International Nuclear Services (INS) is the world’s leading shipper of nuclear materials and is wholly-owned by the UK’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). It employs around 140 staff and has offices and facilities in the UK, France, Germany and Japan.
Its chief task is to manage the delivery of contracts for Sellafield’s fuel cycle services. It manages a fleet of ships and transport casks and has an on-going programme of investment and development of new transport assets.
Tasked with shipping dangerous materials, INS requires efficient and reliable 24/7 communications with its stakeholders throughout the world. The company needed to upgrade its communications capabilities to make it simple for customers, regulatory bodies, embassies and other emergency response communities to get hold of the INS on-call team.
It also needed to improve its emergency response notification system so that a message could be instantly communicated simultaneously to all stakeholders, even if INS’ office facilities were not accessible.
The company’s existing system was limited both in terms of outbound and incoming communications. For inbound communications, there were a host of different numbers through which callers could contact INS. This was very inefficient because it created complexity when simplicity and speed were of the essence.
When messaging out to its stakeholders, INS was also restricted in its ability to respond rapidly and oversee message delivery, read status and acknowledgement from a single source.
What INS needed was an effective means of managing its outbound and incoming emergency response communications. Key requirements were guaranteed resilience, simultaneous delivery of messages to large groups, and rationalisation and enhancement of the management of inbound calls.
For its outbound messaging INS implemented PageOne’s dedicated web-based Flare messaging suite, designed for organisations that require a highly reliable messaging infrastructure to deal with major incidents and emergencies. With the capability to deliver messages to individuals and groups using any combination of SMS (mobile, PDA and BlackBerry), email, one-way and two-way paging, landline fax and voice, it streamlines responses to a critical incident with a host of built-in features designed to minimise reaction time and maximise operational efficiency.
The team at INS switched over to the new Flare system in May 2011 and uses it for routine messaging as well as for its business continuity requirements. In the case of a large-scale emergency, INS has even incorporated employee’s personal email addresses and phone numbers to ensure on-call staff are contactable at all times. INS’ Peter Bentley says: ‘We now know with certainty that business continuity notifications will get through and be acted upon, something we wouldn’t have been able to guarantee with the old system.’
For inbound communications, INS decided to replace its multitude of existing telephone numbers with a bespoke voice service from PageOne. The company provides a single telephone number which can be used by all of INS’ stakeholders to speak to a real person and get a message through to the duty manager. PageOne then automatically escalates the message to the next person in the chain if the duty manager is unable to respond within a pre-defined time window.
Bentley adds: ‘We now include just one contact number within all documentation for all land, sea or rail transportations that we do. This makes the entire process more seamless for everyone as they
don’t have to think about which number to call.’
Secure web account
The new system means that INS can now get in touch with key staff directly from the control centre or remotely via a secure web account using any combination of SMS, email, UK paging, landline, voice or fax.
Bentley says: ‘We never had the ability to send a message out simultaneously to everybody at the click of a button. Now we have a variety of groups and can instantly tailor what goes out to who depending on whether it is emergency response, business continuity or domestic.’
Inbound calls have also been rationalised with the introduction of one single number that people can call into when they need to contact INS. Bentley concludes: ‘The INS team operates a seven day rota system and could be anywhere in the UK when a call comes in. The main advantage of the new system is that it will direct the call to the person on duty and enable them to respond effectively from wherever they are.’