Interstate Batteries Partners with Pulpstream, Aligns Business Across Borders in 4 Months

Optimized Work Streams 

• Safety inspections and audits
• Corrective action management
• KPI report generation

Aligning business initiatives across locations is a challenge that takes billion-dollar companies at least 6-12 months. Within 4 months, Interstate Batteries aligned employees at 76 locations by powering its new Safety Champion program with Pulpstream. Pulpstream is the most efficient, low-code application development platform for ops process management. Companies partner with Pulpstream to create digital business process management solutions that stream from the cloud to any device. Interstate Batteries used it to conquer a challenge at HQ, which guides every brand location across the globe.

“Prior to developing this application, we saw different levels of implementation and efficacy,“ said Matt Stringer, Director of Environment, Health and Safety at Interstate Batteries. “Now, we have an army of Safety Champions at the company who have the knowledge and the tools to go find things that can get people hurt. Even though they’re all over the country or out of the country, they’re all having a shared experience through the app. It’s amazing; and Pulpstream is a huge part of that.”

Low-Code Application Development Platform Powers Business Alignment Across Borders

Stringer created the Safety Champion program to empower employees, who aren’t managers, to make workplaces safer. The Safety Champions are given a personalized version of the application that is tailored for the risk management strategy at their location. App in hand, they conduct environment, health, and safety hazard assessments at regular intervals to ensure that work spaces are safe for employees, and compliant with corporate and government regulations. Best practices are built into the app.

Because the company’s lines of business are so diverse, it was a challenge to roll out an environment, health, and safety (EHS) system that would work effectively at every location.

“The biggest challenge was trying to get everyone on the same page,” Stringer said.

Interstate Batteries has about 500 wholesale distributors and warehouses throughout North and South America. It also conducts business in Australia and is expanding into China. It distributes to more than 200,000 auto repair shops, vehicle service chains, and retail stores, which provide consumers with every type of battery on the market. Founded in Dallas, Texas in 1952, Interstate Batteries is the number one recycler of lead acid batteries in the world, recycling about 26 million batteries per year. The privately-held company annually earns $1.5 billion in revenue and employs more than 1,500 people. It is these employees it seeks to protect with the Safety Champion program.

While employees in the distribution centers are at work, they navigate forklift traffic, hazardous chemicals, and shelves that contain batteries of all sizes, from AAA’s to large car batteries. Keeping these work areas safe, so employees can stay healthy, is of utmost importance. Safety Champions proactively prevent incidents by using the native application to create digital safety assessments, trigger corrective actions if needed, and perform audits.

Why Interstate Batteries Partnered with Pulpstream

Mr. Stringer was introduced to the Pulpstream platform when he worked at Central Garden & Pet, a publicly-traded company with a $1.6 billion market cap. Central Garden & Pet used Pulpstream to optimize its EHS program with such great success that when Stringer transitioned to a new role at Interstate Batteries, he recommended Pulpstream to his new executive team. Interstate Batteries employees now use mobile devices to complete EHS processes at 76 locations, even in areas where there is no cell service.

“We’ve seen massive improvements in our compliance rates, month-to-month.” Stringer said. “Without Pulpstream, the Safety Champion Program would not be functional at all. Tracking improvements and corrective actions would be a nightmare.”

Low-Code Platform Delivers Control and Flexibility

Prior to using Pulpstream, the company managed these business processes with pen and paper. Today Stringer and his team at HQ track performance trends across all distribution centers, warehouses, and franchises through a web-based interface. If needed, corrective actions can be assigned and tracked on a mobile app or through a web interface.

Every part of the digital business process is dynamic.  Digital forms, data components, roles, permissions, milestones, and escalations can be changed through a drag-and-drop canvas.   When requirements change, or a new location starts participating in the Safety Champion program, Cooper Ratliff, Environmental, Health and Safety Specialist, flies into town.

Mr. Ratliff is the Pulpstream solution administrator for the company. While he is not a classically-trained software engineer, he is an expert in occupational health and safety. Without writing a line of code, he designs and deploy digital business process management solutions. When local conditions, corporate policies, or compliance requirements change, he’s fully prepared to update the EHS department’s technology infrastructure without calling the IT department.

At the time of this interview, he was preparing to fly to a distribution center in Iowa to create a new EHS work Stream.™

“I can make the changes we need to make in real time when I get there, instead of going into a spreadsheet, typing it in, and then sending that back to headquarters,” Ratliff said. “Being able to show the guys what I’ve made for them and giving them something they can utilize when I leave is awesome.”

“That’s something that we weren’t able to do in the past,” Stringer said. “That same day, the checklist for the distributor audit can be in the system based on what he observes out there. So by the time we’re done, they’ve got an audit specific to that location. If we had to write it all down and create it later, things would get lost.”

Pulpstream centralizes every bit of data in the cloud, enabling everyone on the team to access information gathered on any device in any location. Stringer monitors Safety Champion program performance indicators across all participating locations on a personalized analytics dashboard. He can zoom in to see photos attached to a safety inspection or zoom out to see macro trends across a continent. And when things change, Cooper can update the work Streams.™  No coding required.

No matter what future business strategy Interstate Batteries chooses to implement, Pulpstream’s low-code application development platform empowers the team to adapt to change at digital speed.

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