Grand Isle Shipyard is committed to creating a safe and inclusive work environment as well as creating long-lasting relationships with its employees. The company utilizes cutting-edge technology and high-intensity training programs to ensure the members of its workforce are highly prepared and capable of carrying out their duties with minimal risks. This innovation relates to the UN SDG eight of creating decent work and economic growth by ensuring employees have access to resources and information to help guarantee their safety.
Laura Lopez Velez
Jaime Suarez Morales
Nicholls State University
GIS prides itself on being one of the most trusted service providers for the energy sector in the Gulf of Mexico. The company attributes its success to none other than its 2,600+ employees, declaring them as their biggest asset. As a result, GIS continuously takes extensive measures to ensure that the well-being of its workforce is its top priority. Through its utilization of cutting-edge technology, the company meets UN SDG objective 8.2 of achieving higher levels of economic productivity through diversification, technological upgrading, and innovation, including a focus on high-value-added and labor-intensive sectors. GIS has automated several portions of its operations to increase productivity and allow its employees to sustain a work-life balance by reducing the number of person-hours needed to complete projects. Additionally, the company meets UN SDG objective 8.3 of Protecting labor rights and promoting safe and secure working environments for all workers.
They continue to do this through the GIS LIFE Program, which is an entire organization in the corporation solely dedicated to promoting safety. LIFE is an acronym standing for looking, intervening, facilitating, and eliminating potential hazards or dangers in the workplace. The LIFE program focuses on improving operational safety through comprehensive work planning, increasing awareness of work area & task risks, intervention techniques for redirecting at-risk behaviors, embedded field presence, quarterly initiatives focused on observed regions of risk, and visible leadership engagement. GIS conducts audits and inspections on a routine basis to guarantee its facilities are up to standards. Another way the company lives out its motto of putting people first is through extensive training programs for all its employees, regardless of organizational level. GIS utilizes the Industrial Training Educational Center (ITEC) to provide its workforce with instructional courses and programs required to comply with all workforce personnel.
The LIFE program focuses on improving operational safety through comprehensive work planning, increasing awareness of work area & task risks, intervention techniques for redirecting at-risk behaviors, embedded field presence, quarterly initiatives focused on observed regions of risk, and visible leadership engagement.
For this project, we had the honor of interviewing Mr. Henry Johnson Jr., the company’s Chief Information Officer. As Mr. Johnson mentioned in the interview, “GIS's motto has always been putting people first- and that's from the very beginning from 1948 going forward.” The company’s main objective is to ensure its employees feel like they are part of a family instead of just being the workforce of a business. Another one of the company's top priorities is to carry the values and morals of the interaction among its employees at all organizational levels. The company wants all employees to be involved, and Mr. Johnson furthers this point when he mentions, "we're always looking for ways to connect the dots.” The company is committed to creating long-lasting relationships with its employees by having a company-wide family day to find ways to connect the workforce.
Moreover, the main focus of Grand Isle Shipyard, from a security perspective, is that they want to borrow the crew from their families. Still, when someone borrows something, they return it in the same condition they received or better. GIS seeks to add value to its employees, and keeping them safe is a top priority. Therefore, the greatest inspiration is maintaining good relationships with its employees and customers inside and outside the company. Employees will work more efficiently if they are satisfied with their work and environment. Customers will be loyal if the company provides quality products and services in a safe and environmentally conscious manner. The company tries to give the best to its clients without overexploiting its resources and its employees. Also, the company considers that today using technology efficiently is essential because it can help employees spend less time on those time-consuming parts and more time on the administrative side.
GIS has focused its innovations on facilitating the employee's performance and time management, with better synchronization and more vital productivity to match the market’s demand. The new machinery with the most modern innovations aims to increase production while providing the employees with more efficient equipment to increment their productivity and safety in the workplace. This case isn’t ventilated with other companies in the same or different market that put their benefits and profits over their staff. GIS has a strong connection with its staff and the communities it’s part of.
The implementation of this modern machinery had the objective of covering and helping the staff to complete their tasks with faster productivity; these technology innovations are primarily implemented to decrease the time an employee used to waste in completing a job, according to Henry Johnson, CIO of GIS, “there’s been a bunch of new machinery intruded into the labor side from plasma cutting machines to automated welding machines,” these new machines have decreased the time spent in finishing a task from hours of labor, to simply a couple of minutes, plus also creating a safer work environment. With all of these ideas and conclusions, we can undoubtedly understand that the objective of GIS is to facilitate their work and keep their team safe from any incidents. The improvement of productivity with the addition of workers' wellness and safety is a beautiful combination that clarifies any doubt an individual could have about GIS’s treatment of their employees.
To give insight into the innovation of “people first,”- GIS started with six employees and is now home to over 2600 employees. The innovative practice of personal focus at GIS allows employees to maintain a healthy work-life balance. This makes GIS an ideal employer. How they care for their employees personally increases employee retention and wellbeing. The overall positive work environment that employees experience benefits the company as well. An external client will typically run into a GIS employee before they encounter someone in the corporate office. “It's important to us that our workforce is informed enough to understand the dynamic, and that’s why it's so important that we live the example. It's more than just a statement; it’s the way we do business, live life, and communicate. That’s just the way we do it,” said Johnson.
GIS has implemented innovative technologies into the labor side of the business. For example, there is new automation in the fab yards, such as plasma cutting machines and automated welding machines. These technologies have transformed tasks that would take an individual fifteen hours to complete down to fifteen minutes or so. Johnson added, “It's about finding the areas where you spend much time from an employee perspective and trying to find a way to spend less time on those time-consuming parts and more time on the management side of things.”
Great emphasis is placed on safety at GIS. This company is very security conscious, measuring performance success through leading measures like audits, inspections, observations, training, and their employees’, partners’, and clients' perceptions of their quality and safety performance. GIS uses subpar indicators as a benchmark to evaluate their effectiveness. By using trend analysis, training and observations are adjusted to move them towards zero incidents. In 2021, GIS worked five million or so man-hours without a recordable. This means that there were no significant incidents or injuries to any employees during this time; an incredible achievement.
This innovation positively impacts society because technology is an essential tool today, but it must be used efficiently and responsibly. In the company, much technology intruded into the labor side of things like in fab yards, there’s automation there now, from plasma cutting machines to automated welding machines, and those technologies have taken some of the things that would take an individual 15 hours in a day down to 15 minutes or so. Thus, this benefits employees as they spend less time on those time-consuming parts and more time on the administrative side of things.
Also, it benefits their staff in the security aspect. The new technologies implemented in their business created a safer work environment, not just making their workdays more productive and less complicated with this new working equipment. The GIS staff benefit from the efficient innovations in their day-to-day experience and allow their families to perceive that their loved ones will not get harmed at the workplace. Grand Isle, where the company is based, is a remote fishing village in the southernmost part of the state of Louisiana. Its inhabitants obtain most of their wealth through modest family businesses in the seafood industry. GIS provides residents from South Louisiana’s Bayou Region with high-skilled jobs and technical training to get economic mobility and more personal and professional growth opportunities. The services and products GIS provides are essential to sustain the economic environment. Therefore, they are providing economic opportunities for their employees and generations to come.
Henry Johnson Jr., CIO
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Galliano, LA, US
Business Website: https://www.gisy.com
Year Founded: 1948
Number of Employees: 1001 to 5000