Episode 5

Eliminate Admin Time and Automate Tracking With Digital BBSOs

Steve McBride | CEO & Co-founder | Weever

August 8, 2022

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Digitization Mavericks is a podcast taking a closer look at the paperless transformation in manufacturing, construction, and beyond. Our host, Chris Krnezich interviews industry leaders to discuss the challenges that persist across the frontline, and how organizations are using new technology to improve efficiency for common workflows like abnormality reporting, BBSOs, 5S, inspection scheduling, and more.

In this episode of Digitization Mavericks, we are joined by Steve McBride, Weever’s very own CEO and Founder. Steve is a manufacturing veteran with more than 30 years of industry experience and has worked with manufacturers across every industry. Some of the topics Chris and Steve talk about are how to effectively organize and Behaviour Based Saftey Observation (BBSO) program, how automating tracking can make lives easier, and some of the best practices for BBSOs, regardless of technology integration.

Why is this important? Because over 90% of workplace incidents come from unsafe behavior. Behavior and practices on the shop floor are EVERYTHING and less time spent worrying about behavior means more time creating output for the company through continuous improvement.

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Transcription is automatically generated. 

Steve McBride (CEO & Co-founder Weever) (00:00):
There's just so much technology coming into manufacturing right now. It's really gonna change how everybody works.

Announcer (00:07):
Welcome to the digitization Mavericks podcast. Here we take a closer look at digital transformation and automation and manufacturing with the stakeholders who are working hard to make it happen. Our host Chris Krnezic interviews, industry leaders, to discuss the challenges that persist across the frontline and how organizations are using new technology to improve efficiency for common workflows, like abnormality reporting, BBSOs, 5S, inspection scheduling, and more, the status quo is no longer acceptable in manufacturing. So this is a podcast for the digitization Mavericks, the employees who care deeply about their company and want to elevate the quality of their work environment.

Chris Krnezic (00:46):
Welcome to another episode. It's Chris here and today I'm joined by Steve McBride, founder and CEO here at Weever. Thanks for making time to join us on an episode of digitization Mavericks.

Steve McBride (CEO & Co-founder Weever) (00:59):
Hey, thanks for having me, Chris.

Chris Krnezic (01:01):
Awesome. Well, let's wind it back for a second. So listeners out there can get to know you a little better. What led you to a career in manufacturing?

Steve McBride (CEO & Co-founder Weever) (01:10):
Sure. Well, I mean, if you wanna really wind it back, we can go back to 1825 when my family immigrated from Ireland to Canada and specifically to Hamilton where I still live today and where our head office is located. I won't go that far back, but I'll tell you, my grandfather played for the Hamilton Tigers, Canadian football, professional football, but he also worked full-time at Firestone. So manufacturing goes way back in our family. He built tires there and then my father worked at International Harvester just down the road from Firestone farm equipment manufacturer. And that's where I started my career as well. So I started in assembly and then I was able to get an apprenticeship, which I completed. And I ended up being a licensed industrial mechanic and I worked in total 10 years at International Harvester.

Steve McBride (CEO & Co-founder Weever) (02:12):
And I did everything from, you know, fixing lays and milling machines to cranes and hoist to presses to pretty much anything you can name, because it was a really big factory. So it was a great place to do an apprenticeship. And I learned a lot about manufacturing safety, maintenance quality, all different aspects of, of it and just I loved manufacturing. And then I went on to sales after 10 years there, I went on to sales where I worked 16 years selling automation equipment and I sold automation equipment all across north America to every manufacturer you can think of from drum sticks, both kinds of drum sticks, the ice cream and the ones that beat on the musical instrument food and beverage pharma big part of my job was automotive. I've been working with you know, Honda, Toyota, Chrysler, Ford, all of those companies as well. Walking around a manufacturing plantt is one of the most exciting things to me. I, I just, I just love it. I have big passion for it and having spent all that time in manufacturing, now I can go into our customers sites and spot the, the areas where they can use improvement and suggest ways to, to help them out with it.

