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Sonya Price, Area Manager

Insights on going mobile to create a more efficient and accountable team

Background

Sonya Price has spent the past 8 years ensuring MMC Materials’ safety is at the highest standards. She works diligently to oversee safety and environmental compliance for 19 concrete plants across the state of Mississippi as the Area Safety Manager for the GTR and Delta areas. Having gained safety experience in the ready-mix industry since 2007, she recognized she needed a comprehensive solution for the challenges MMC Materials faced keeping inspections accurate and compliant.

Sonya recently shared her experience transitioning from paper to progress. Here’s her personal account of seeing a more efficient and accountable team moving MMC Materials forward:

Sonya Price

Area Safety Manager

Identifying gaps in the yes/no system

Everything was done on paper. To make sure inspections were done on time, I’d have to go into each plant. My 19 facilities span east to west, it’s a lot of travel. There are lots of binders to look through. They’re huge and they’re heavy.

So, I’d check the books, all of the forms, and paper, checking one plant at a time. But there was no way to ensure everything was done appropriately. Unless somebody took the extra step to print a photo to put with it, I couldn’t verify what they looked at when they looked at it, and so on. Some plants didn’t get the updated forms, or someone may have missed an email when we added a form. It was difficult for them to keep up with what needed to be done for compliance.

Legitimacy, accountability: time and time and time again, Mapistry has helped us improve on that.

Overcoming slow and outdated processes

Before we started Mapisty, we had an inspection during COVID for which I had to email stacks of paper. We were limited by our email size, so I could only scan and email one form at a time. They wanted 36 months of forms; we had 20+ forms a month for just one location. I have 19 locations under me and we have 80 locations total. It took me months on a slow internet connection to send the forms through email. I had to send pictures of the stacks of forms on my desk telling the inspector, “I promise they are here. I promise I am working on it!”

So, I started several years ago with a free app. I downloaded it and spent a whole week customizing my own form. The corporate safety manager came around and asked what I was doing. I showed him and said if we could get all of our environmental forms electronically, that would help. He was all for it!

We started looking and talking to the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality. At the time, they would not accept anything but paper inspections. We had to work to convince them electronic information was the way to go. 

The app I used was not going to be financially acceptable for our needs but also we’d have to do all the work ourselves. Each area would have to put their information in. That was not going to work on the broad scale, and we’d still have the inconsistencies. We looked for something that would bring everything together and make it user-friendly, and that would match the compliance requirements for our reporting.

You can see from when we began to implement Mapistry until now, the quality of inspections, the timeliness of inspections have surpassed our expectations. Also, we can track the progress of compliance with real-time analytics! No more paper.

Realizing the right solution

The ease of use really made Mapistry the right choice: the global changes that needed to be made, the consistency between inspections forms, being able to schedule frequencies, and really the ability to push it out to everyone in our organization instead of piecemeal it. And having a team dedicated to helping us make it work!

Analytics/visibility

Being able to pick up any time during the month and see how the inspections are going, see who is doing well, really helps your stars stand out. Having that visibility with the analytics dashboard to see percentage-wise at a glance, helps keep everyone on track and on schedule.

Ease of inspections

Whenever someone comes around for an inspection, be it OSHA, DEQ, or FEPA, it doesn’t look good if the manager on-site doesn’t know what they are talking about. Having everything accessible in one place shows they are informed of what is happening on their site. And having to read the questions and do the inspections accurately every month makes them more cognizant. Inspections go a lot quicker.

Quality of inspections

The quality of the inspections has resulted in less downtime because things are getting repaired before they become a problem. The plants are cleaner. Things are running a lot smoother because the quality of our inspections has improved dramatically. 

Flexibility

We have to document our personnel training for our state agency. We use the inspection forms to upload a copy of the sign-in, the documents we use for the training, and make notes on what was trained on. So when they come in and ask for our environmental records, it’s all right there to download and submit. We use it for our safety inspections as well so we don’t have to use different programs for environmental and safety compliance.

Having different sites in different states, there are different requirements. Some of the forms are similar but some are vastly different and some exist in one state and not another. The flexibility of the Mapistry team going through all of our forms with us and determining what we could double up and what we had to customize for different locations was a huge factor in deciding to use Mapistry versus other programs.

“The truth is the correct answer”

You don’t expect pencil whipping to happen as much as it does. One guy called and said, “I had this spill kit in my office for 7 or 8 years. I always just knew it was there. But when I read the question that said, ‘Is your kit complete?’ I looked in it and there was nothing in the box!” So we were able to order him a new spill kit. Having them actually read the questions and answer them accurately, they have to go look! The most eye-opening thing was they weren’t always reading the questions. They were just marking the questions ‘yes’ that were ‘yes’ last month. The correct answer is the truth. If you document that truth and you document the corrections made that need to be made, that’s the correct answer. 

Advice for those considering going digital

Do it yesterday! The sooner the better! You’re going to have to do some customization. When you take your month to trial [with Mapistry], remember, it is a trial. You can customize it when you make your commitment and it’s amazing how customized it can get. Our customer success manager helped set everything up, ensuring each site dashboard was tailored to meet our compliance needs.

We started in one area at a time. We started with mine since I pushed everything. By working with one small area at a time we were able to keep adjusting and customizing to meet each site’s needs. Most of the time, when an area used Mapistry for one month, they didn’t want to ever go back to paper. 99% of our team has been excited to make the change. I haven’t had much pushback at all even from the ones I would expect. That’s huge.

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