Pandemic/Epidemic Business toolKIT

We are deeply focused on keeping your employees, customers, and suppliers safe while working, visiting, or conducting business at your facilities and supporting your business operations.

The Michael White Group International and Hilt International Security have partnered together in order to create a dynamic resource that is continuously growing, developing, and being  revised to keep you informed of the latest requirements, new best practices, and procedures.

As we all continue to navigate our  ‘new normal’, we have tapped into our global resources to develop a toolKIT that lays out processes to raise awareness of new health and well-being protocols and potentially helpful practices for cross-functional teamwork, operating discipline, and training for employees.

While it is not a one-size-fits-all approach, the Pandemic/Epidemic Business toolKIT includes practical recommendations, based on guidelines from Health Canada and World Health Organization, that could be tailored for different  businesses (when required) to address various scenarios they may face when returning to work. Regular updates will be made to the toolKIT based on real-time feedback. The toolkit covers a wide range of topics, including:

•      Step-by-step guides for setting up a pandemic response team

•      Cleaning and disinfection procedures

•      Staggering shifts and lunch breaks and other physical distancing strategies

•      On-site health screening

•      Protocols for isolating employees who become ill at work

•      & more.

This has been a difficult time for everyone, and re-establishing a workplace where employees feel comfortable performing their jobs safely is a multi-faceted challenge. It is our hope that by developing and providing this resource we can help your organization accomplish and adapt to the new operating protocols in today’s still ever challenging conditions.

Should your Municipality be open to exploring the need, whilst accessing our  toolKIT to assist you during  the re-opening, and re-populating of your facilities, contact Michael White Group International today, and in partnership with Hilt International Security we will be happy to assist.

 

 

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Even the Best Technology Needs Good Process

We know that technology is the backbone of any successful organization and, as a company grows, it must constantly add and change the internal tools that will enable it to stay competitive and profitable.

 

This applies as much to Procurement as to any other department within an organization.

 

But new technology on its own can’t overcome gaps in a broken or non-existent Procurement process.

 

In fact, some Procurement groups will actually create redundant steps when forced to incorporate new technology solutions into an overly complicated, inefficient procurement process

 

Case Study: Procurement Process Redundancy

 

Many years ago I worked for an organization that was using:

 

        i.         A home grown Purchase Requisition system to create and track internal requests for goods and services

       ii.         An add-on document management module from the corporate Print solution for Contract Management

     iii.         An add-on module from the corporate ERP system for Purchase Orders; and

      iv.         An add-on module from the corporate help desk ticketing system for Asset Management.

 

Since none of these disparate systems were integrated, the Procurement team had created a series of processes to manually input information into each of the systems for every purchase.

 

The overall process was incredibly redundant and full of vulnerabilities.

 

Purchasing agents would print out fully approved Purchase Requisitions and manually input the information in the ERP systems to generate Purchase Orders.

 

Contracts would go through several redundant approvals before final approval and signature, only to be stored in a standalone document repository with limited search capabilities.

 

Assets were received and tracked in a separate Asset Management system that required manual receipt of products and a 3-step invoice approval process.

 

Having failed several audits, the organization purchased very expensive Purchasing Requisitioning and Contract Management add-on modules from their ERP supplier, who assured them that their solution would provide an airtight Procure-to-Pay solution for the company.

 

What the supplier failed to highlight, and the organization failed to address, was cost and effort to redevelop processes, retrain employees and re-input years of historical data across 4 different legacy platforms.

 

So several years, and millions of dollars later, the add-on modules are collecting dust and the organization continues to limp along with even more redundant process bandages to stop the bleeding.

 

There have been exponential advances in Procurement technology over the past 20 years. And in the hands of skilled Procurement professionals the results have been amazing.

 

But Procurement tools are very closely integrated with Procurement processes.

 

Before investing in new technology an organization should evaluate the processes that are in place and then determine what, if any, new technology can be easily integrated into organization without creating redundancies or complexities that will increase costs.

 

Is the Procurement technology in your company an asset or a crutch? How has Procurement process, or a lack of it, affected your organization?

