High Risk Activities Approval - Ensuring Safety and Environmental Stewardship with No More Public Relations Incidents

The Situation

Due to very negative publicity resulting from an environmental issue in early 2014, the company began an effort to increase oversight of all activities having any risk of environmental consequences. It was decided that all such activities first be reviewed and approved by a team consisting of multiple vice presidents, environmental managers, and engineers. This desire to quickly review and approve/deny activities at most generating stations created an administrative burden.

The original process (using the tools with which the team was most familiar) involved email requests transferred to an Excel spreadsheet. An engineer that was familiar with SharePoint suggested to the committee that a SharePoint site be built to facilitate the process after finding out how labor-intensive the original process was going to be.

The Task

The mission was to build a site with an intuitive home page that led station managers and the team through the entire process.

The Action

We began work on the new SharePoint solution on Tuesday, and it was to be implemented on the following Monday. The new SharePoint site featured a custom list for local managers to input desired activities, but had an out-of-the-box approval workflow enabled so the committee could review and approve/deny list items with a simple checking of a box (along with adding any necessary comments).

The Results

The new SharePoint list allowed local managers to input new activities, even while the review committee was signing off on other items within the list.

The SharePoint site rolled out on Monday as desired with only an explanatory email having been sent to local managers and the approval process began without issues. Views were customized and adjusted based on feedback over the next week to allow approvers and local managers to more quickly see the information that was pertinent to their needs.

Within three months, the site had successfully facilitated the approval or rejection of more than 300 high risk items.

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