Chris Krnezic (03:33):
Yeah. That's awesome that you mentioned International Harvester. I think I've been in that plantt. Is it the old building at the end of Sherman?

Steve McBride (CEO & Co-founder Weever) (03:40):
It is. Yeah.

Chris Krnezic (03:41):
Yeah. It's really interesting. You go in there and like, it's like going back in time when you get to that parking lot, then you walk inside, you see like there's robots and automation all throughout it's it's pretty crazy how things have changed there, but the out the shell of the building is still the same.

Steve McBride (CEO & Co-founder Weever) (03:54):
We, when I started there, we had hydraulic robots. So that was you know, that was back in, in the late eighties. And then they progressed into electric robots, but yeah, it's it's fairly automated now.

Chris Krnezic (04:11):
Not to age you, but I think I've only seen one hydraulic robot in my life. <Laugh> so going back there, can you share how those experiences inspired you to start Weever and how the company has since progressed from the early beginnings?

Steve McBride (CEO & Co-founder Weever) (04:25):
Yeah, so 11 years ago, when we started Weever, it became apparent that software could also have a role in productivity and manufacturing. So all of these years I've thought about, you know, how you can add a robot here or some automation equipment or a high speed conveyor. But software can also do this and be very flexible at it. It's all of the, you know, the, we talk about artificial intelligence all the time, but it's the human intelligence. There's the, the operator that's worked at that machine for 10 years and she can just hear something that's different or smells something that's different and spot something that a sensor could never do. It's that human intelligence part of it. So our first big client was Unilever. We really worked close with them to build out to learn their processes first and then build out our software all the way to lean manufacturing. Unilever's world class manufacturing company. So they follow lean principles and we're not only, we were not only able to create value for Unilever, but then the product started taking shape and we could show the value to other customers. And that's how we grew with our other clients as well.

Chris Krnezic (05:44):
Yeah. That's awesome. So what are the most common safety challenges in manufacturing and why are BBBS O or behavior based safety, observation programs so critical these days?

Steve McBride (CEO & Co-founder Weever) (05:57):
Yeah, they're so important. The reason why BSSO is becoming so important now is over 90% of workplace incidents are caused by unsafe behaviors, not conditions. So it's the behavior of the people, not the conditions around them. So that's where BSSO really comes in. So what a program can do is it can help change those behaviors. And also it'll foster better learned behaviors for new employees as well, show them that there are safe processes that everyone follows. No, no exceptions.

Chris Krnezic (06:31):
So let's do a deeper dive on that. How do these programs work and why do digital programs allow more companies to eliminate lengthy administrative tasks?

Steve McBride (CEO & Co-founder Weever) (06:44):
Yeah, so basically there's three steps in the BBBS O so the first step is observations. So in the observations safety managers provide training around what to observe, how to capture the data, how to properly conduct a safety observation observations. When you're doing one, an observer, shouldn't inform the staff member that they are being watched this way. They know there's nothing underhanded. They're not spying on them. They're not trying to you know, tell the boss on them for their doing something wrong. The idea is that you're supposed to watch somebody create feedback and then, you know, fix any, any behaviors that are inconsistent with the process. So you, you inform the staff member that you're gonna observe them. And you can do this by either selecting certain people, training, certain staff members do this, or have everybody in the company, complete observations.

Steve McBride (CEO & Co-founder Weever) (07:45):
And really that is the most valuable when you can get everybody in your company submitting observations and a very typical program will have like a KPI of every employee must submit one safety observation every month. And a lot of our customers that are successful at this track it, some of our customers even bonus their employees to it. So they get a bonus, but they don't get a bonus if they don't complete this one observation every month. So it's, it's tied to their compensation as well. The second step is evaluate submissions and create action plants. So when observations are submitted, supervisors will review them and create action plans. And then the third thing is to track the results. The most important is you wanna make sure what you're doing is actually working. So you wanna broadcast those KPIs as well, to everybody on your team. Maybe such as near misses or incidents to show the positive results that have been achieved through the BBBS O and then the insights can show opportunities where improvements are needed.