 

Please download our free report on Procurement Process Innovation here -> http://oneviewnow.com/report and see if there are potential cost savings opportunities hiding in your Procurement process

 

by: OneView

 

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The Negotiators Toolkit: 6 Roles for Effective Contract Negotiations

Contract negotiations are often complicated processes that can take several weeks or months to finalize.

 

The responsibility of the negotiator is to not only engage with his or her counterpart on the other side of the table, but to also oversee and manage the overall process.

 

While this may sound simple and intuitive, a closer look at all of the roles and responsibilities of a negotiator shows just how complex the management of a negotiation can be.

 

More importantly, not giving each of these distinct roles its due diligence and attention could be the difference between a mutually beneficial negotiation that mitigates risk and a lopsided negotiation that benefits one party while setting up the other for failure. 

 

When representing my clients in a negotiation, I typically wear a few different hats.

 

The Negotiator

This is the obvious one. The role and responsibilities are fairly well defined. My job is to understand the requirements of the business and negotiate the most favourable outcome while mitigating as much risk as I can in the contract.

 

The Lawyer

All lawyers are negotiators but not all negotiators are lawyers. I’m not a lawyer, but I’ve been negotiating for over 20 years so I know my way around the legal terms and conditions of a contract. That doesn’t mean I don’t need a lawyer on the team, but part of my job is to know our lawyer’s threshold of acceptability and negotiate terms as close to that threshold without going over it.

 

The Accountant

Two of the most important business terms in a contract, for both sides, is a description of what goods and/or services are being transacted, and for how much. Because of their importance, a lot of focus is given to making sure the “what” and “how much” in a contract is well defined. But there are other aspects of the agreement that also require some level of financial analysis such as payment terms, taxes and delivery fees.

 

The Decision Maker

A good negotiator takes the time to really understand the business requirements before getting into a negotiation. Because as much as we try to put structure around our negotiating strategy, there will always be unstructured moments when one party puts something on the table and the other party needs to make a decision. There have been times, during a meal or a round of golf, when my counterpart has casually offered up or conceded a key point in a contract and I’ve found myself having to make a quick decision on behalf of the business

 

The Project Manager

As a negotiator, I’ve often found myself at odds with project managers, and to some extent they’re my nemesis in negotiations. Gantt charts, timelines and status updates define their world. But contract negotiations are hard to manage on a Gantt chart because I don’t know if it’ll take 4 hours, 4 days or 4 weeks to agree on Warranty language or an Indemnity clause. However the reality is that project managers are there to make sure things are moving forward on time and on budget, and since they can’t sit in on every negotiation, I often find myself taking on that responsibility.

 

The Admin

This is probably the most overlooked and challenging role I’ve had to assume in a negotiation. It’s also the reason why I believe a good administrative staff is the backbone of any successful business. Even simple contract negotiations involve a lot of paperwork exchanging hands. In addition to several iterations of the contract draft circulating internally and back and forth between parties, there are also emails, meeting minutes, term sheets, schedules, addendums and other miscellaneous notes that need to be tracked and summarized

 

So all of this begs the obvious question: How does one person handle all of these responsibilities?

 

The short answer is that in most cases they shouldn’t, at least not directly.

 

Good negotiators are also good delegators. They have a keen sense of their strengths and weaknesses, and will move other resources in and out of their negotiations as the need arises.

 

When I’m working on a deal with a strong emphasis on protecting my client’s Intellectual Property, I’ll lean a little more heavily on our lawyer to help negotiate key legal terms and conditions.

 

Similarly, if my client’s business requirements seem high-level or somewhat undefined (which is a very common occurrence) I’ll make sure to involve a decision maker from the business in key discussions with our counter-parts.

 

What hats do you wear as a negotiator? Which ones do you find most challenging?

 

By: OneView

The only platform built for managing contracts!

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Security Risk Assessments; high level breakdown

Critical Infrastructure Protection

Security Risk Assessments are a vital insight into your organizations security gaps, vulnerabilities and most importantly strengths. To not dive too deep into the technical structure and methodology of a comprehensive Security Risk Assessment, we provide this brief and mostly non-technical article to break down the basic components.

