Digitalization, Occupational Safety

The perfect recipe for an effective safety culture

Karlsberg Brauerei GmbH

8 Minutes

Karlsberg, a traditional German brewery based in Homburg, Saarland, has made digitalizing its working environment and networking its locations key focuses of its strategy for its entire association. This also extends to occupational health and safety. Although health and safety is key to its production activities, Karlsberg also aims to ensure it is also a priority in all other departments as well. With these goals in mind, the company resolved to introduce a new digital training concept

Karlsberg ultimately opted for Quentic’s software solution. In addition to introducing online training modules that employees can access from anywhere at any time, the new software also led to improvements in how the brewery conducted risk assessments. In fact, Karlsberg was able to optimize its processes to such an extent that risk assessments can now be completed 70% faster and by all managers within the company.

“Having risk assessments carried out in-house by the individuals actually responsible for those areas – our managers – creates a completely different safety culture. The same applies for creating work instructions and the new-found flexibility and clarity in relation to training and instruction.”

Michael Schmidt, Health & Safety Manager at Karlsberg Brauerei GmbH

With the help of the Quentic software solution, Karlsberg now has its sights set on switching from the OHSAS 18001 standard to ISO 45001 at its Niehoffs Vaihinger Fruchtsaft GmbH site in nearby Lauterecken. It also hopes to efficiently digitize its document management system, with all work instructions and documents pertaining to Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) – and therefore all its food production processes – stored and mapped out in Quentic.

About Karlsberg Brauerei GmbH  

Founded in 1878, Karlsberg Brauerei GmbH is a large, family-owned German brewery that produces both beer and non-alcoholic beverages. It is part of an association of independent companies. The Karlsberg network currently employs 1,200 people, almost 260 of whom work at the Karlsberg Brauerei GmbH site in Homburg. Michael Schmidt, the Health & Safety Manager of the Homburg site, is also responsible for Niehoffs Vaihinger Fruchtsaft GmbH and the Vendis Group, which are also part of the association – and also use Quentic software.

Karlsberg Brauerei GmbH uses the following Quentic modules:

  • Karlsberg Brauerei GmbH site in Homburg. Its objective of “handing down to future generations a company that is healthy in every respect” is a prime example of future-conscious decision-making in occupational health and safety. © Karlsberg Brauerei GmbH

New focus, new software, new safety culture

When Christian Weber, great-great-grandson of the company’s original founder, became the CEO of the family-owned brewery back in 2010, he was determined to uphold and further develop the corporate culture his family had cultivated. In keeping with its objective of “handing down to future generations a company that is healthy in every respect”, safety culture remains a top priority for Karlsberg. By introducing Quentic as a software solution to support occupational safety, Karlsberg plant managers Jürgen Zeimetz and Michael Schmidt effectively made a statement: occupational health and safety should be transparent, tangible and accessible for all employees, and managers should approach their responsibility for the health and safety of their staff in a focused, proactive manner.  

The Quentic Health & Safety module restructured internal processes for producing risk assessments and work instructions. It was crucial to the success of Karlsberg’s project, alongside the Quentic Online Instructions module and the Quentic App

Risk assessments made a priority

Plant management thus conferred the issue of safety culture to departmental managers. At Karlsberg Brauerei GmbH, managers use Quentic to conduct risk assessments in their areas of responsibility. All they need to do is follow the instructions in the software interface, carry out a risk assessment and identify the safeguards that need to be put in place. With just a few clicks of a mouse, they can convert their assessments to a standardized, printable format. The straightforward user interface lays the ideal foundations for a new safety culture – as Michael Schmidt explains:

“For managers to be able to carry out risk assessments themselves, you need to give them something that is intuitive and easy to use. Only then can you ensure that the topic doesn’t take up too much time. The Quentic software is a tool that does just that. A lot of information is predefined and after you input content once, you can reuse it every time after that. That simplifies our work and makes it possible to integrate and motivate our managers.”

Michael Schmidt, Health & Safety Manager at Karlsberg Brauerei GmbH

Before the introduction of Quentic, risk assessments at Karlsberg Brauerei GmbH were a complex process managed in numerous Excel spreadsheets. The software solution makes it possible to digitalize processes and thereby network information far more effectively. In addition, once the risk assessment has been carried out, corresponding safety instructions can be created in just a few mouse clicks. The software also makes it possible to immediately allocate these instructions to the relevant departments. In sum, this optimizes safety processes in a way that would never have been possible with spreadsheets and text documents – and reduces the time Karlsberg needs to complete them by 70%

Flexible thanks to online training

As part of the traditional brewery’s overall transformation, a key focus of the search for a suitable software solution was the issue of online training, with a view to making training more flexible for administrative staff and field sales agents.  

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic further fueled the need for added flexibility. Until 2020, technical employees had completed their occupational safety training by attending a large-scale annual event – which social distancing rules rendered impossible. The prompt introduction of the Quentic Online Instructions module enabled the brewery to adapt their training concept and convey key instructions despite the pandemic.  

When it comes to producing digital training content, Quentic offers further support by providing templates. The brewery was quickly able to adapt these templates to their internal requirements. Karlsberg has now made online training modules available for almost 50 topics.  

“Today, we can always look to Quentic to see what percentage of employees have been trained or received instruction in a given area. Our plant managers also ask for these figures every month, and the answer is only a click away.”

Michael Schmidt, Health & Safety Manager at Karlsberg Brauerei GmbH

While making it easy to provide and complete training is important, it is equally important to ensure that all qualifications are documented in full. This evidence is vital for obtaining certification under the International Featured Standard (IFS), OHSAS 18001 or ISO 45001. The combination of the Quentic Online Instructions and Health & Safety modules systematized all aspects of training management. This ensures that managers always have access to details of all qualifications and upcoming occupational health examinations, while employees receive handy invitations and reminders directly via email.  

But how can systematic training management help to improve the overall safety culture? For one, all trained employees are absolutely clear that safety boots and hi-viz jackets are mandatory on site. In addition, the ongoing online training ensures that the topic of safety is ever-present in employees’ day-to-day work lives.

  • In addition to internationally renowned brewing competitions and awards, Karlsberg Brauerei GmbH has also received special recognition for its safety culture. © Karlsberg Brauerei GmbH

Generating and leveraging synergies

Quentic not only links risk assessments, work instructions, specific measures and training modules for use among various managers and departments, it also creates noticeable synergies between different locations. A number of processes are used throughout the Karlsberg network. For example, the processes for filling juice and beer into bottles are almost identical. This means that the risk assessment for the bottling line can be produced in Homburg and then simply copied and amended as required for Niehoffs Vaihinger Fruchtsaft GmbH. The same goes for the labs and storage areas at both sites. Pooling data in this way yields obvious advantages.

What Karlsberg Brauerei GmbH particularly values about Quentic:

  • Overview of qualification levels at the touch of a button

  • Extensive templates from Online Instructions module, plus existing risk catalogs

  • Straightforward, user-friendly software interface

  • Significant reduction in time needed to carry out risk assessments

  • Data integration and mapping of complex processes

  • Legal certainty from improved documentation

  • Synergies generated by pooling data across different worksites

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