Customer Health & Safety11 min
It is our aim to make access in our customers’ lives smart and secure. End user health and safety is therefore a top priority and an inherent part of our business plans.
Why it matters
For us as one of the top three global access control and security solutions companies, customer health and safety is fundamental to our sense of product responsibility. By identifying and minimizing all possible risks of our products – including those arising from harmful materials or potentially endangering functional features – we ensure the safety of our customers and end users.
Read about how we have offered safe product service in this interview with our Global Business Owner Services, Christian Bauszus.Read interview
It is our aim to make access in our customers’ lives smart and secure. End user health and safety is therefore a top priority and an inherent part of our business plans. Public buildings must meet high standards in terms of public health and safety, as well as for our built-in products and solutions. dormakaba meets these product and customer requirements with product certifications for internationally recognized standards such as from the European Standard (EN), American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or Deutsches Institut für Normung (DIN). We pay particular attention to the DIN 18040 standards, which apply to barrier-free construction in public buildings. Furthermore, the ISO 9001 ensures that quality management requirements are continuously monitored and improved.
Our product management team is responsible for this work, in close consultation with Product Development, as required by the Group Directive Adaptive Innovation Methodology (AIM) and defined by Group Innovation Management. Our product quality assurance process, which includes both internal and external resources, ensures that our products have all necessary labels. No product can be installed in-field or released for production without the appropriate certification in hand. This is a necessary step in the product development life cycle, i.e., the product verification phase based on AIM. At a Group-level, the product management team is responsible for customer health and safety, in close consultation with Product Development. In our business units and at our production sites, ISO 9001 processes are implemented locally and managed by local quality assurance managers.
To ensure product- and solution-specific customer health and safety, each dormakaba segment develops adequate action plans:
- Access Solutions segments
- Key & Wall Solutions segment
Access Solutions segments
Our Access Solutions (AS) segments provide products such as escape routes, entrance systems and hotel access systems. dormakaba works to address fire safety, electromagnetic interference and hazardous substances, as well as the need to ensure emergency exits open following a power failure. To ensure customer health and safety, our business addresses these topics through the following activities:
- Hazardous substances: products are designed to comply with the EU Directive on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (RoHS directive 2011/65/EC and its amendment 2015/863/EC). All components and materials in dormakaba electronic products sold in the EU market are determined to be RoHS-compliant before any product manufacturing begins.
- Fire testing: an example of a fire test requires the door assembly with locks be placed in a door leaf and subjected to a temperature determined in the door leaf specification for a period of three hours. Requirements are met if no flaming occurs on the unexposed surface of a door assembly during the first 30 minutes of the testing period, among other prerequisites; the fire test fails if flames are going through the door leaf during the whole test time.
- Electrostatic discharges: for various Electronic Access and Data products, we focus on product certification. For example, the dormakaba Wireless Gateway 90 42 is certified to EN 55024, which tests for immunity in cases of electrostatic discharges, power surges and interruptions, or radio frequency interference. The product is also certified to IEC 60950, which specifies requirements intended to reduce risks of fire, electric shock or injury for the service person, operator or end user who may come in contact with the product.
- Emergency exits and escape routes: automatic doors are subject to the highest safety demands, in accordance with EN 16005. To meet these demands, self-monitoring sensors are mandatory. Obstacle self-detection and automatic reversing are also included in many products. For example, the KTV ATRIUM revolving door systems feature a safety sensor system. Emergency exit and escape route doors are equipped with a redundant operator, an additional control unit for safety purposes and a self-monitoring motion detector. The ES 200-2D door operator features emergency opening following a power failure. Additionally, revolving doors require a safety risk assessment before installation, in accordance with DIN 18650. This is provided by dormakaba at the building site before a sale is made.
- User testing: in some cases, new product launches require the product development team to initiate an alpha (internal) and a beta (external) user testing. This is in addition to product certification and performance testing. Beta testing is the process by which the first initial products released from the production line are installed in a limited customer setting, and monitored closely by the technical support, product management and engineering teams. During the beta testing, any issues can be escalated to the team, to which an investigation is carried out and issues resolved prior to the full launch of the product in the field. This provides an extra layer of verification and validation to most of our product launches and further deployments.
In case of emerging risks and customer complaints, dormakaba has a Group-wide customer complaint process in place based on the principles of ease of access, solution-driven expertise, short response times, positivity and focus on our value “Customer First”.
The process follows five steps:
- Acknowledge that the customer has an issue, ideally within 24 hours.
- Assess the problem, prioritize and find a solution driver.
- Resolve the issue.
- Respond in a timely manner, keeping the customer informed of the status.
- Conclude with a proper follow-up to assess the customer’s satisfaction and integrate lessons learned.
Regulatory compliance falls at the top of the list of priorities for any development leads and requires immediate action plans. An incident response plan is put in place to enable direct access to the required resources as well.
Key & Wall Solutions segment
Our Key & Wall Solutions segment provides product categories such as automotive solutions, keys and space-dividing solutions. Both business units, Key Systems and Movable Walls, have individual approaches to customer health and safety that are product-specific:
- The business unit Key Systems approaches customer health and safety as an element of its ISO 9001 certifications and ensures compliance with both mandatory (such as the European CE Declaration of Conformity) and voluntary safety standards. Over 16 product certifications apply. Each Key Systems product features: proper documentation, such as an owner’s manual; a Declaration of Compliance; contact details for the manufacturer; quick guides and tutorials available on the web; and training on demand or during product installation to provide the customer with all the information relevant for proper product use and safety features. Regional distributors are periodically trained on the same topics.
