Goodyear Blimp Model Christopher Jue

Goodyear's Plan to Integrate Manufacturing and Safety

Goodyear Tire & Rubber lays out the details of its plant optimization strategy, which helped reduce its worldwide incident rates by 94%.

Creating an engaged safety culture in any factory can be a daunting task. But Michael Porter has that challenge beat.

As the Global Environmental Health & Safety Director at Goodyear Tire and Rubber, Porter is responsible for transforming a culture that includes 66,000 workers in 49 facilities, spread across 22 countries. That's beyond daunting.

As he explained during his presentation at the EHS Today 2016 Safety Leadership Conference, Porter and the company are still at the beginning stages of this effort, but they are already seeing some remarkable results.

"Back in 2008, we had 33 releases a year where we had to notify," he said. "Now we are down to around two releases a year worldwide."

That is a dramatic 94% improvement, and it's only just the start.

Three years ago, Porter and his team began a worldwide safety campaign to bring every part of the sprawling Goodyear empire and its 66,000 workers into a united organization that engaged in one common safety culture.

And that began with a simple step: integration.

"You have to ask, 'Is our safety process or bolt-on, or do people build products in a safe manner?'" he said. "That's what we're trying to do; were integrating our safety process into our manufacturing process."

That integration, he said, has to start from the very top of the organization.

"Starting from the highest levels of the company, we tie our EHS strategy down into our company's overall strategy roadmap," Porter explained. "Then that cascades down into how we operate on a manufacturing level."

Beginning with company chairman, Richard Kramer, "we remind people of the importance of safety; we remind them that it is okay to shut down a process; we remind them that is okay to intervene when they see someone at risk," he said. "And we want to make sure this is standardized worldwide."

To do that, Goodyear has developed an eight-point manufacturing strategy designed to help build standard practices—and standard safety excellence—around the world. Porter highlighted the first four from this list to demonstrate how safety has found its way into the very heart of Goodyear's manufacturing practices.

Goodyear's Pillars of Safety

1. Workforce Organization.

Yes, 5S—the starting block for safety.

"If you don’t have world class housekeeping it's a little tough to encourage or engage your people," Porter noted. "When we have a good workforce organization, we have a safe work environment."

2. Daily Equipment Care

Preventative maintenance keeps tools in process, which is vital for safety.

"The majority of our safety incidents happen when we are out of process," Porter explained. "We even have a term for it, OOPS—Out of Process Situations."

3. Continuous Skill Development

"Training and education is critically important," Porter said. "You have to make sure that people are trained and educated, that they understand the process."

4. Reliability Excellence

This, again, is a "critically important" part of the plan.

"This is where you prevent the catastrophic failures," Porter explained. "Your equipment has to be reliable; it cannot go all the way to failure."

The Road to Safety

Together, these pillars build the whole foundation of not only Goodyear's safety strategy, but its overall strategy for continued manufacturing excellence. Safety, as these pillars show, is an integral part in the whole plan.

And it's only just begun.

"We're only three years into this and we already have about 50% of our factories gong to this model," Porter said. "We have work to do, but in the facilities where we have high engagement, we are already seeing great results.

"It's all coming much faster than we had ever anticipated."

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