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“Lean Management is a way of thinking, and when it’s done
properly, it becomes part of the culture. We’ve demonstrated
that with the use of Appenate.”

– Anthony McGrath, Chief Operating Officer, Parkes Shire Council

Safety Standards, “A3 Thinking” And Their Journey With Appenate

Anthony McGrath, Tim Gillogly and Stacie Medlyn – the team at Parkes Shire – sat down with Asel from our team to discuss how they’ve benefited from their eight-year subscription to Appenate, including how they attained ISO 45001 certification. Here’s their story.

Example of incident report on Appenate
An example of the Parkes Shire incident notification form.

Business Goal
To fully revamp their Work Health & Safety standards and advance their culture of continuous improvement.

Solution
A paperless, no-code app builder that unlocks real-time data and seamlessly integrates with existing systems.

Outcome
A holistic view of the organisation (plus job dispatch and status), with a better turnover time on compliance.

Where It All Began

After initiating an external Health & Safety audit, it became clear to the team that they weren’t meeting all the mandatory safety requirements. Using ISO 45001 as a standard, they set out to find a better way to operate.

Anthony, the IT manager at the time (now Chief Operating Officer), sought out a digital solution that would replace paper entirely. As he typed out his query, the search engine delivered.

Appenate stood out as a complete solution with impressive online ratings, so they booked a demo and secured their subscription.

Eight years later, Parkes Shire Council is still pushing innovation with the same ever-evolving platform.

Their Initial Paper-based Approach Wasn’t Cutting It

The office was an eye-sore with stacks of files lying about – waiting to be reviewed. Compliance turnaround time was uncomfortably high, and critical documents frequently vanished in the madness of manual operations.

It wasn’t a sound strategy for reliable data management and certainly didn’t help their operating speed.

On top of that, minor changes made to any document entailed intensive reprint efforts.

When they switched to Appenate they could finally rise above these annoyances.

Their First Experience With Our Platform

They kicked off their journey by designing work activity safety permits (WASP – pictured on the right). They simplified the forms by using drop-down lists (integrated with a local database), allowing their staff to easily pick the risk and control measures relevant to their operations.

As with most cases, there was a bit of initial tech hesitancy – many staff members didn’t even have smartphones back then. Management curbed the angst by giving each member a brand new iPad, after which the rollout was actioned with ease (who wouldn’t be motivated by a quality freebie?).

Example of WASP form in Appenate

We Seamlessly Integrated With Their Existing Systems

The Parkes Shire team loved that Appenate could connect to their other systems via the built-in connectors.

They hosted all their data on a local SQL server, and our Sync feature smoothly integrated their database with our platform.

This helped to create a secure environment that allowed for uninterrupted data transfer.

Together We Unlocked A Bird’s-eye View

Joining forces with Appenate, Parkes Shire Council enabled a more holistic overview of their organisation.

On a single device, management can easily keep tabs on risk assessments as the staff executes them in the field.

They can also view the task location and drill down into the specifics in real-time with our advanced Geo Mapping. Site locations can be dropped immediately whenever incidents occur to allow other members to investigate.

Today they’ve collected so much data with Appenate that proactive measures can be better implemented. Thanks to visible trends, they’ve unlocked the ability to track lead risk indications and intersect incidents before they occur.

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An Ally In Innovation

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Parkes Shire Council has created an organisational culture of continuous improvement. They demonstrated this commitment to innovation by adopting Appenate.

“We want to improve what we do for ourselves, our staff out on the field, and our customers,” Anthony remarked.

The real value of automation is optimization – doing more with less, faster and with better accuracy.

A3 Problem-Solving Meets Appenate

The team at Parkes Shire are great proponents of Lean Methodology and apply A3 thinking when updating their app structure. The field workers suggest changes, the method is applied, and the change is enforced. 

A3 problem-solving (developed by Toyota) is a lean approach to reporting issues and developing solutions. It presents the problem visually, incorporating sections like the current condition, the root cause, goals, and countermeasures. 

One of its tenets is to change one small thing at a time; incremental improvements over large-scale overhauls (which tend to be disruptive.)

Here’s a real-life example of such a change: one time an individual alert had to be pushed to notify a worker of the guarding measures to check off after operating a wood chipper. The worker suggested that these measures be added to the pre-start inspection forms instead.

The suggestion was approved and implemented immediately.

The Key To Their Success: Leading Change From The Top-Down

One of the critical reasons for their successful transition was the strong support from management.

From the start, they involved Kathy Stevens, a Health and Safety (and Appenate Certified 😉 ) consultant, to help design their forms in adherence to legislative requirements and to help the team work through sticking points.

The transition from paper to digital was implemented from the top-down, ensuring alignment and coalition between all members. They started small, catering to their day-to-day form needs, and widened their focus from there.

Ready To Elevate Your Operational Standards?

We at Appenate are honoured to have developed a platform that can drive such positive change within Councils. We also dedicate ourselves to the consistent research and development of our platform to keep improving things for the better. 

We offer a free trial to give you a taste if you’d like to get your own slice of Appenate. Click here to get started and use powerful, offline-capable apps within your business.

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