Illovo Pongola mill goes live with IntelliPERMIT

JSE-listed Illovo has gone live with its implementation of ApplyIT’s IntelliPERMIT at its Pongola mill, replacing its old manual work permit system with the market’s leading electronic application.

While the old system had done a fair job, it presented many challenges. One was that employees using it tended to place ticks in the relevant boxes on the permits without fully exercising their minds with regard to the hazards and risk control requirements of each task.

Bruce Holmes, operations manager at the time, suggested using IntelliPERMIT and once funds were allocated and the team was given the go-ahead, implementation began.

“The advantage of IntelliPERMIT is that people preparing, issuing, authorising, accepting and ultimately signing off permits are compelled through a process where they have to answer questions correctly before the system will ultimately print out a permit,” says Gavin Halse, MD of ApplyIT, a company in the JSE-listed AdaptIT group. “If they answer incorrectly or forget to acknowledge any specific risk-related parameter, the application takes them back a few steps and recommends suggestions for consideration. Such a permit will remain with the person doing the work and contain all the hazards, risks and risk control measures required by the permit holder for that specific task. The permit holder can be requested to produce this at any time by a manager who can then perform a spot compliance audit.”

“We have found the system very helpful and we are confident it will improve safety in some of the medium to high-risk maintenance activities in the factory,’’ says John Cox, facilities manager, Illovo Pongola. “We made a conscious decision not to incorporate all the features of the system to start with, but rather to wait until users had gained more experience and confidence, before we made use of additional functions already built into IntelliPERMIT.”

The one aspect that was underestimated was the time needed to train the users of the system, many of whom had little or no previous exposure to computers. "We just didn’t fully appreciate that to quite a few employees, the mysteries of simple computer phrases such as ‘double click on the icon or drop down menu’ had yet to be explained. To some, even the most basic instruction to ‘hold the mouse’ or ‘Escape’ resulted in total confusion, many blank faces and some hilarity,” says Cox.

He adds: “There is no doubt, however, that those ‘intellipeople’ who persevered in their efforts to master the new tool have benefited greatly.”

There has been some great feedback from the mill and “the friendly and helpful manner in which Dave Brennan and Henry Boshoff from ApplyIT guided us through the implementation of IntelliPERMIT on site made the transition from the old to the new system a pleasant and relatively painless one”, Cox concludes.

Contact

Nikki Beech, ApplyIT, 031 275 8080, beechn@applyit.com
John Cox, Illovo Pongola, 034 413 8129, jcox@illovo.co.za
Lisa Cooper, Predictive Communications, 011 452 2923, lisa@predictive.co.za