Dairy Crest is reaping major third-party management improvements since the deployment of Motion Computing F5 Tablet PCs at its distribution centre and factories. The Tablet PCs form part of a turnkey mobile system provided by Box Technologies and Prime Design Consultants.
With a need to ensure practical contractor compliance at the place where permit to work activities are to be carried out, Dairy Crest sought out a new mobile solution. The result was the introduction of the Motion Computing F5 Tablet PC at its distribution centre and factories throughout the UK and Ireland as part of a highly effective turnkey mobile system.
With an aim of continually improving the way in which it managed third-party contractors on its sites, Dairy Crest wanted to improve the paper-based systems it was using. This would then enable the company to better monitor contractors' activities; including the issuing of permit to work documents, and conducting risk assessments to meet its statutory obligations. In this way, Dairy Crest could better ensure improved management of on-site contractors to prevent any accidents and to ensure full contractor compliance while on-site.
More specifically, the challenge was to collate and manage a database of contractor-approved documentation; issue an authorisation to work and permit to work, when appropriate onsite at the place of work including appropriate signatures, which remained auditable across the company.
A turnkey solution was provided by the combined expertise of Box Technologies and Prime Design Consultants. Although Prime Design already had a pilot version of an Electronic Permit to Work application, the solution took a further two years of software development and found the perfect hardware 'fit' in the semi-rugged Motion F5 Tablet PC. The software/hardware combination utilises Prime Design's core control of contractors' application 'Salutis Tracker'.
Signatures' are captured directly onto the Motion F5 Tablet PC using technology from IDSL Global and Topaz systems called 'SigPlus'. The same technology is utilised on a IDSL Global signature pad when the software is installed on a conventional PC or laptop and 'electronic ink' functionality is not available. By using SigPlus the signatures can be encrypted and stored in the database. Signatures are not stored as digitised images and can only be displayed on the document they were originally signed against. This therefore gives a high level of security to the signer and maintains the document integrity.
The opportunity with Dairy Crest and Prime Design's software led directly to the deployment of the Motion F5 Tablet PC to provide on-site, real-time productivity in its warehouse and production facilities. The additional features designed into the lightweight Motion F5 Tablet PC including a powerful Intel Core 2 Duo processor and improved battery life allowed Dairy Crest to:
- Obtain contractors' signatures with ease.
- Take a picture with the build-in camera of any possible safety risks.
- Eliminate any communications or safety compliance delays.
The semi-rugged Motion F5 Tablet PC has replaced paper-based documentation at Dairy Crest and provided a central technology point for the monitoring, control and issuing of documentation. The main features of the Motion F5 Tablet PC include:
- Semi-Rugged Design.
- Powered by a Intel Core 2 Duo Processor.
- Lightweight Design (3.3lbs).
- View Anywhere Display.
- Powerful Lithium-Ion battery.
- Integrated Camera.
- Desktop Docking Capability.
The units were supplied by Box Technologies under the product line of Box Mobile through its ISV partner Prime Design Consultants.
Better control contractor activities
Head of group health and safety, Andy Malachrino, commented: "The electronic permit to work system has given us the ability to more effectively control our contractor activities, with the Tablet PC giving us the flexibility to manage work at the point where it is actually carried out."
Hanworth factory compliance and projects manager, Andy Cornick, said: "The deployment of the Motion F5 Tablet PC at Dairy Crest's warehouse and production sites has enabled us to address the real-time issues and auditable challenges associated with paper-based documentation."
Continuing this theme of versatility, the managing director of Prime Design, Keith Gibbons, can see much wider applications for the Motion Computing F5 Tablet PC: "The system has transformed the way Dairy Crest handle their health and safety documentation," he said. "In companies where there are multiple sites or several operational scenarios, the need for flexible electronic systems is all too clear."