Recognize – more commonly stated as Identify the hazards or risks. Before you really can do that, you need to know and understand the difference between what a hazard is and what a risk is. A hazard is “something” with the potential to cause you, your organization, your employees, your reputation harm. A risk that “likelihood” of that harm actually happening.

Impact – more commonly known as deciding who is going to be harmed and how. Who’s going to feel it, how is it going to happen? Almost like trying to figure out whether or not it is the butler in the den with the candlestick …for those who appreciate a good game of Clue.

Bump – So you’ve recognized the hazards and risks and you’ve figured out where the impact is going to be. Now what? Now you have to protect it or at least put some form of management or control piece in to either slow it down or stop it completely from happening and affecting you. The virtual or very much physical speed bump.

Note it – Write it down, digitally record it, take pictures, tell a few people. Do what you need to, to record it. Why…because you want to monitor your success. You want to know that the bump you’ve put in place is working or needs to be re-recognized because the impact may have changed. It’s also due diligence. You can show that you know that there is or was something that raised whatever level of concern, you thought about it, did something about it and continue to watch it.

Recognize it again – Plan the Work. Work the Plan. Once you’ve done the assessment you need to do it again. You need to understand what is working, what has changed, what is new and what are you doing about it.

This article is to serve as a high level awareness tool. Unfortunately it doesn’t remove the complexities of your operation or the complexities of the security risk assessment. But boiling it down to it’s barest components allows you to understand the varying phases or steps that are taken during a security risk assessment. It’s important to note and understand that each of these components can be expanded and contracted as necessary to have a myriad of steps or components within each of them.

Nevertheless it all falls back to these high level principal components.

Should your Municipality be open to exploring the need, the application and benefits of a Security Risk Assessment, contact Michael White Group today, and we will be happy to answer your questions or provide quotations.

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Is Road Salt Really Worth the Risk?

If you live somewhere that has a snowy winter, there is no doubt you are familiar with ‘ice-melts’ or ‘road-salts’ being used to create traction and melt ice build-up. Using an ice melt or salt makes it safer to get around outside, both on foot and while driving during these cold, snowy months. You can pick up a bag of salt at most corner stores, hardware stores etc. When a storm is coming, you’ll see fleets of large trucks spreading salt across the city streets and parking-lots alike. But – What is the ‘salt’ being used to melt the snow? Is it safe? Below we will outline 3 of the most common ingredients of ice melt products, and the potential effects on humans, children, pets and the environment.

Sodium Chloride:

Sodium Chloride is the natural mined mineral form of table salt – rock salt or halite as it is sometimes referred. Sodium Chloride is “one of the most abundant minerals on Earth and an essential nutrient for many animals and plants. It is naturally found in seawater and in underground rock formations.” Source Sodium Chloride is generally inexpensive in comparison to other types of ice-melting products, however its “lowest effective temperature [is] 20°F (-7°C), [making it a] relatively slow and ineffective ice-melter when temperatures are coldest.” Source

Section 6 from Sodium Chloride or Salt Safety Data Sheet from Compass Minerals showing accidental spill measures

Every year in Canada, “5 million tonnes of road salt is used to de-ice roadways.” Source This salt “dissolves into sodium and chlorine ions” which often make its way to waterways, posing risks on aquatic life.  Other negative side effects can include “harm […] to plant life, so it shouldn’t be used near vegetated areas.” Rock salt is also “similarly dangerous to pets [and wildlife] since it causes disorders when ingested.” Source

Calcium Chloride:

Unlike Sodium Chloride, Calcium Chloride works in quite extreme temperatures. Calcium Chloride is “able to melt ice at a lower temperature point of -20°F (-29°C) … Over exposure […] can harm lawns and other plants if deicer is over applied.” Source Calcium Chloride not only melts ice at a lower temperature but it also melts it quicker, this is due to the heat it gives off as it dissolves after contact with water. “[A] study found that at -7 C (20 F), [Calcium Chloride] has 22% more penetration after 10 minutes and 38% after 30 minutes than [Magnesium Chloride].” Source