Chris Krnezic (08:54):
So with that, any tips on effectively digitizing a BSO program that you can share from your experiences with the customers that you've worked with?

Steve McBride (CEO & Co-founder Weever) (09:02):
Yeah, for sure. The first thing is you need a plan. You know, do you have the infrastructure needed wifi tablets computers, what, however, you're going to launch the plan, the program. Do you have a solid plan around it? And do you have the resources you need? Do you have resources to train the people and follow up on action items? So if you're gonna put a BS O program in place, you need to make sure that those whatever submitted is followed up on and action is taken. Otherwise your team will see that there is no value in this program because nothing is happening for the submissions that they make. They wanna see an action come out of that. So you need to make sure you plan those action items out and make sure they're being completed. And then look at things like, do you have software that's easy to use by all your staff, you may have young people, old people, people that speak different languages, things like that. Do you have something that's easy to use that all of your team can use, and then does that software allow you to create workflows and action items and at the SI same time giving you the reports that you need.

Chris Krnezic (10:15):
So let's talk more about the reporting then. How does automated tracking make the lives easier for the customers that currently use Weever in regards to behavior based safety observations?

Steve McBride (CEO & Co-founder Weever) (10:27):
Wow, that's the easiest question because I really whenever I visit our customers sites, I always make sure I talk to the HSE manager to see how things are going. And almost every HSE manager says the same thing that they now have more time to do their job. And what does that mean? Their job is not being an administrator. So now they have more time to spend on continuous improvements rather than data entry, creating Excel spreadsheets, building reports, that's all done automatically in the background. So now they can focus on what they were hired for and that's the continuous improvement of their safety program.

Chris Krnezic (11:11):
Got it. So with behavior based programs, being such a hot topic, the trend really revolves around a safety first culture. Yeah. Can you explain more and why that's so important and how the observation program leads into that?

Steve McBride (CEO & Co-founder Weever) (11:26):
Yeah. Culture is super important. You can think about, you know, when you first join a new company, how many people have joined a new company they're trying to follow the process and your coworker says to you, no, we don't do it that way. We actually do it this way. Skipping steps, being lazy, things like that. Oh, lock out, tag out. You don't need to lock out every machine. This one you don't need to lock out. Yes, you do. Safety is always number one. If you have that culture of somebody just following the process, every time a new person joins the company, they see that happening. That's part of my job. That's what I need to do. So that it's, the culture is really, really important.

Chris Krnezic (12:08):
So let's put you in the shoes of a safety manager at a plant, that's just starting to look to implement a behavior based safety program, regardless of their stage. What are some of the best practices for someone doing this?

Steve McBride (CEO & Co-founder Weever) (12:24):
Well, creating a, an engaged team is most important. It takes upfront training to educate your team on the benefits of the BBO BS O program. So you need to really get your team together, explain all of the benefits of, you know, they're gonna go home safe every night. The company's gonna be more productive, which secures their job better. It's a better place to work. Like there's all these factors that, that come into it that are all positives for everybody that works there. So that's, that's really the biggest part of this is training the team before you start the program

Chris Krnezic (13:03):
With BSOs. How many times do you think you can try to implement a program like this before your staff lose interest? And what I mean by that is if you don't get it right the first time, what do you think the response from staff will be? As you try to change it going forward,

Steve McBride (CEO & Co-founder Weever) (13:20):
It's gonna be harder for sure. So, yeah, that's why I said in a couple questions ago, you asked about the steps there and really the preparation is so important. So make sure your wifi is working and your tablets are working. What we normally do is when we're rolling out this program is that we have like a pilot group group do the program first. So supervisors that are already bought into the program, have them start the program, test the equipment. They're gonna be using it on test the workflow after make sure that they know how to complete the tasks that they assign to people make sure that the reports are right. The reports that they, the data that they're trying to get out from the reports is visible. And then once you get that all solid, then you launch it out so that you can do it right the first time.

