Why Steel Manufacturer Gerdau Got Rid Of Paper For Their Equipment Safety Inspections

Gerdau manufactures quality steel products that strengthen and support infrastructure projects throughout North America. From automotive, construction, agricultural, and energy markets Gerdau steel has been trusted since 1901.

At Gerdau, steel is the product, but its people are the priority. That is why the company now uses QuickTapSurvey to complete equipment safety inspections. QuickTapSurvey’s safety inspection app identifies and reports equipment status. Inspections are conducted before each shift to ensure all machinery is in working order, crucial to keeping employees safe.

Challenges – Using Paper Forms to Complete 146,000 Safety Inspections a Year

Before QuickTapSurvey,  Gerdau used paper forms to complete safety inspections. In 2015, a new standard was implemented that required additional daily inspections.  One mill alone could conduct as many as 200 safety inspections, twice a day, 365 days a year. That meant 146,000 paper inspections a year that all had to be manually scanned into a computer, checked by a facilitator, and transferred into a spreadsheet.

Solution – The Need for a Mobile Safety Inspection App

A combination of high safety inspection volume and long collection times pushed Gerdau to look for a new data collection method. Mathew Huskey, a rolling mill superintendent at Gerdau’s Charlotte, North Carolina location, was part of a group tasked with simplifying the equipment inspection process. Matt saw an opportunity to use QuickTapSurvey, an app-based safety inspection platform, that would allow employees to conduct surveys from their mobile device.

“I approached QuickTapSurvey because of the simplicity to use the product, outstanding customer support in scaling the solution, and the visual reporting that allowed immediate feedback so we can be faster in addressing potential issues.  In the past, we would collect the paper every 24 to 48 hours and then manually update a spreadsheet which was labor intensive and cumbersome to manage. QuickTapSurvey makes data collection faster. The results were less time to complete equipment inspections. Its features include photos documentation of the inspection and notifications based on user response.  This allows immediate communication which allows us to allocate resources immediately or within a reasonable time frame based on the seriousness of the issue.”

Matthew Huskey
Rolling Mill Superintendent
Gerdau Charlotte Mill

Results – Switching fromPaper to the QuickTapSurvey Audits and Inspection App

After a successful trial, Gerdau approved the QuickTapSurvey safety inspection solution.  Alex Finke, then an Improvement Facilitator, used QuickTapSurvey to optimize the inspection process, conduct employee inspection training, and ensure standardization of the platform for all Jackson Tennessee mill operating and support departments. The ability to use the platform offline made it available regardless of wireless connection. The simple interface made it adaptable for employees who in the past filled out paper surveys and the skip logic (ability to move to different questions based on the previous answer) allowed surveys to be filled out efficiently and in detail.

Overall, Gerdau has increased the efficiency of inspection reviews by 85%. Facilitators now spend only ten minutes a week verifying pre-use safety inspections compared to the two hours it was taking before.

“QuickTapSurvey is an easy-to-use safety inspection app with customization options. For our unique situation, we needed to reduce the stress and time it took to collect and organize paper forms. The result has been incredible. Conducting pre-use inspections has been reduced by 85%, and it has also increased the reliability of the system. It offers the ability to use skip logic where one survey can be used for multiple purposes. Notifications are another feature that comes in handy. We are alerted when high-level hazards are detected. I found the experience very easy. Anytime we had an issue customer service was quick to help and friendly.”

Alex Finke
Rolling Mill Routine Facilitator
Gerdau St. Paul Mill

Innovative Uses

  • To identify the piece of equipment being inspected and ensure consistency across the mill, each piece of equipment was given a unique QR code that was scanned using QuickTapSurvey QR code question type before starting the safety inspection.
  • Instead of using the traditional yes/no question type Gerdau used images to represent safe and not safe.
  • QuickTapSurvey response notification feature was used to immediately alert the safety manager of an issue that required immediate attention.

 

Kiana Chin

Kiana Chin

Hi, I'm Kiana and I'm the Marketing Coordinator at QuickTapSurvey. My passions include fitness, food, and going to bed before 10pm.