Section 6 from Calcium Chloride Safety Data Sheet Revere Pioneer RIM showing accidental spill measures

Magnesium Chloride:

Similar to Calcium Chloride, Magnesium Chloride also releases heat when it encounters moisture. It can work in temperatures as low as -5°F (-20°C). Unlike other forms of salt or deicer, Magnesium Chloride dissolves quickly when it is on ice, making it effective for a shorter period, in turn causing it to be more expensive. Source  However, the water created from the rapidly melting ice also dilutes the magnesium chloride at a quicker rate than other products, making it less corrosive on roads, parking lots and other surfaces.

Section 6 from Magnesium Chloride Safety Data Sheet from Innovative Surface Solutions showing accidental spill measures
Dogs playing and walking in the snow with their owners above a list of the dangers road salt and ice melt & dogs

Each of the three ice-melt products listed above have PROS and CONS when it comes to their impact on human health and the environment. While Calcium and Magnesium Chloride were oftentimes in my research being described as less harmful to the environment – as shown on the Safety Data Sheet sections above – in large quantities they can all be dangerous, especially to pets, wildlife and aquatic life. When it comes to choosing which product to use, it is best to consider your specific scenario before deciding on your ice-melt product. Location, quantity, temperature as well as checking for other toxic ingredients are all things to consider when making your decision. Many cities, businesses and environmentalists have experimented with alternative solutions; everything from pickle brine to molasses to volcanic rock! Until an alternative replaces the use of road salts altogether be sure to take the appropriate precautions when working with ice-melt/salt products this winter.

MySDS Inc. can assist you with hazardous material compliance in your workplace… contact us for more information! 1-855-282-4537 | www.MySDS.ca

Sources:

 

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Canadian Government Entities Under Scrutiny for Lax Cybersecurity

Canada’s government sector is increasingly coming under scrutiny for both lagging privacy and security both in legislation and in practice

 

In a sign of the times, figures released in February to the House of Commons reveal that the personal information of at least 144,000 Canadians was mishandled by Federal department and agencies, including the Security Intelligence Service and Department of National Defense.  The breaches were widespread, impacting over 10 separate departments and agencies, with evidence indicating that these figures are being underreported due to inadequate reporting requirements.  The Canada Revenue Agency led the pack with 3,020 identified breaches over the last two years impacting at least 59,065 Canadians. 

 

Helical’s offerings meet the “Baseline Cyber Security Controls for Small and Medium Organizations” published by the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security and can be scaled up according to need.  You can learn more about how we meet these requirements here or for more information about Helical, visit our website.  

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SDS Breakdown: What, When, Why & How?

What is an SDS?

SDS stands for Safety Data Sheet (previously called MSDS • Material Safety Data Sheet)

When do you need an SDS?

Safety Data Sheets are created for any product that is “classified as a “hazardous product” under WHMIS that is intended for use, handling or storage in a workplace in Canada.”

Hazardous product means any product, mixture, material or substance that is classified in accordance with the regulations made under subsection 15(1) in a category or subcategory of a hazard class listed in Schedule 2 Source

Safety Data Sheets are to be provided by the manufacturer or supplier. They can be a hard copy given in-person or mailed, or a digital copy on a USB, a disc or sent via email.  It is required that workplaces in Canada maintain an SDS library, whether hard copy or digital, and that it be readily available to all employees.

Metal worker wearing PPE at work with fumes surrounding him

What is on an SDS?

A Safety Data Sheet is separated into 16 sections, below is a brief outline of what information goes into each section.

SECTION 1 – Identification

SECTION 2 – Hazard Identification

SECTION 3 – Composition/Ingredients

SECTION 4 – First Aid Measures

SECTION 5 – Fire-fighting Measures

SECTION 6 – Accidental Release Measures

SECTION 7 – Handling and Storage

SECTION 8 – Exposure Controls / PPE

SECTION 9 – Physical and Chemical Properties

SECTION 10 – Stability and Reactivity

SECTION 11 – Toxicological Info.

