Like any business with a long track record, Sainsbury’s hasn’t survived by standing still. Since it was founded in 1869, it has expanded to a portfolio of almost 1000 supermarkets and convenience stores, plus banking and property ventures.

Embracing technology to improve the way it operates is a part of any forward- thinking company today, and over a number of years Sainsbury’s has been putting the benefits of Info Exchange, the  web-based data management information management software, to good use.

Neil Lennox, Head of Safety at Sainsbury’s, explains: “Before I joined the company in 2004, Sainsbury’s was already using Info Exchange to track planning applications and information on asbestos at its sites”.

“When we were looking for a store-based accident reporting system, we saw that Info Exchange was a suitable platform to host a company-wide system, enabling certain people at each site – the store manager and HR manager, for example – to log incidents. These generate email alerts to the corporate safety team so that we can look at and follow up on serious issues or those reportable to the various regulatory bodies”.

“Gradually, we saw the opportunities and potential in the system and extended it to capture store-based delivery risk assessments (DRA). What had happened in the past was that two or three depots would each do their own DRA on the same store, producing several variations of the same risk assessment, wasting time and leading to extra costs and confusion. Now there is one DRA for each store, visible across the estate”.

Info Exchange is now also used to record all occupational health referrals, with the data accessible only to the HR managers. Neil says increasing use is being made of Info Exchange’s workflow functionality to flag up and manage work that requires action, for example, if an environmental health enforcement visit requires certain tasks to be assigned and tracked or notifications to be sent.

Neil continues: “Info Exchange started out as very straightforward but we’ve added different layers. The incident reporting has developed into a more holistic health and safety management database, so when we look at incidents, it’s against the risk assessments for that store, including factors such as the electrical system, flooring, whether it has a caféand so on. We can also cut reports in different ways, such as by region or zone, or by trends in incidents”.

“As a platform, the potential is vast. For example, in the last 12 months something we have explored is the use of remote forms and now, instead of having to log on with an ID, the vehicle accident reporting form is accessed via a web link. Once the form is completed and saved, it goes directly on to the database for our insurance team to deal with”.

“Over the years, we have done a fair amount of work with Info Exchange and I think there is a lot more that we can do. A big attraction is the flexibility Info Exchange offers – after a recent meeting with a fire safety colleague, I made a phone call to the team on a Friday afternoon regarding capturing data on sprinkler systems and on Monday morning it was ready. That adaptability makes managing the system very, very simple” .

View more case studies