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Textron Inc. is one of the world’s top multi-industry companies. Its subsidiaries include household names like Bell Helicopter, Cessna Aircraft and E-Z-Go, and the parent corporation ranks 225th on the Fortune 500 list of largest U.U. companies. Yet, Textron is not just large and varied—it’s also smart.

Within Textron’s Environment, Health and Safety Department, the staff is at the cutting edge of applying technology and data to help managers throughout the firm make better, faster decisions. In particular, the firm recently launched innovative workers’ compensation and disability dashboards through the Ventiv RiskConsole risk management information system.

The effort, spearheaded by Director of Disability, Wellness & Loss Prevention Dan Shaughnessy and his team, led to the rethinking of old ways of compiling dashboards and presenting risk metrics. The goal has now become one of identifying metrics with true operational value to drive action and lower costs; those metrics are then delivered to users in accessible, convenient and powerful tools.

“The bottom line is, you’re looking to put in place metrics that drive activity, and you hope that that activity will drive down your costs,” Shaughnessy said.

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Textron
Textron

“It saves us a huge amount of time discussing things or looking into things that we don’t need to. In the past, we’d spend a lot of time with our vendors and with our operations looking at reports or past metrics and analyzing them to death.”

Dan Shaughnessy

Director of Disability, Wellness & Loss Prevention

Textron’s new dashboards were created using RiskConsole’s business intelligence tool. EHS/Disability Management made them available to “consumers” on the operations side in the MyConsole pages, which allows these operations users to find the particular metrics they need by clicking on appropriate tabs. Users can create three different benchmark reports: the enterprise scorecard, enterprise comparison report and business unit report. On a monthly basis, Shaughnessy and his team update metrics based on data from insurance carriers and share them with users. Color-coding in the reports reveal whether they’re doing better (green) or worse (red) and direct attention and resources where and when needed.

“I can look at my dashboard without even reading the numbers and tell if things are going well or not well. I just look at the colors. And I’m sure the consumers of our dashboards do the same thing,” Shaughnessy explained.

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A Myth-Debunking Dashboard?

At heart, the concept behind Textron’s successful workers’ comp and disability dashboard is simple: Measure and track for actual impact. Yet the example and its lessons could seem contrary to the growing trend of “big data” and common risk management practices. Aren’t good risk managers meant to seek and collect ever-increasing amounts of data points?

“We have a self-fulfilling prophecy that we need to generate as many metrics as possible just to show every little piece of info and to show how important our programs are,” Shaughnessy said.

But do users benefit from this?

In the Textron system, users can access all the data behind the dashboard and drill down as far as they would like. But for users who want to solely focus on the real risk issues in their operations, they can trust in what’s on the dashboard’s surface, avoiding the overanalyzing that can be detrimental to efficiency; ease of use; and quick, smart decision-making. After all, isn’t that what a dashboard is meant to do?

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