Bob Reis, director of AGI SureTrack’s Commercial Sales team, shares his role and the creation of The Road Map to Safety in this week’s CoffeeTalk recap:
Q: Bob, tell us about your role within the AGI SureTrack team.
A: I am the Director of AGI-SureTrack’s Commercial Sales Team, based out of Minneapolis, MN. In January AGI merged the former CMC sales team with the the SureTrack Commercial Sales Team and asked me to lead this new group going forward.
Q: This morning we’re talking about the Road Map to Safety, can you tell us how the program got started and why?
A:The Road Map to Safety concept came to me one day not long after joining CMC in 2010. In those early days, I had received a ton of questions from existing and prospective customers asking, “Bob, what do we need for Hazard Monitoring devices to be OSHA and NFPA compliant”. So I took it upon myself to read those standards so I could provide an informed opinion about what was required if I was asked to weigh in on such an important topic in our industry.
And what I came up with was a name and the program with my long-time colleague and friend, Philip Rae (AGI SureTrack, formerly CMC) marketing and service manager). We have collaborated on sales, marketing & business plans for years, so, it really started out of a desire to be able to offer more than just Hazard Monitoring systems to the market. Essentially merging our extensive knowledge of electronics manufacturing and knowledge of safety challenges found in a grain handling facility.
CMC’s original mission was to Protect Human Life and Property and in staying true to that mission with the Roadmap To Safety, we aimed to partner with our customers to educate and help them to build and nurture a culture of safety within their organization—today, we are doing the same thing we are just now AGI SureTrack. It’s all about the customer experience from our first contact all the way to the project hand off. We always aim to provide value at every step in how we deliver information and the product itself to ensure the process is as customer centric as possible. Safety should never just be a buzzword and Hazard Monitoring systems should not be sold as a loose collection of parts.
Q: What is the purpose of a hazard monitoring system? Is this approach more proactive or reactive, or do you strive for a good combination of both?
A: Road Map to Safety is very much proactive, but more accurately, “Preventative”. The Hazard Monitoring systems and devices fall under the “Preventative” section in the NFPA-61, The Standard for the Prevention of Dust Explosions in an Agricultural & Food Processing Facility.
When an operator understands how to use our system and to interpret the data from the sensors, they have the power at their fingertips, through setting alarms and machinery shutdowns, to automate the prevention of an incident. Additionally, they have the power through observing trends in their machinery that can help with preventative maintenance programs and avoid costly downtime and product waste.
Q: Does HazMon fall under OSHA? Is this a federally mandated requirement? Can you talk about NFPA section 61- national electrical code?
A: The primary difference is that OSHA is the law and NFPA is not. OSHA was created as an act of Congress, and is, therefore, enforceable by law. NFPA is not the law, but a private organization whose standards are recommendations on how to apply the law (OSHA standards).
Q: We’ve referenced the Road Map to Safety a few times now, can you tell us more about AGI’s solution to a hazard monitoring system?
A: AGI’s solution to Hazard Monitoring is the CMC suite of HazMon products and services. CMC was acquired by AGI in 2018, and now we are officially a part of the SureTrack line. The CMC HazMon system is an intrinsically safe, low voltage network of sensors – spread all over a grain elevator or processing facility on what is termed a single wire bus network. Essentially a network of sensors that plugs into a digital backbone providing a real time data stream to our controllers and in turn to the users to enable informed decision making that builds a culture of safety and enhances productivity and process efficiency.
Q: How does the Roadmap to Safety create a safer workplace?
A: The Roadmap to Safety creates a safer workplace first and foremost by treating our customers as partners. We help to build a culture of safety with education and the provision of a reliable, robust HazMon System. We remove operator apathy from interactions with the HazMon system by providing intuitive controllers that can automate many of the key safety protocols to enhance safe machinery operation by taking the human element and doubt out of these decisions. We also offer training and site inspections as detailed below:
- Factory trained individual – telling them what they need to be compliant- knowledge and discovery—that dovetail into other elements.
- The full program today has expanded to now include trainings for first installers – which we call our “Certified Installer & Integrator Program” as well as and site audits and inspections. We also offer operator and maintenance training programs, as well.
Operator training – When we are onsite performing an inspection, audit or startup, we always offer and encourage operator/user training. We will cover interpreting and understanding the data at the controller, changing out of a sensor, and how to use the EZTest tool for basic troubleshooting along with the basics of a robust installation.
Post installation inspection – This revenue generating service is offered for CMC systems. We provide a physical inspection of the installation to ensure it adheres to our best practices and we also validate that each sensor is reading in the correct position and programmed to alarm and shutdown based upon the customer’s required standards. At the conclusion, we provide a report of all infractions and areas for remediation.
Q: Bob, is this Road Map offered outside of CMC or is this unique to the CMC business unit?
A: No, this offering is unique in the Hazard Monitoring space to CMC. Although several others in the industry have realized the unique value in our offering and are attempting to copy us.
Q: What does this program mean to CMC’s culture?
A: Protecting Human Life and Property has always been a core part of CMC’s mission to the grain industry and was a bedrock of our core values that we have brought with us when we became a part of the AGI-SureTrack platform.
Q: Can we expect to see this process become part of the SureTrack Clinic education curriculum?
A: The Road Map to Safety program has differentiated CMC in the market in a meaningful way to our customers and all our employees over the years, so I am hopeful that AGI-ST maintains this important facet of the business that we have become very proud of and stay current on these very important compliance standards. We have provided classroom sessions for the SureTrack grain school as of late, and hopefully our audiences have found value in the content while introducing them to these concepts.