Global Innovation Leader Ingredion Reimagines Emergency Communication With AlertMedia
- SafetyProtects employees from a range of threats while also allowing them to share real-time, on-the-ground updates.
- ReliabilityEnables Ingredion to reach its dispersed workforce with multichannel notifications and desktop alerts.
- AccuracyEnsures staff and contractors only receive security alerts and notifications that are relevant to them.
- EfficiencyEliminates the need to manually update staff contact data by automatically syncing with Ingredion’s HR directory.
- IndustryFood Manufacturing
- ProductsEmergency Communication Software
- Primary UsesEmergency, Business Continuity, Operations, Inclement Weather
Ingredion Takes Proactive Steps To Protect Its Dispersed Workforce From Potential Threats
Founded in 1906, Ingredion is a Fortune 500 company with headquarters in Westchester, Illinois. As a multinational manufacturer of starches, sweeteners, fruit concentrates and plant-based proteins, its ingredients are found in a wide range of everyday products, from pharmaceuticals and foods to beverages and beyond.
Operating from 84 facilities and offices spread across 26 countries, Ingredion needed a flexible solution to accelerate its response and communication with employees during emergencies. While the rising number of active shooter incidents in the U.S. was the primary catalyst for seeking an emergency communication solution, Ingredion also wanted the ability to notify employees of other critical events including severe weather, fires, chemical spills, and medical emergencies.
Using AlertMedia’s emergency communication solution—and powerful features like desktop alerts and multichannel notifications—Ingredion can keep its employees informed of any critical event, no matter where they are or what communication channels they have access to. As a result, Ingredion can enhance employee health and safety, maintain business continuity, and give employees peace of mind that they are always protected.
Reaching a Diverse Workforce with Critical Information During Emergency Events
With thousands of employees spread across a large geographic area, Ingredion needed a way to maintain communication with its workforce during critical events. Its employees work in a variety of facilities and with varying access to different communication channels, making emergency communication more challenging.
“Many of our facilities have PA systems, and some employees working on the manufacturing floor carry two-way radios. But we needed something that would allow us to communicate effectively, no matter where an employee was or what they were doing,” says John Hoekstra, Senior Manager for Global Health, Safety & Security at Ingredion. “With AlertMedia, we can reach employees if they are not at their computer, don’t have a two-way radio, or are outside Wi-Fi coverage. When seconds matter in an emergency like an active shooter situation, AlertMedia allows us to notify all employees immediately. The emergency response team members may not be near the PA system. Plus, there is not enough time to use a phone tree.”
As an organization with a sizable workforce spread over multiple locations, another requirement was to make sure each employee received the right communication, at the right time. “Our Environmental, Health, and Safety (EHS) team had to manually maintain employee and contractor contact information. This often led to outdated data and created a significant administrative burden,” says Hoekstra.
AlertMedia’s Desktop Alerts and Flexible API Ensure Every Employee Stays Informed
To effectively communicate with employees and contractors during critical events, Ingredion enlisted the help of AlertMedia’s emergency communication solution. “What we liked so much about AlertMedia was the ability to communicate through multiple channels concurrently and take over the desktop/laptop screen with the notification.” says Hoekstra. Whether an employee is at their workstation or on the manufacturing floor, multichannel notifications can be sent instantaneously through several communication channels—including phone, email, text message, mobile app, and more.
One of the standout features of AlertMedia for Ingredion is the system’s desktop alerts. With the ability to send pop-up notifications directly to an employee’s computer or any on-site TV Monitors, Ingredion can immediately reach everyone in the building—even if they don’t have access to their phone or company email.
“We have a diverse workforce, so we need diverse communication channels. AlertMedia’s desktop alerts are invaluable when it comes to ensuring everybody in our facility receives critical, time-sensitive information. If there’s an emergency, we can reach every employee immediately and ensure they know what to do,” says Hoekstra.