- The business unit Movable Walls has over ten active certifications, including those from Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) and the Canadian Standards Association (CSA). Product certification includes fire testing, smoke testing, ball-throwing tests, and weight bearing tests on suspension track systems, for example. The related legal registers are regularly monitored and updated.
In addition to the Group-wide dormakaba customer complaint process, which is described in the Access Solutions segments section above, the ISO 9001 quality system within Key Systems includes a further grievance mechanism. Each production site implements its ISO 9001 processes locally. Quality assurance managers have ownership of the grievance mechanism and track any complaints from receipt to closure, including feedback to the customer. The steps are registering the complaint in the ticketing system, evaluation, problem analysis and corrective actions, verification, lessons learned, and closure. The intended users of the grievance mechanism are all the relevant stakeholders such as customers, technical assistance, procurement, quality control, logistics, manufacturing, product development, and sales teams. Effectiveness of the grievance mechanism is based on the number of open, accepted, refused and closed complaints per fiscal year. Additionally, at least once a year, a management review assessment evaluates related KPIs and performance status.
To ensure we are on the right track, we internally and externally verify customer health and safety through various certification programs (including ISO 9001), testing, and stakeholder feedback. For example, 51% of reporting sites have achieved ISO 9001 certification.
Examples of contributions to customer health and safety in the financial year 2019/20 included:
- AS AMER launched an extensive process to properly manage the replacement of products with outdated features across some of our lodging, multi-housing and commercial products. A dedicated product manager coordinated with various internal teams to inform customers in multiple waves of communications, with robust tracking and ongoing engagement to ensure product replacement.
- AS APAC ran a virtual “Customer Connect” program in all markets to raise awareness on touch-free, barrier-free and hospital solutions, in addition to other product features and specifications. Combined, over 800 external stakeholders such as distributors, architects and property owners participated. Fire testing for six product series was also completed for various regional markets.
- AS DACH offered assembly videos and/or technical films as well as on-site training workshops to support a safe and correct assembly and installation of products as part of new product launches. And when a firmware error in one of the door drives was discovered to pose a risk of injury, we promptly communicated this to customers via letter and established countermeasures and processes to update the firmware on-site.
- AS EMEA is investing in research and development to monitor and optimize battery use in digital door cylinders, to reduce the need for battery replacement and disposal of their toxic substances. Work on using energy harvesting technology to eliminate batteries use altogether is in its early stages. The segment also launched a collaboration with a technical university in Austria to study materials that could substitute lead in our metal alloys.
- Key & Wall Solutions segment has begun research and development on possible substitution of nickel-plating material on keys. Nickel has been classified as a dangerous material by the European Chemical Agency, and although the restrictions of its use are for products that come into direct and prolonged contact with human skin, such as jewelry, we are proactively assessing whether a substitution could be made.
In the financial year 2019/20, there have been no incidents of non-compliance with regulations or voluntary codes concerning the health and safety impacts of products and services, which have resulted either in a fine, penalty or written warning.
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, demand in the access and security market has shifted to touch-free solutions. The protection of the health of staff and visitors to buildings and hospitals, and prevention of the spread of contagions is more important than ever.
The Access Solutions segments can contribute, for example, by developing and providing automated entrances which act equally as automated physical health checkpoints, such as by using infrared temperature sensors or facial recognition. Solutions can manage access over multiple entrance situations and changing alert levels without compromising security options. We will continue to expand our touch-free solutions across our extended product portfolio in order to serve many customer types and applications. Also, we will expand our antimicrobial finish options across several product lines.
We will continue scouting new lead- and nickel-free materials and less hazardous materials in the market. Our goal is to integrate these materials into existing production infrastructure with minimal modifications to the machinery, and if possible, without a cost increase of our products. We aim to develop a prototype of a battery-free electronic access system as well.
Key & Wall Solutions segment will obtain certifications for relevant products according to IEC/EN 62368-1, the new international safety standard of electrical and electronic equipment. Beta testing will be carried out for a new key cutting machine in partnership with one of the largest distributors of key cutting machines in Europe. The partner company will invite end users to test the new product in their labs to gather field data and feedback.
Offering safe product service during the Covid-19 pandemic
Interview with Christian Bauszus, Global Business Owner Services, dormakaba
Service colleagues around the world have been working on-site during the Covid-19 pandemic to keep our access and security solutions maintained for our customers. How did you handle this?
Early during the pandemic, we issued a global guidance for the service organization to ensure that neither our employees nor our customers are exposed to any undue risk of contagion. The guidance included best practices for hygiene as well as further recommendations directly related to services and installation work. One example is in physically demarcating allowed “touch points” on building property or construction sites. This included, for example, push plates, handrails, locking points, door handles and tablets or documents and pens. Hands-off everywhere else.
Other guidance included best practice examples of hygiene and hand-washing techniques, as well as Personal Protective Equipment, on bringing food from home rather than stopping at busy restaurants for lunch, daily updates on outbreaks and no-go areas, and recommendations to conduct service work outside of the customers’ regular business hours, etc. We also offered video conferencing and deployed augmented reality to enhance remote support services.
What kinds of customer service and communication processes did you set up?
This was managed based on the various local governmental regulations. We recommended local service teams to call the customer to understand special routines or measures on expected behavior before arrival. The guidance also included raising awareness of the safety guidelines for any subcontractors.
And we sought to support our customers not only with our services but also with our solutions, e.g., with upgrades of manual doors to touch-free automatic doors with respective sensor technology, wherever feasible, to give end users a better and more hygienic experience.
In Australia we also developed special checklists and procedures for field managers and service technicians for so-called Category 1 Sites, which included supermarkets, airports, hospitals and medical centers. And in the USA, we worked closely with our industry associations to deploy health and safety tips to our customers and provided direction on how to procure Personal Protective Equipment during the Covid-19 pandemic.