration to ISO 14001,
need to track the site management programmes centrally. That requires a
consistent framework into which the essential data can be entered and
accessed by all with zero time delay. The single store of data is the key.”
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
The first step was to identify and document significant aspects and
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
significance evaluation and a flow chart of site operations clearly show
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
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
one set of controlled documents and they are stored centrally; a huge
in time and money.”
Additionally, corporate-level users can generate reports for one site or
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
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.