Digital innovations recognized for safety and operational excellence

Published: Dec 09, 2021

At Nutrien, we aim to develop and implement solutions that help improve the safety of our people, unlock operational value and establish industry-wide leadership – and that work doesn’t go unnoticed.

We’re proud to have been named a finalist in two categories of the 2021 Digital Transformation & Operational Excellence Awards. These awards showcase organizations across the globe that have implemented projects and programs that deliver outstanding business results.

The first project Nutrien was recognized for focuses on digital initiatives that improve safety, productivity, efficiency and reliability across our Nitrogen and Phosphate operations. The second project is the implementation of Proximity Trace™ from Triax Technologies, a tool to help combat the spread of COVID-19 at Nutrien’s North American locations.

“This is a great example of the increasingly critical role technology plays at Nutrien and companies across the globe,” says Brent Poohkay, EVP & Chief Information Officer. “Technology has moved from being an enabling function to playing a strategic role in leading business transformation.”

Digital initiatives create business transformation

Man sitting in front of three computer screens

In the Best Achievement in Operational Excellence to Deliver Business Transformation category, Nutrien was recognized for a series of digital initiatives that resulted from our 2019 Innovation Days. We gathered 30 employees across nine functions of the business to explore different technologies, identify new opportunities and plan for the future. The ideas generated at Innovation Days resulted in the following digital initiatives now in use at our N&P sites: 

  • Connected Worker technology visualizes a location’s workforce with real-time headcount and mustering on-site, fatigue and overtime monitoring and integrated panic alarms for emergency response – all of which drive safety and productivity. 
  • Mobile Enablement technology leverages a digital platform of tools including digital document management, QR scanners and augmented reality equipment for training and maintenance assistance, resulting in more efficient workflows.
  • The Predictive Analytics tool collects and segregates plant data into a cloud-based platform in near real-time, delivering a holistic view of operations. This data-driven approach to maintenance increases operational visibility, which improves safety and reliability and reduces costs.
  • The Manufacturing Dashboard facilitates data-driven decision making through customized dashboards of key operating metrics. By aggregating plant data into a cloud-based platform, the dashboard increases data visibility, thereby improving operational integrity and streamlining production. 
  • Finally, the Nitrogen Real-time Operations Center provides communication, production surveillance and prioritization to enable a robust, proactive and data-driven operating model. The center’s data analytics tools increase operational visibility and efficiency, enable rapid diagnosis and support end-to-end operational value chain optimization. 

Technology from Triax delivers outstanding value

Close up of Triax sensor technology

Last year, we began using Proximity Trace tags at a handful of our operational facilities and corporate offices, and we were recognized for this effort in the Best Achievement in Operational Excellence to Deliver an Outstanding Value Creation or Innovation Execution Project category.   

Currently, the technology is being used by more than 10,000 employees across 23 locations. Since its pilot testing last year, Nutrien has completed three large turnarounds and five outages using the tags, supporting more than 3,000 employees and contractors at one time at its Nitrogen and Phosphate sites without a COVID outbreak. 

The tags, wearable sensors attached to workers’ clothing, provide physical distancing alerts to reduce the number of positive cases at the sites. The technology also automatically logs data using a cloud-based software to improve the efficiency and accuracy of contact tracing. Worker interactions are passively collected and only accessed if there is a contact-tracing requirement. Since it pinpoints the individuals who may have been exposed to COVID-19, the solution also helps Nutrien minimize operational shutdowns and reduces the risk of associated costs and product delivery delays.

Kudos to everyone who played a part in developing and implementing these innovative projects!