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Monsanto Director of Environmental, Safety, and Health (ESH), Maggie Cole was named Fleet Financials’ 2012 Fleet Executive of the Year April 22, in St. Louis.

“I am honored to accept this award on behalf of Monsanto. I am very proud of the passion and focus Monsanto continues to place on improving road and occupant safety for our employees as well as our families, the communities where we live and operate, and our customers,” Cole said, upon accepting the award.

“CEI and DriverCare are thrilled to have sponsored the Fleet Executive of the Year Award won by Maggie Cole,” said Wayne Smolda, CEO and founder of award sponsor, The CEI Group. and DriverCare. “Just as importantly, I am happy to note that Cole is an ESH professional and that her duty to fleet is implementing and overseeing a global fleet safety initiative that is necessary to reduce automotive crashes and save persons from injuries and deaths. CEI and DriverCare are in full alignment with her mission, as it has become a core part of our vision in serving the fleet industry. Congratulations to Maggie for a job well done.”

Cole is responsible for the St. Louis-headquartered multinational agriculture corporation’s Global Vehicle Safety and Global Off the Job programs, covering approximately 22,000 employees worldwide. She is also responsible for the U.S. commercial ESH programs for the company’s sales and marketing departments.

The company’s U.S. fleet is procured and managed under the direction of its fleet manager, Peg Nicholson, CAFM, who reports through the Business Services Organization.

“Fleet and driver safety programs are handled within our organization, with dedicated positions for key areas,” Cole said. She has a total of eight employees reporting to her who she credits with helping make Monsanto’s program so strong, including Vehicle Safety Project Manager Brenda Cockrell, Global Vehicle Safety Lead Jeff Castillo, Global Off-The-Job Safety Lead Mark Schuerman, and U.S. Commercial ESH Lead Ken Mathias.

[PAGEBREAK]“It makes so much sense that Maggie is receiving this recognition for her global driver safety leadership role at Monsanto,” said Art Liggio, president of Driving Dynamics, who submitted her nomination. “Her dedication and unwavering focus to keep not only their business drivers, but all of their employees and service partners, safe behind the wheel consistently produces one of the lowest corporate crash rates. I know she is quite proud of her team of associates as, together, they have done a remarkable job instilling a culture of driver safety worldwide and each year successfully execute their driver safety initiatives producing meaningful results for all stakeholders. Congratulations, Maggie!”

Cole has been with Monsanto for 28 years and in her current position for the past three years. Monsanto’s fleet is comprised of approximately 80 percent light-duty trucks and around 20 percent cars.

Prior to her current position, Cole worked as a process engineer and supervisor within Monsanto’s manufacturing facilities, purchasing and logistics operations, and as a Six Sigma/LEAN Master Black Belt coordinator and trainer, having obtained her Master Black Belt certification in 2003.

“Six Sigma and LEAN both teach specific problem-solving methodologies that can be applied to many transactional as well as traditional manufacturing processes,” according to Cole.

Process mapping is a key tool from both schools of thought and is very beneficial when analyzing data flow and people-dependent processes, she noted.

“Additionally, a Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) as well as a RACI, which identifies who is ‘Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed’ in cross-functional or interdependent processes, have been very beneficial tools for projects within vehicle safety. Streamlining the process for registering, scheduling, tracking, and billing of required vehicle safety training is an example of a very successful LEAN application,” Cole said.

“Maggie’s contribution to Monsanto is invaluable, and PHH Arval congratulates her on winning Fleet Executive of the Year. We believe she embodies the concept of ‘exceptional leadership,’ ” said Gary Anderson, senior vice president of Business Development for PHH Arval. “Maggie has made a significant contribution to creating a focused and positive environment in which her employees can grow. We enjoy our North American partnership with Monsanto, and look forward to Maggie’s involvement in the years ahead.”

[PAGEBREAK]Safety Programs Are Paramount
According to Cole, vehicle safety is extremely important to Monsanto. “This includes the safety and functionality of the fleet-procurement policies that detail both vehicle and driver requirements and expectations, the driving safety skills of our drivers, as well as behavior-based vehicle safety and awareness of all of our employees and contractors, including company drivers,” she said.

Monsanto has several vehicle-safety-related programs in place, including the Global Vehicle Safety, Global Off the Job Safety, and Click Heard Around the World seat-belt check programs.

“The Global Vehicle Safety program is a comprehensive program that is designed to ‘to safeguard the lives of all Monsanto employees through the development, implementation, and management of a comprehensive safe driving program,’ ” Cole explained. This program is coordinated on a global basis and managed on a local/regional basis through a formal structure and local team.

According to Cole, safety is, and always has been, a core value within Monsanto.

“It is a value that we feel is one of our corporate responsibilities to share and extend to our families, the communities where we live and work, and to our customers,” she said. “The Global Off the Job Safety program is the formal networking and sharing of these best practices worldwide. A majority of these outreach efforts are focused on vehicle safety — driving skills, behavior, sharing the road, etc.”

The Click Heard Around the World program is a semi-annual unannounced observation of all company drivers and all other staff entering all Monsanto sites globally. “All vehicle occupants are checked for seat belt compliance and motorcycle riders are checked for helmet usage,” Cole explained.

(Note: motorcycles are not authorized vehicles for company drivers; this program encompasses non-drivers commuting to and from work).

“Sites with 100-percent compliance for seat belts and helmets are awarded a 100-percent compliance plaque to display onsite with accumulating nameplates for dates of each subsequent observation where 100-percent compliance is achieved,” she said.

Monsanto has also instituted a global vehicle database, which tracks mileage as well as accidents and incidents by drivers and vehicles worldwide.

“This system provides data, which drives our continuous improvement efforts and provides the key metric for vehicle safety performance, collisions per million miles (CPMM), which is benchmarked annually with approximately 60 other companies through the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS),” according to Cole.

Cole also serves on the Board of Directors for NETS. The Network is an employer-led public/private partnership dedicated to improving the safety and health of employees, their families, and members of the communities in which they live and work by preventing traffic crashes that occur both on- and off-the-job.

“One of the greatest benefits to member companies, and to our collective global efforts to improve road and vehicle occupant safety, is the Annual NETS Benchmark Survey,” Cole said.

[PAGEBREAK]This anonymous survey analyzes participating companies’ CPMM versus their policies and programs to identify which programs and policies are unique to leading CPMM-level companies.

In 2002, this survey identified several of the global best practices which were originally incorporated and are currently included in Monsanto’s Global Vehicle Safety Policy. Other key benefits to NETS member companies are the annual Drive Safely Work Week program, the monthly eNewsletter, and a facilitated “Forum Question and Response” where member companies can ask for advice or information from the other member companies. These responses are then aggregated and shared with all member companies. 
Looking to the Future
When asked about future goals, Cole intends to “continue to invest in areas and technologies that are aimed at improving both the safety of our vehicles as well as that of our drivers’ skills and behaviors — and to continue to globally share this knowledge and awareness with our families, communities, and customers.” FF