As a wind farm construction and maintenance company, SBL Solutions understands the power of capturing chaos. They provide electrical and mechanical fitters and wind turbine technicians to the renewable energy sectors in Australia, New Zealand and the APAC region—with a mission to turn the chaos of wind into renewable energy.
As the company experienced rapid growth the past few years, SBL Solutions recognized the importance of controlling the chaos of internal operations, as well. They knew they had to work hard to build operational foundations as their business grew. Adopting Assignar was their first step.
The Challenge: Keeping track of a growing team
In this case, it’s the “minimum viable process.” SBL Solutions started humbly with a team of five, but has since grown to employ over 120 people. Starting with a small team meant using simple processes and improving as they grew. SBL Solutions initially adopted a digital timesheet solution, but it lacked features they needed— like ways to track assets and safety compliance.
Like every other construction industry, the renewable energy sector requires an array of certifications, licenses and competencies, such as rigging, dogging and crane driving. SBL Solutions needed help managing it all across their employees to ensure everyone’s safety and compliance—and the problem only compounded as they grew.
James Hickey, former General Manager, knew they had an organizational problem early on.
“We had SWMS for each task, and our take-5s were all around the office like post-it notes. There was a lot of double handling. It was just a nightmare,” he said.
Managing Director Brett Poole knew that going digital was the way forward for his business. They started looking for a comprehensive solution that included timesheets, asset tracking and compliance monitoring. That’s when they found Assignar.
The Solution: Everything Digital, In One Place
The SBL team moved to Assignar because it met their most important criteria: tracking timesheets, assets and safety. This allows them to link timesheets to other important documents like safety and quality forms. Mechanics and electricians can’t submit their timesheets at the end of the day until they’ve met all their requirements. It’s helped SBL ensure compliance and keep all their forms digitized and in one place—something Poole thinks is essential in their conservation-focused industry.
“We’re building wind farms. We should be saving the environment,” Poole said. “We shouldn’t be cutting down trees with all that paperwork.”
The Results: Operations built on solid ground
As SBL has integrated the platform into their business, Assignar has become their de facto database. All technicians’ tickets, licenses and permits are linked to their personal profiles, and SBL even set up notifications for when they’re near expiration.
“It would be very difficult to manage our safety processes without something like Assignar,” Poole said.
SBL Solutions uses Assignar to ensure everything is recorded and tracked down to the serial numbers on their tools. They even track registration and insurance on their vehicles to ensure everything is up to date.
Using the information aggregated in Assignar, SBL can tell their clients exactly how many turbines were installed, what type they were, what work was completed and who completed it. It’s given them the ability to pull this data easily and give their clients the detailed information they need to feel confident in SBL’s work.
“In this business, it just takes one incident poorly documented, a gap in communication of safety standards or just one missing safety form to shut a business down. Having this peace of mind is just unquantifiable.”
Using Assignar’s API to its fullest
SBL Solutions wanted to take their operations processes to the next level. Starting with Assignar, they created their own web portal—the SBL datahub. Using Assignar’s open API, they link their data hub with Assignar and other key databases, like their finance software, to streamline and automate wherever they can. For example, their safety register is a form in Assignar. When questions are answered, and the form is ready for the next action item, the next person is automatically notified in the datahub. Hickey says this process automated much of SBL Solution’s processes and took a lot of the minutia off of their managers.
“We know that the key critical milestones that have to happen are happening by themselves,” he said. “As an organization, the managers aren’t managing. They’re leading.”
Prepped and ready for ISO
Hickey knew they had to master their operations before even attempting to pass the ISO certification process, which certifies that a management system meets their requirements for standardization and quality assurance.
Form management was a key component of their ISO certification, according to Hickey. The team manages over 150 forms—adding them to Assignar as digital forms makes it easy to organize the documents and ensure everyone that needs access to them gets it.
Another factor in the certification process was their ability to remain connected with workers in the field. With Assignar, they ensured everyone had access to the information they needed to complete their job, and the office kept up with progress throughout the day.
Assignar even helped streamline the certification process. All SBL Solutions had to do was share their login and show the certifier all the cataloged information. Hickey knows the process doesn’t always go smoothly, but he said Assignar helped them shorten the typically eight-day process to two.
“When we did the application, the certifier trawled through all of our processes, which was made so much easier by having Assignar,” Hickey said.
SBL Solutions developed a fully integrated management system compliant with ISO 45001:2018, ISO 14001:2018 and ISO 9001:2018, and are now ISO certified.
“Everyone knows that we’re legit,” Hickey said.
Operations processes can thrive now that SBL Solutions has a strong foundation to work from. With the right groundwork laid, Hickey is optimistic about SBL’s future.
“We can now build other systems around it, but without Assignar being that core in the middle,” he said, “we wouldn’t be able to do what we’re doing today.”