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Photos by Thinkstock; Security Management Illustration

Message to the Masses

Sanofi is a global pharmaceuticals business that manufactures and distributes vaccines and medications worldwide. The organization provides diabetes solutions, consumer healthcare services, animal health products, and other therapies. Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi, provides more than 1 billion doses of vaccines each year, which immunize more than 500 million people across the globe.

With more than 100 locations in the United States, Sanofi has approximately 25,000 employees domestically, and a global workforce of more than 125,000. Keeping track of those workers and ensuring their safety is of utmost concern to the company, says Joe Blakeslee, security systems manager at Sanofi. 

For its North American sector, the organization incorporates several solutions as part of its overall security profile, including access control, CCTV, and emergency notification. For many years, Sanofi had several mass notification platforms that were disparate, without a centralized way to manage alerts for all employees. 

In late 2014, Sanofi put out a request for proposal to find a product that could unify its many mass notification platforms into one seamless solution. Near the beginning of 2015, it chose Everbridge Mass Notification, a Web-based application that allows for distribution of messages to a large audience. 

“The biggest part about Everbridge that stood out was the user interface,” Blakeslee says. “It provided everything we needed, and we were also impressed with how easy the system was to use.” The Sanofi North America security team started rolling out the application at the beginning of 2015 for internal security purposes, and in June of that year began registering all North American employees into the system.

He adds that the variety of options for reaching employees was paramount, given Sanofi’s mobile workforce. “Everbridge has multiple modalities in which you can actually send the message,” he says. “We use all the modalities whether it’s cell phone, SMS, home phone, or email. We give all of our employees the ability to elect whatever modality they would like.” Employees rank their preferred communication modalities in order when registering for the system; that way, if one method fails to contact the worker, notifications will automatically be sent via other methods until the party is reached.  

Everbridge is used on a daily basis at Sanofi, he adds. “Every day we use the application to alert various groups within the company, whether it’s related to fire alarms, evacuations, hazmat response, or other incidents.” 

Sanofi has a central security services center (SSC). There, analysts monitor the business locations across the country for alarms and alerts using various security management software. Only designated individuals within the SSC can access the Everbridge platform and administrate messages through the platform. When there is an incident, such as a fire alarm, analysts send out alerts to the affected employees to give them situational awareness through the Everbridge Web portal. In the fire example, employees would be alerted to evacuate the building and await further instruction. The messages being sent can be selected from a set of prewritten options, or modified based on the particular event; normally in an emergency, the messages are written at the time by the security team. 

“Say you have a building with 3,000 people in it. We want to reach them wherever they may be,” he says, “and reach as many people as we can in as little amount of time as possible.” 

The Everbridge application is used to notify workers that it is safe to return to their desks. It also displays in real-time the status of employees involved in the incident. Employee status can either be confirmed or unconfirmed. If someone is unconfirmed, the Everbridge system allows the SCC to resend the message or try a new contact path based on the order of the employee’s preferred contact methods to try to get a response. For example, if sending an SMS to a cell phone doesn’t work, the system will make a telephone call, then send an email, and so forth. The confirmation lets the security team determine which employees are safe. 

The system helps get employees back to work more quickly, because people aren’t wondering whether it’s safe to return to their desks. 

Everbridge can also be used for incident management. For example, in the case of a trespasser, security would get an alarm or a phone call. “From there, SSC would send out a notification from Everbridge to the local emergency response personnel, asking for them to respond to the occurrence,” Blakeslee says. “After the message is sent to all the recipients’ devices, the SSC would, in real time, monitor the responses from the recipients’ confirmations and determine how many people are responding to the event.” 

Everbridge isn’t just used for reactionary purposes. It provides proactive security measures as well. Sanofi has security officers at each of its locations, and the organization conducts daily check-ins with those personnel who are patrolling alone to ensure they are safe and accounted for. Sanofi expects a message back, and “if they don’t respond, we escalate that to the SSC and they handle it from there,” Blakeslee says.  

He adds that the mobile nature of the modern workforce means that employees won’t always be working from their primary location. “Our workforce is dynamic. One day I may be working in Pennsylvania, the next day I might be in New Jersey,” he says, noting that several employees and contractors travel frequently. To help keep track of its mobile workforce, Sanofi rolled out a newer feature from Everbridge called Safety Connection in the second quarter of 2016. The solution aggregates geo-location data from multiple systems so Sanofi knows where its employees are at any given time.  

Blakeslee says that given the sensitivity of materials they manufacture and distribute, as well as the importance of their services to customers, the culture at Sanofi is safety oriented. “Anything dealing with safety we’re really reactive to, so Everbridge provides us another means of communicating to keep our employees safe.”

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For more information: Jeff Benanto, jeff.benanto@everbridge.com, www.everbridge.com, 781.373.9879 ​

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