“Ballard Chalmers are approachable and helpful and always go the extra mile to help. The solutions they have delivered have been reliable and solid…” Application Support Engineer, Tokyo Electron
Semiconductors are essential components of most electronic circuits – the fact that you’re reading this on a computer or similar device is made possible by semiconductor technology.
Tokyo Electron Limited (TEL) is a leading global supplier of semiconductor production equipment. Developing and manufacturing a wide range of electronics and semiconductor products such as flat panel displays, the company was founded in 1963 and operates in Japan, the United States, Europe and Asia.
Health and safety is a vital foundation of TEL’s business activities; factories and manufacturing sites contain many health and safety hazards, and the organisations that manage them are responsible for providing a safe environment. TEL had initiated a formalised safety and quality management procedure for observing the work environment and practices of its employees. The implementation of this procedure allows for safety issues to be identified and eliminated; as well good, safe working practices able to be recognised and rewarded.
For the procedure to work, the technology used for reporting issues needed to facilitate ease of use. The existing reporting tool was identified by TEL as being unworkable in this respect due to:
- A counter-intuitive interface.
- Searching for or filtering items was difficult.
- A complicated and time consuming information capture and submission method.
- A complex tracking submission and action status/completion.
- Weak performance summary reporting systems.
Having worked together since 2012 on a number of projects, TEL brought in Ballard Chalmers to custom-build from scratch a SharePoint tool for release into their existing intranet. This new SharePoint system delivers:
- A logical interface.
- A method of capture/upload that is easy and intuitive.
- The ability for someone to submit on behalf of another person.
- A method of capture/upload which prompts people to consider all hazardous condition/behaviour categories.
- A system that can produce automatic reminders.
- A system that produces the reports required.
- A system that allows individuals to easily search for previously submitted items when online.
In enabling the above, the system also now incorporates the following elements:
- Submission/input interface
- Ability to submit remotely via mobile phone or tablet.
- Minimum capability to capture offline and upload (automatically) when online.
- Database with reference to employee data file.
- Reporting intelligence.
- Automated reporting.
- Search functionality / interface.
DevOps: The development involved DevOps through automated unit tests and integration tests developed using Specflow and Selenium, and fully automated systems deployment using Azure Resource Manager (ARM) templates and deployment pipelines. Once the system was live and operational DevOps continued as our DevOps engineers made fixes and enhancements to the live system using a very short test and release cycle.
The SharePoint system delivered by Ballard Chalmers enables TEL employees and managers to now collaborate effectively on issues affecting the safety and quality of the working environment. With this, the procedure can now serve its intended purpose as the backbone of TEL’s health and safety programme in the workplace.
Of the project Geoff Ballard, CTO at Ballard Chalmers said, “The original reporting tool had its shortcomings, which made it somewhat impractical for the user. With a customised SharePoint this was solved because the system is exactly fit-for-purpose.” He continued, “Tokyo Electron’s safety and quality management procedure is primarily about communication, and the original tool wasn’t facilitating that. As an employer you don’t want your staff to be thinking ‘oh no!’ when directing them to collaborate using a specific company tool – especially when it relates to theirs and others’ health and safety. In implementing the custom SharePoint system Tokyo Electron now has an intuitive application that that does its job – it lets the team communicate effectively.”