Chris Krnezic (14:18):
So I, I talk to safety managers all the time and I hear from them, yeah, we have a paper based or a card based behavior based safety program. And I hear this all the time that the program has fallen off the wagon. Nobody's doing it. It's not really working. What's the best advice you can give to somebody in that situation. One word answers, the email you need

Steve McBride (CEO & Co-founder Weever) (14:37):

Chris Krnezic (14:39):
All right. So then what are the top three benefits for companies that are looking to digitize their behavior based safety observation program, aside from automation and reducing time? What other benefits will they receive from that?

Steve McBride (CEO & Co-founder Weever) (14:52):
Well, for sure the top benefit is visibility. So with good reporting, you can spot problem areas and trends. Of course, you know, human and financial benefits, less accidents means happier workforce and less cost to the benefit. Less cost to the business are really important as well. But for sure, visibility is number one because that's where you can really attack those areas where you're having problems. And it come becomes quite apparent where those areas are once your program is digitized and you have a really good reporting system.

Chris Krnezic (15:28):
Yeah. All of those benefits make sense to me and I see them day in, day out. So going back to the very beginning, I know you talked about your journey through manufacturing from the 18 hundreds. What excites you about working in manufacturing today?

Steve McBride (CEO & Co-founder Weever) (15:43):
Technology for sure. I mean, there's so much happening today with digitization. There's, you know, artificial intelligence, there's wearables like real wear headsets. Tvs are replacing whiteboards. Mundane, low paying jobs are being replaced with higher paying technology jobs. So there's just so much technology coming into manufacturing right now. It's really gonna change how everybody works.

Chris Krnezic (16:10):
Having said that. Do you think digitization is still a choice for companies in manufacturing today?

Steve McBride (CEO & Co-founder Weever) (16:16):
There is no choice anymore. Today, if you're not digitizing, you can't take advantage of the new technology. So if you have all paper forms and Excel spreadsheets, how are you gonna make use of AI? How are you gonna use video boards? Your data needs to be digital to get these other new technologies that come along with it.

Chris Krnezic (16:36):
So then how should people connect with you if they want to discuss the Weever platform in more detail or even in current job openings at Weever?

Steve McBride (CEO & Co-founder Weever) (16:45):
Connect with me on LinkedIn Steve McBride Weever, best way to to connect with me.

Chris Krnezic (16:51):
Awesome. Any closing remarks? Steve?

Steve McBride (CEO & Co-founder Weever) (16:54):
No. Chris, just thanks for having me on your show. It's good to you know, too bad. We couldn't get together. We're in different offices, 10 feet apart here, but I really appreciate you having me on.

Chris Krnezic (17:05):
The show and with that, I think for a boat to wrap up here. Thanks, Steve. Thanks for your time. And thanks to any listeners who tuned into this episode, see you next time on Digitization Mavericks.

Announcer (17:16):
The digitization Mavericks podcast is powered by Weever, a platform that automates every critical process. So you and your employees can focus on delivering value. Use digital data, capture, workflow management, and real-time reporting tools to dramatically improve operational efficiency and employee engagement. Visit Weever to see why so many of the world's manufactured leaders like Kellogg's in Unilever. Use Weever to optimize standard operating procedures.

Chris Krnezic (17:40):
Hey, this is your host, Chris. Again, I have two quick asks for all my listeners to help the show grow one. If you got value from this episode, please subscribe to the podcast on Apple or Spotify and leave a review, letting us know why two, if you are interested in appearing on the show or making a guest suggestion, please email podcast, We'd love to hear from you. Thanks and see you next time.


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