Marks and Spencer reduced incidents by 80% in their first 10 weeks of deployment
Who are Marks & Spencer?
M&S is a leading British retailer that provides millions of customers worldwide with high-quality, low-cost food, clothing, and homeware. Established in 1884, the company now operates over 1,400 stores worldwide and employs approximately 65,000 people. Their UK network currently consists of 19 distribution centres and warehouses nationally, including large centres in Swindon, Bradford and Castle Donington.
Problem - Identify areas of risk with scaling workforce
Following the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic, M&S's largest Ecommerce Distribution Centre at Castle Donington, witnessed a heavy increase in customer orders to two million single orders per week. This increase in demand meant more workers were required on-site. As a result, it was a requirement from senior management to ensure that the safety of their colleagues’ was of the utmost importance and that safety events and incidents were kept to a minimum. James Carter, Network Health and Safety Manager at M&S mentions "Our colleagues’ are our most important asset and keeping them safe is the most important thing we do". It was then a priority for the HSE team to investigate best-fit tools and technology in order to ensure they were equipped to easily identify areas of risk in their business and promote proactive decision-making that results in a safer workplace for their staff.
Solution - Seamless deployment & autonomous event capture
In M&S's journey to identify best-fit safety solutions, Protex AI was chosen to help their HSE team to identify areas of risk across their warehouse facilities and keep accidents to a minimum. Alice Conners, HSE Specialist at Castle Donington says 'We can't be everywhere at once, and we can't be on site 24 hours a day. So having Protex AI is like having an extra set of eyes, and it helps us in keeping our colleagues safe.' The autonomous event capture has allowed their team to see exactly what has accrued over a certain time period - even if the team are not on-site - tag any events that have occurred, and make data-informed decisions. Being able to educate staff how to carry out duties in a safer manner rather than creating a negative outcome was also a priority. The ability to play back different incidents in Protex AI has been really useful with this process. Also, to ensure that implementation of the solution was as efficient as possible, seamless integration with their existing CCTV infrastructure was a key factor for choosing Protex AI. James mentions that this process was "less time consuming, less overwhelming, and relatively straightforward."
Outcome - 80% reduction in incidents
The HSE team noticed an immediate impact from week one to week two after deploying Protex AI. In this early period, they witnessed a 40% decrease in events that could be classified as unsafe on one of their primary camera feeds. The core reason for this reduction in events was due to the HSE team being able to instantly identify patterns in unsafe behaviours on the warehouse floor, and then quickly implement focused staff training to address the issue. There was also a noticeable improvement regarding the warehouse team's attitude towards safety. Post staff training, Alice mentions that the communication shifted from “We’ve got cameras watching us” to "We've got a Health and Safety Manager supporting us, making sure we're staying safe”.
The reduction of unsafe events continued to decrease over a 3 month period. Again, the core reason for this was enabling their HSE team to further identify patterns in unsafe behaviours, quickly implement training to address the issues and improve colleague’s attitude towards safety. This momentum led to an impressive 80% reduction in incidents across the warehouse floor. Even more impressive, post this 3 month deployment period, their HSE team has been able to maintain this lower number of incidents to within +/- 5% of baseline figures, reinforcing the influence of Protex in contributing to a proactive safety culture. Additionally Protex AI has helped increase near miss reporting by over 10% across site, due to incidents that weren’t seen at the time now being visible.
In addition to the above, M&S increased the number of agency workers on site, and because they were not as familiar with the safety rules of the site, the HSE team noted an increase in events captured by Protex AI incidents, prompting them to review their induction process and ensure their training program for agency workers is implemented correctly. The ability to understand why there may be an increase in incidents and to take data-informed action has been a significant benefit for them. "Having that extra capability to notice unsafe behaviours that may be occurring on a regular basis, and then figuring out why they are happening and what we can do to make those trends safe has been really powerful." says James.
Overall, the Protex AI solution has been positively received by on-site workers and the HSE team at M&S, demonstrating to site workers that senior management prioritise a safe work environment and that they want to make proactive improvements to their existing safety culture. Alice shared 'It has shown our colleagues that we are willing to try new things and we want to get positive results from it, implementing protex AI has been a real eye opener, I think for the whole Castle Donington site and for gaining visibility of what our risks are, and turning those risks into proactive knowledge’. The internal health and safety ethos at Castle Donington is "Safety through trust, and protex is allowing us to stand by that," according to James.
Want to learn more about Protex AI?
We're helping enterprise EHS teams to revolutionise how they make proactive safety decisions that help contribute to a safer work environment. Our AI-powered technology is enabling businesses to gain greater visibility of unsafe behaviours in their facilities. The privacy-preserving platform plugs into existing CCTV infrastructure and uses its computer vision technologies to capture unsafe events autonomously in settings such as warehouses, manufacturing facilities and ports. Interested in learning more? Watch our demo video here 🦺