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Dec 2 2020

An overnight success: QR codes keep our field sites safe

Posted by TC Energy


Innovation and collaboration: Result spreads like wildfire

It all started with a conversation and a listening ear. Kirk Grunow, Manager, IS Field Experience asked Stephen Bachorcik, Area Manager, Hardisty Terminal a simple question – what are the current challenges you face? What happened next demonstrates the impact collaboration and innovation can have on our business, and in this case, to help ensure the health and safety of our field employees, contractors and visitors.

The problem: Almost 300 people coming and going – and, one pen

With almost 300 people coming and going to the Hardisty Terminal site, and the requirement for every employee, contractor or visitor to sign in and out at the main office using a manual process- pen and paper – this quickly became a concern for Stephen when COVID-19 started to rear its ugly head. During that conversation in March, Stephen’s immediate response to Kirk’s question – what are the current challenges you face? – “We need a way for everyone on site to sign in and out without the need to physically touch something.”


From problem, to idea, to prototype over night

Kirk immediately called Preston Pfefferle, Manager, Digital Workplace. Together, they went from problem to idea, and that same evening Preston was developing a prototype.

“From the time that we presented them with the problem, to the time that we had a tangible solution in our hands, was less than 24 hours,” says Stephen. “This was a new level of customer service. IS really listened to our problem and developed a solution quickly.”

What was the solution? Not new technology, but a different approach to innovation – leveraging an existing technology built to solve the problem. A QR code placed at the entrance would enable people to sign in from the comfort of their vehicle. That’s it. Automatic sign-in, no touchpoints, socially distant and safe.

And all it took was a few people in Liquids and Information Services asking, ‘what if we could…?’.
“What makes me most proud of this whole project is our partnership with Liquids, and their willingness to try something new with us. They trusted us with the solution we put forward,” shares Kirk. “The conversations with all our business partners have shifted, and I am excited about the direction we’re headed.”

Within two weeks, the QR code sign in had been implemented at five field sites, including Hardisty Terminal.

Good news spreads fast

News of this rapid, agile approach to solving a very urgent and real problem in the face of a global pandemic soon made its way to Joe Avery, Vice-President, Liquids Field Operations, who has been a champion for implementing this across our footprint. “People really stepped up and said, ‘here’s an idea’,” says Joe.

Even if we don’t understand it ourselves, we need to let people run with these ideas. As leaders we need to support the fact that not all ideas will be wins but acknowledge we can’t hit the ball if we don’t swing. COVID-19 pushed us to adapt and innovate to continue to run our business safely. These field operators need to be physically present at work in a very scary and uncertain time, so they also needed assurance that their health and safety would be the number one priority.”

Joe Avery
TC Energy, Vice-President, Liquids Field Operations

Since that conversation in March, Kevin Maynard, IS Field Experience Analyst, learned the prototype and has led the implementation of the technology at over 340 field locations across our North American footprint. By the end of 2020, IS anticipates over 400 sites will be up and running on this technology. The exciting part, the technology continues to evolve. Not only does the QR code allow people to sign in; now it has the capability to complete the TC Energy orientation, site orientation and the COVID-19 questionnaire.

The sky’s the limit

“It’s the people who imagine that deliver. We really took a gamble that this was something we could utilize, and an agile approach to innovation is what led to where we are today,” Joe adds. “That approach doesn’t stop here – because this was possible and implemented so quickly, now the sky is the limit!” Joe has many ideas for how this technology can continue to evolve to meet other business needs at our field locations.

As for whether paper sign in will make a return when COVID-19 subsides? Those days are long gone.