In our version 10 bowtie software, we release a new feature which is called global/local. The concept for the global/local feature entails that it is now technically possible for an organization with multiple sites to create a ‘parent’ or ‘corporate’ bowtie and have (slight) differences on local ‘children’ derived from that global bowtie. This new feature enhances organizations to establish a more centralized risk management approach. In this blog, some of its implications shall be discussed.

The concept in short

As organizations grow and mature, both within the use of bowtie and in the risk management approach, the need to communicate throughout the whole organization and keep the overview, increases accordingly. The global/local concept allows enterprises to connect global (prescriptive or guiding) bowties to their local counterparts (representation of the local situation). Local bowties can be linked to their global counterpart through the hazard as well as the bowtie’s barriers. As of now, it is possible to have one global bowtie that is the ‘parent’ of one layer of local ‘children’.

Different approaches within the global/local concept

Technically speaking there are two ways to get going with this concept. You can implement a more ‘top-down’ approach, in which you create one bowtie master template that can be implemented across multiple sites. The other way around, you can have a more ‘bottom-up’ approach, in which local bowties are connected to a corporate overarching framework to plot information on.

In the top-down approach, companies are facilitated to get up and running in a quick and easy manner when implementing the bowtie method for new sites. The global bowtie is copied and adopted as is by the local site and thereafter finetuned to depict a realistic perspective derived from the standard. For local situations it is possible to differentiate in the applicability of the prescribed hazards and barriers, for different sites may encounter (slight) different risks.

In the bottom-up approach, companies are enabled to connect (information of) local bowties to an exemplar centralized version. Certain deviations can be discovered, managed and monitored. For more information on these different approaches to the concept please scroll down to ‘further learning’.

Regardless of choosing how to implement the global/local concept, its advantages are the same. By linking local bowties to one corporate version, companies can oversee all aggregated reference, performance, and analyze data for their local interpretations of each hazard. Drilling down on such information allows for learning and benchmarking between sites, to facilitate risk-based decision making on how to allocate appropriate resources within the organization.

Practical example of using the global/local concept

Let’s take a real-life example. Company X operates with heavy machinery. One of their operations involves lifting materials and driving them from A to B with forklifts. This is a hazardous operation that needs to be contained so it won’t lead to negative outcomes. In order to manage this risk, they have decided to work with bowties. Since X is a company that operates on a global level, they have the desire to set an example scenario for all sites, which can be adopted and tweaked in some detail to make it applicable for specific locations.

Starting with the global/local concept, X now has 1 global bowtie with over 300 local bowties, derived from that initial example. What management wants to know now, is which of the global barriers are implemented at what site, and which aren’t. Company X has defined and categorized obligatory and optional barriers on the global ‘parent’ bowtie. Highly critical barriers must be implemented for instance, in order to be compliant with official regulations. What they are also able to do now, is audit the quality of the performance for each barrier, and analyze how and why results differ across sites on an aggregated level.

Looking at the collection of bowties and barrier data from a high level within their BowTieServer, allows X’s management team to a) have an overview of all local situations, b) compare these with their corporate standard, and c) take appropriate measures when needed. Our global/local concept has put them in better control and enables company X to answer the three fundamental questions of barrier management on a global scale.

Further learning

Would you be interested in learning more about this topic? We organized a global/local webinar in which we showed how to work with this global/local concept in BowTieXP and BowTieServer. This webinar already took place. Complete & submit the details below to receive the recording of the webinar in your inbox right away. We are interested in your initial thoughts on the concept and look forward to your feedback.