CalPortland Drives Environmental Excellence
Cement leader digitizes inspections and streamlines compliance management at the site-level
Tracking inspections and tasks
Environmental leadership has always been a top priority for CalPortland, but when the number and complexity of environmental compliance requirements started to outweigh the staff time and resources they had available, tracking mandatory inspections and tasks across all of their plant locations quickly became too overwhelming for internal staff to handle alone. For example, at their Arizona cement plant, CalPortland has 35 pieces of equipment of which to complete daily checks, 365 days a year. When combined with SPCC, stormwater, waste, and opacity observations of property boundaries and roads, that adds up to more than 15,000 inspections annually at this facility. Across three cement plants, CalPortland spends significant time ensuring compliance and mitigating risks.
Some of the compliance inspections and actions that CalPortland’s teams track across sites include: air quality, stormwater, SPCC, groundwater, drinking water, wastewater, and waste management among internal, local, state, and federal requirements. The magnitude of these checks frequently required contractor help. This resulted in compliance inspection, logs and data reports not always being readily available to the environmental manager since physical papers had to be mailed to the site.
Further, reports were tracked primarily in the field on paper and turned in to the manager, where they were filed in cabinets to be passed to the corporate team later. The disconnectedness in inspections and recordkeeping between sites, and siloed data meant there was very little visibility for areas of improvement in CalPortland’s compliance processes.
Mitigating lost data risk
Another area of concern for the EHS team was ensuring that compliance checks did not experience delays or interruptions due to staff turnover . With such a quickly growing and thriving team, not having a central way to manage their environmental compliance data posed a serious issue.
Previously, CalPortland’s managers at each site used independent systems for tracking compliance initiatives. This often consisted of setting individual reminders in Outlook and then manually tracking the completion in Excel spreadsheets.
With any industry, there is a natural progression of turnover as employees retire or move on to different positions. As a new manager entered into their role with CalPortland, the task to recreate a system and manually set each of the task reminders — all 15,000+ — was first on their to-do list. CalPortland’s Director of Environmental Affairs, Desirea Haggard, found herself in this exact position when she was handed over 40 years of spreadsheets and outdated Word documents.
Like many other professionals in the industry, her predecessor was big on physical paper reports, inspections, operational records, and performance tests. Every record was accounted for in the office, but it was difficult to decipher the organizational strategy and find important compliance reports in a timely manner.
Furthermore, it was nearly impossible to use the data to gather deeper insights. Unfortunately, when essential information from one employee to the next isn’t easily transferred and shared, the room for error and lost data is exponential.
Transitioning from paper to centralized digital record-keeping
When the 2020 global pandemic hit, the need to go digital became glaringly apparent. Paperwork was already cumbersome and the pandemic made it even more difficult to keep up with reports. When the world shifted into socially-distanced work processes, manually tracking compliance for critical checks on physical forms and gaining any insight into that information proved dangerously inefficient.
As a critical safety precaution, on-site staffing was limited to essential workers and the contractors employed to prepare vital compliance reports were asked to mail documents to CalPortland’s team. Unfortunately, slow moving mail meant inspection reports and valuable data took up to six weeks to reach key stakeholders.
“We were already eager to go digital and centralize our data, but to see the papers piling up as the world halted and delays as reports were mailed from site to site, any access to reviewing the documents in real-time was lost. The managers did a great job keeping facilities safely functioning in compliance through the pandemic. From a higher level, it was overly apparent the challenging situation we had to offer real-time support when relying on these traditional methods.” – Desirea Haggard, Director of Environmental Affairs.
CalPortland Company is a major producer of cement, ready mixed concrete, aggregates, concrete products, and asphalt in the western United States and Canada. Their operations are consistently recognized for their sustainable approach, earning ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year for seventeen consecutive years.
With sites in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, and Arizona, and in British Columbia and Alberta, CalPortland operates 3 cement plants, 10 cement terminals, 64 ready mix plants, 2 asphalt plants, and over 2,500 ready mix trucks.
3 cement plants, 23 aggregate plants, 64 ready-mix plants, and multiple cement terminals.
Nearly 3,000 employees across five states
- Tasks Tracking
- Compliance Calendar
- Data Logging
Centralized inspections requirements
Values centered around safety, quality, and reliability require accurate insight into real-time data analysis to consistently identify ways to improve. CalPortland has been able to achieve these standards and much more by partnering with Mapistry.
The key element missing in CalPortland’s compliance process was central access to inspections requirements, records, and actions. Without visibility of reports over time within a plant, as well as across several sites, keyholders were not able to accurately assess the effectiveness of their compliance initiatives.
By working with Mapistry’s team, CalPortland now has all inspection requirements, forms, tasks, and data accessible to all members of their teams. Consistency across sites ensures renewed reliability and accountability in their compliance reporting.
Customization for each site
Operating three cement plants in California and Arizona, each plant is accountable to different requirements from a local to state level. With a focus on the people of CalPortland, the Mapistry team was able to create a fully-customized dashboard for each site.
All sites have federal permit and inspection documents accessible, and now, each has local requirements and tasks customized to its specific needs. CalPortland takes great pride in sustainability and environmental safety. Having effortless and immediate access to compliance updates and mapping requirements means proactive mitigation to ensuring the highest standards continue to be met — regardless of location.
Time savings and improved accuracy
Time savings came in the way of data processing with results available immediately to everyone through mobile and cloud-based app functions. Automation of inspection reports and task management allows CalPortland’s EHS and plant managers to spend more time gaining insights to improve internal processes and less time setting up reminders and shifting piles of paperwork.
Quick access to online forms makes it clear exactly what inspections have been completed in the field, and digital tracking allows for a side-by-side comparison of reports to easily see areas of opportunity. Most importantly, this access is available to all key stakeholders from the site to the corporate level.
“When I need to reference back to any of the 15,000+ data checks at my site, I’m able to now do-so easily. All reports and notes are attached and easily accessible. Plus, the added peace of mind that everyone has access has made our environmental efforts even greater. If I’m not available, other employees or key stakeholders can pick up right where I left off, keeping everyone on the same page and not delaying making important decisions to improve our processes.” – Kacy Vance, Environmental Manager.
Real-time task tracking
Shortly after implementing Mapistry, the corporate level received a request from one of the sites. They wanted to use Mapistry for more functions!
With the centralized inspections requirements clear for everyone and real-time task tracking accessible at all levels, site managers saw an opportunity to import even more of their tasks into the platform to ensure completion.
The ability to track and complete tasks in the field from any mobile device through Mapistry’s mobile app ensures everyone is playing their role to improve site operations.
“The real-time tracking and access to compare completed reports are what we needed to continue to provide a climate where commitment, creativity, and productivity thrive. With the help of Mapistry to gain greater access into our data, we can continue to be the best partner possible in our communities and with our customers, providing the highest quality environmentally sustainable products.”
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