SECTION 12 – Ecological Info.

SECTION 13 – Disposal Considerations

SECTION 14 – Transportation Info.

SECTION 15 – Regulatory Info.

SECTION 16 – Other Info. (Dates, etc.)

How can you manage your SDS library?

Depending on the number of hazardous materials in your workplace, maintaining your SDS library can often end up being a full-time job! Because Safety Data Sheets are not always provided as easily or up-to-date as they are required, locating the correct copy often takes research, correspondence with the manufacturer and more.

Why do you need help managing your Safety Data Sheets?

Instead of taking up the time of a valuable employee in your company, hiring professionals for your SDS Management is the best way to go. We hire a lawyer to assist with our legal matters, and a plumber to assist with our plumbing, so why not leave this to the professionals as well. Managing your Safety Data Sheets is a matter of not only compliance with legal requirements, but they also provide the needed information to keep your workplace as safe as possible.

MySDS.ca can build and maintain your SDS library which can give you peace of mind, save you money and keep you compliant!

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Case Study – 44HA Drone Topo Survey for E.R. Garden O.L.S.

Scope of work:
44 Hectares, Orthographic Image 3cm, 3m DTM, 1m Contours

Purpose:
To identify drainage and topography for a new development site in Markham.

Conditions and Requirements:

Overgrown farm lands had been neglected for several years, creating a very rugged, muddy landscape. Normal survey methods by foot or ATV would have been extremely cumbersome and slow going.
Accuracy requirements were +/-10cm on bare earth and +/-30cm in wooded and wetland areas. (excluding bodies of water)

Methodology and Timeline:

2 Aerial surveyors were deployed with an eBee+ RTK and Propeller Aero point.
Crew laid the Aero point as an independent base to ensure proper calibration between E.R. Gardens Data and Canadian UAV Solutions RTK eBee data

7 Aerial Ground Control shots were used in the model..

Processing took a GIS Photogrammetrist 3 days to build, edit and QA/QC the 3D model.

The Completed Drone Survey was delivered in approximately 4 business days.

Summary:

Canadian UAV Solutions was able to provide accurate data in a timely manner where it would have been extremely time consuming using traditional methods.
By adding a few extra aerial points within the workflow of the boundary survey, significant time was saved and resulted in considerable savings for the OLS.
The number of crew required was significantly less, and the amount of time on site was reduced from approximately a week to a single day.
QA/QC reports a RMSE on check points found on bare earth and wooded areas no greater than 3cm on the Z and 1.5cm on the XY, well within specified accuracy requirements.

Testimonial
“I had heard several horror stories regarding drones over the last few years, and up until recently had decided to stay away until the hype had died down.
I had done my research, and although we could have started our own drone program, it became increasingly obvious that it was a lot more complex the further we investigated it.
Many people were doing it, but were either struggling or getting bad results.
After several in-depth conversations with Canadian UAV Solutions, I was assured they knew my requirements and would be able to achieve them.

We developed a workflow which fit well into our operations, and has allowed us to utilize drone data in scenarios where it performs beautifully.

Their Drone survey ties right into our calibration points, and we have done our own QA/QC to confirm the legitimacy of the info.

In areas where we are looking for drainage information, we could not do it faster or for less.

The value added from the aerial photo alone speaks volumes. By adding the image to the topo, we are able to answer questions without sending anyone back to the field.

Bottomline is, we are able to take on more projects as it is increasing the efficiency of my crew. We intend to continue to work together with Canadian UAV Solutions on future projects.”

Edward R. Garden O.L.S.

E.R. Garden Limited, Ontario Land Surveyor

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IT Projects & Black Swans

Have you ever been involved in an IT project that was difficult and resulted in a less than optimal outcome? I still joke about being a survivor of a large-scale IT implementation project. That was more than ten years ago and the memories are still fresh and painful. That is not to say that all IT projects end in disaster and I have seen a number of IT projects succeed in my career. Still the stigma remains and there is ample anecdotal evidence in the workplace that IT projects are particularly prone to failure.