“We have a diverse workforce, so we need diverse communication channels. AlertMedia’s desktop alerts are invaluable when it comes to ensuring everybody in our facility receives critical, time-sensitive information.”
AlertMedia’s two-way communication capabilities mean that not only can Ingredion’s EHS team share vital information with employees, but employees can also play a proactive role in mitigating health and safety threats. “During an emergency, AlertMedia’s two-way communication capabilities enable our employees to rapidly share critical, on-the-ground information to help our EHS team and appropriate authorities improve their response,” says Hoekstra. With read-receipt functionality, Ingredion can also confirm message delivery and monitor employee responses.
AlertMedia’s flexible API integration further ensures everyone impacted by a potential threat stays informed and connected until the situation is resolved. “We use AlertMedia’s API to sync the system with our active directory which contains up-to-date details of our contractors and new hires,” says Hoekstra. “The API integration allows us to add new employees to AlertMedia and deactivate terminated employees automatically. This eliminates the administrative time spent creating or updating people profiles in AlertMedia manually. Ingredion has also created a custom registration page for contractors, enabling them to select the facility they’re working at and be automatically added to receive any relevant emergency notifications while working on-site.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Ingredion found another valuable feature of AlertMedia: the platform’s survey functionality. The ability to easily conduct employee wellness checks enabled the organization to ensure its employees—including thousands of workers overseas—were safe and supported. “While we didn’t plan on using AlertMedia in this way, having the solution in place helped us rapidly respond to the emerging COVID-19 crisis,” says Hoekstra. “Using AlertMedia’s communication and survey features, we were able to send out declaration forms, ask health questions, check on remote workers’ well-being, and remind on-site staff of COVID safety protocols.”
Creating a Workplace Culture That Puts Employee Safety Front and Center
With AlertMedia, Ingredion can keep its entire workforce up-to-date—no matter where or how they work. With a sophisticated yet easy-to-use emergency communication system, “AlertMedia has allowed us to enhance employee health and safety, maintain business continuity during potentially disruptive events, and give employees peace of mind that we always have their best interests in mind,” says Hoekstra.
With a decentralized approach to threat management, multiple teams now leverage AlertMedia to send critical communications. “Our main users of AlertMedia are the site EHS teams, who serve as group administrators in AlertMedia. Our unit managers and security staff serve as notify-only administrators. With so many users of the system, it’s critical that it’s intuitive with minimal, if any, training required—and that’s exactly what AlertMedia provides.”
Since implementing AlertMedia, Ingredion has continued to find new ways to leverage the system to improve safety and efficiency. Recently, for example, the organization developed pre-built notification templates in AlertMedia for each type of threat it may encounter, such as severe weather and acts of violence. “Our emergency planning committee assessed the types of threats we might face, and we created a template for each of those. We also use event pages to store our Crisis Management Plans. This allows our Crisis Management team to have quick and easy access to the Crisis Management Plan using their AlertMedia mobile application. Time is of the essence, so we need to be able to act quickly.” says Hoekstra.
An Adaptable Emergency Communication Tool Designed for the Future of Work
Emergency preparedness is directly linked to emergency outcomes, and a vital component of any emergency preparedness strategy is communication. With AlertMedia’s emergency communication software, Ingredion is ready to quickly respond to and keep employees safe during any threat that may arise.
“We take the time to listen to—and learn from—our employees. Knowing what they want from our emergency communication solution means we can tailor our notifications to their needs,” says Hoekstra. “AlertMedia has given us the ability to communicate fast across multiple channels and given us a far more robust system than anything we had previously.”
Over the last several years, the world of work has changed dramatically. And not every employee sits at a desk, in an office, for eight hours a day. That’s one reason, Hoekstra says, the flexibility that AlertMedia offers in being able to adapt to changing work styles and habits is invaluable. “AlertMedia is designed for the modern way of working together. Its cloud-based platform and mobile app allow us to communicate with employees quickly and accurately during emergencies,” says Hoekstra. “No employee is ever more than a click away.”