BASF Corporation: Breaking Through the Email Barrier

For Belinda Edge, Systems Analyst at the BASF facility in Freeport, Texas, one group of 350 employees has always been tough to reach with routine company communications.

“In the control rooms we have production technicians who operate our plant 24/7. They’re busy with the day-to-day operations of the plant and do not sit in front of computers as often as administrative employees,” she explained. “The technicians would rather see the information on display than read email.”

To meet this challenge, the company installed a Visix digital signage system with 11 media players and 46-inch displays in the control rooms. Edge says content includes site and corporate communications in a format that is much more visible than typical communication methods, all designed for the big screen.

“We reformat email communications with fewer bullet points so it’s easier to read. We publish anything from HR-mandated work requirements such as I-9 verification (a US immigration work authorization form) to safety reminders, blood drives and community events. We use it a lot for pictures of current events, which our employees seem to like. We also use it for announcing personnel changes or to congratulate employees for reaching employment milestones.”

BASF displays are divided into different content blocks, one for safety information, one for technology-specific news, and one that includes a mix of site and corporate communications, as well as news briefs from various sources – striking a balance between what employees like and what they need. “They really enjoy seeing the photos, and they rely on the weather information. Because of our proximity to the Gulf Coast and hurricane awareness, we want everyone to be on same page from a weather perspective. Because we are in a chemical manufacturing environment we are very conscious about safety, and we utilize one of those blocks full time for our safety message.”

Having digital signage has been especially important for communicating site-wide improvement initiatives. “Our digital signage system has improved our communication to the employees in the control rooms. It has become another avenue for reaching the technicians who do not sit at computers all day long.”

Edge says that creating enough content for technicians’ 12-hour shifts is a challenge, but judging by the response of her colleagues, it seems the effort is having impact. “We have a spare media player and display that we use for troubleshooting and development. It’s also used to show the system to others  who have expressed an interest in it. Due to the visibility of this project, we are getting calls about what we’re doing.”

Edge is now looking to deliver more complex content to the same audience with manufacturing dashboards. Dashboards like these can be highly sophisticated, but she knows that sharing them through AxisTV digital signage software is easy. “We’ll be using the AxisTV web page link. We can do what we need to do on an external website and then link to it using the software. The web page link makes it easy to show content on our displays throughout the site.”