Does this belief hold up under more rigorous scrutiny? According to Oxford University professor Bent Flyvbjerg, who has spent his career studying this subject, IT projects are actually not the worse type of project. He found that globally, across all industries, the percentage of projects that come in over-budget are:

Ø  50% of IT projects

Ø  60% of Energy projects

Ø  70% of Dam projects

Ø  90% of Olympic Games[1]

So only half of all IT projects come in over-budget. That somewhat mixed news for IT projects is tempered, however, by the obvious fact that IT projects are much more prevalent. IT projects are happening every day in organizations all over the world while large energy projects, dams and Olympic games are much fewer in number and less frequent.

In another study, Flyvbjerg and his colleague Alexander Budzier, focused solely on a sample of almost 1,500 IT projects.[2] The projects in the study included enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management, document management, and other management information systems. Many of the projects looked at were in the US public sector but surprisingly the results showed little difference when compared to projects in the private sector or other locations around the world.

Here is what they found:

Average IT project cost overrun is 27%

While that average might not seem alarming what they were startled to find, and what that average was hiding, was this reality:   

1 out of 6 IT projects had cost overruns of 200%

1 out of 6 IT projects had a schedule overrun of 70%

That means nearly 17% of all IT Projects are nightmare projects or what they call “black swans”.[3] Using a term popularized by best-selling author Nassim Taleb, black swans are “high-impact events that are rare and unpredictable but in retrospect seem not so improbable”.

There are many reasons for this high rate of IT project black swans but Flyvbjerg and Budzier point out a common finding was that sales and product development engineers and managers often have less than adequate skills in implementing the technology itself.  

The end result of these IT black swans is usually the same: increased financial pressure, reputational damage, and often loss of jobs, particularly those deemed responsible for the project. If a private sector organization is already weak before the black swan, the black swan IT project can often be fatal to its very survival. In the public sector, the organization survives but the public is left to pay for the mistakes through additional tax burden.       

To avoid becoming the next IT black swan case study, Flyvbjerg and Budzier say that we should always assess our organizational readiness through a 2-part stress test before beginning our next large IT project:

1.       Can the organization afford the cost if our largest IT project goes over-budget by 400% or more and if only half the benefits are realized?

2.       Can the organization absorb the impact of having 17% of all our medium sized IT projects coming in over-budget by 200% and missing the project deadline by 70%?   

These scenarios seem far-fetched when viewed at the outset of the latest IT project but the records show they happen all too often and no organization or industry is immune.  

As I said at the outset, many IT projects do succeed coming in on-budget and on schedule. According to Flyvbjerg and Budzier, the IT projects that are successful all share these common 7 key characteristics:

1.       Stick to the schedule

2.       Avoid scope creep

3.       Break the project down into manageable pieces

4.       Have the right people

5.       Minimize turnover of team members

6.       Align with business needs

7.       Focus on single objective and measure all activity against that target

  

  


[3] Nassim Taleb, “The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable”, Random House, 2007

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Using Technology to Expand Municipal Capacity

Transparency in politics has become a hot-button topic, especially over the last five years. Government mistrust is at a peak and people are demanding answers and access to information. Voters calling for transparency was witnessed in this past Federal election of a minority government. Federal and Provincial politics are having an influence on how municipalities operate. Most municipalities are the principle point of contact for the average citizen which forces them to adapt faster than what’s been happening at the provincial or national level.

The Government of Canada is committed to being an open government, which they believe can be achieved through three streams: open data, open information, and open dialogue. The goals being to empower citizens, fight corruption, and strengthen technology, which helps overall governance. Providing citizens with these three streams will allow government to create trust and accountability. Once data is openly available, citizens will be informed and educated. With the rise and access of new technologies, governments can combat these problems and secure public confidence. It’s the governments responsibility to enable technology to combat these concerns.

At the local level, many municipalities are adhering to these three streams far better than their national counterparts. They are posting their bylaws, procedures, meeting minutes and agendas online, so their constituents are informed and up to date. In fact, some municipalities are going as far as taping council meetings so there’s full disclosure and little room for mistrust.

To read the full BLOG click here!

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