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Vestas Wind Systems Blows Away Global Deployment Challenges with 3E Protect
Vestas Wind Systems A/S is a Danish manufacturer of wind turbines. It is the largest manufacturer of wind turbines in the world, and operates manufacturing plants in Denmark, Germany, India, Italy, Romania, Britain, Spain, Sweden, Norway, Australia, China, and the United States. The company employs more than 20,000 people globally and is passionately committed to actively pursuing its comprehensive sustainability initiatives and achieving environmental regulatory compliance.
As both a large international manufacturer and a downstream user of chemicals, Vestas has a very large and diverse library of safety data sheets (SDSs). Managing such a vast library can be incredibly complex and challenging, as SDSs are constantly changing and being updated. Moreover, Vestas’s SDS management initiatives were further complicated by the need to ensure that the correct chemical safety documents, in the correct language and regulatory format, are shipped with their designated wind turbine kits to the given country of destination.
Each kit has approximately 200 chemical components, which are shipped to a wide variety of global destinations. Ensuring that each shipment contains accurate and compliant hazard communication documents is incredibly complex and time consuming, and Vestas did not have the internal resources required to successfully manage such a complex program.
The company thus began searching for a solution provider with global capabilities in SDS obtainment and management that could seamlessly augment their existing internal resources.
The Vestas regulatory team was aware of 3E’s global capabilities, and reached out to discuss the requirements and goals of their SDS obtainment and management initiatives.
Most importantly, the Team wanted a system for implementation on a global scale.
“Vestas operates in 14 different business units, and each business unit has traditionally taken care of its own SDSs,” explained Marian Kjaergaard, Corporate Environmental Specialist, Vestas. “Some of our business units were using simple spreadsheets to track product inventory and manage SDSs, while others had deployed SDS systems without global capabilities. We wanted a system that could scale and serve as a truly global solution across all of our sites and countries that we sell into.”
The team determined that 3E Protect was the solution that best fulfills these requirements. The company chose to deploy 3E Protect globally. 3E and Vestas launched their collaboration in January 2010 with an SDS obtainment project to ensure that all of the required documents would reside in Vestas’ 3E Protect solution when it went live.
The initial focus of the project was on SDS obtainment for a number of Southern European countries, including Greece, Italy and Spain. However, the scope quickly extended to Denmark, where Vestas is headquartered and operates a number of manufacturing plants, and is extending to North America as well.
During the rollout process, 3E’s dedicated team of Data Center Specialists successfully obtained the SDSs that Vestas needed to ensure that its library was comprehensive and up-to-date.
While this task would be extremely time-intensive for in-house staff, the Data Center Specialists had established relationships with thousands of manufacturers, from whom they directly acquire SDSs on a daily basis. The obtainment team maintains the 3E database with a regular review of all SDSs to ensure that the most current sheet is available to customers. Based on 3E’s extensive manufacturer relationships, SDSs are very often supplied directly to 3E when an update is issued or new product is released.
Once the required SDSs were obtained, the next step was deploying the award-winning 3E Protect system. Vestas chose to implement 3E Protect, since it supports a wide variety of languages and enables users to search for SDSs in their local language, making this an ideal solution for global companies with facilities in many countries, such as Vestas. The system has currently been deployed at 11 of Vestas’ business units, with the remaining 3 to come online in the near future.
The Vestas Regulatory Team also further bolstered 3E Protect with the addition of several modules to enable users to effectively manage and control the chemicals that enter a given facility. Four Vestas business units are currently leveraging the modules and have achieved many benefits. Vestas plans to implement remaining sites in future phases of the project.
Vestas currently manages more than 3,500 documents within its 3E Protect system, spanning 18 different languages. The Vestas Regulatory Team anticipates that this number will grow as the team kicks off a North American obtainment project.
“We have realized many benefits since deploying 3E Protect,” said Ms. Kjaergaard. “Perhaps one of the most significant benefits is having increased confidence that SDS updates are being executed in an efficient and reliable manner.”
“Prior to deploying 3E Protect the updating process was one of our biggest challenges. SDSs were always updated, but the updated SDS didn’t always proliferate to all of our different sites,” Ms. Kjaergaard continued.
“We also anticipate that once 3E Protect is deployed throughout all of our locations, we will experience a tremendous increase in efficiency and productivity as a result of having all of our team members working from and leveraging the same system,” she concluded.
3E Services: 3E Protect
Industry/Market: Manufacturer of wind turbines
Company Web Site: http://www.vestas.com/