Donaldson Group

Donaldson Group empowers its frontline workers with SafetyCulture (formerly iAuditor). Find out how Donaldson Group, is using the SafetyCulture inspection solution and integrations to standardize operational processes across its sites in the UK.


About 100 monthly audits done by the construction department

30-40 minutes saved on internal audits per employee

The Donaldson Group is a long-standing Scottish family business that has been around for more than 160 years. It provides the UK housebuilding industry with premium, environmentally friendly brands, products, services, and systems. With 1,500 employees and 47 locations across the UK, the timber company is dedicated to quality in all aspects of its operations. 

The Chief Risk Officer at Donaldson Group, Mark Murphy looks after everything related to risk – including safety, health, environment and quality assurance. His role involves managing and mitigating risks for the company and looking for ways to improve incidents and accidents with his team of four employees.

Prior to using the SafetyCulture platform, the Donaldson Group conducted monthly internal audits with pen and paper – using on average 30 sheets of paper for every three to four sites. In January 2016, Mark decided to search for alternative solutions to digitize their audits, and found SafetyCulture. Seeing all the benefits of the platform, the company fully rolled out the digital solution in 2020. “Our company really grew over the past few years, we used to have three users for a while and now it’s grown to 150.” Mark says.

A strategic journey to empowering frontline workers

It can be difficult at times to navigate the digitization of audits, but Mark’s team took a strategic approach: identify the business risk, and then find a worker whose peers would frequently turn to – someone seen as a leader, but not necessarily a member of management. After that, this team would teach them how to use the SafetyCulture platform and ask them to use it to conduct their checks. As word of mouth spread, more and more colleagues were keen to start using SafetyCulture in their workplace operations to capture their day to day activity. Those key users would provide feedback, with Mark’s department analyzing their data to improve the company’s protocols and procedures.

“Frontline colleagues can see when something’s not right, and usually have ideas on how to improve it. Our safety first culture meant giving them the responsibility and the tools to look after safety.”

Mark Murphy
Chief Risk Officer at Donaldson Group

Change is often accompanied by initial resistance. Some frontline employees expressed concern about switching from paper-based audits to a digital platform. However, they were able to recognize the benefits of the SafetyCulture platform after utilizing logic in the ‘Templates’ feature: only specific questions would come up in the inspection audits based on the response. Mark explains: “We showed our staff that this tool would help reduce or speed up their amount of work because we didn’t just replicate the paper form – we made it suit their needs.”

Leveraging integrations to standardize operational processes

Donaldson Group’s management teams now undertakes a once a month audit of their area. The colleagues can easily observe what isn’t working, where things have improved, and what still needs to be fixed. After learning about the benefits of the SafetyCulture platform to conduct safety audits, we at Donaldson Group identified other potential use cases – with a number of these ideas generated from those using the app. 

Now, we have moved from just performing safety inspections  to completion checks when we are building timber kit homes or installing kitchens. Additionally, the company uses the SafetyCulture platform to inspect the goods that arrive at their warehouses prior to building the kitchens.

Mark integrated Power Automate and Power BI with the SafetyCulture platform.  Despite not having an IT background, Mark and the team were easily able to configure the company’s dashboards themselves. Through these integrations, the management teams could view all the completed Inspections in Power BI, send copies of those to key stakeholders at Donaldson Group, and store a copy on a particular Sharepoint website.  As a result, this increased transparency over the daily operations and improved visibility over the trends.

Afterwards, the customer would also receive a copy of that inspection via email as a Completion certificate. This document serves as a record and contains all the important details about how the company constructed the home (e.g. safety features, fire prevention equipment, and more). This has also been implemented in the kitchen installations.  By offering their clients this degree of openness, Donaldson Group could use the SafetyCulture platform to boost customer satisfaction. Customers receive a completion certificate from the Donaldson Group employees before the work is turned over to other trades or contractors.

In three year’s time, if a customer wants to see exactly how their house was constructed or their kitchen installed, they have a full record.”

Mark Murphy
Chief Risk Officer at Donaldson Group

Increasing ROI and delivering a safer working environment

Every single Donaldson Group colleague who uses SafetyCulture has saved 30-40 minutes on internal audits. Every month, the construction department carries out roughly 100 audits. “It is actually easier and quicker than paper audits. We can directly add photos and assign Actions. Before, the inspections’ data was analyzed between six to seven weeks later. Now, with the SafetyCulture platform, all of that information gets pulled out of the audits daily and gets updated every day. The senior management teams can simply dial in and view the dashboards with the key data.” says Mark.

Thanks to the digitization of their operations with the SafetyCulture platform, the number of accidents at Donaldson Group has decreased. “We now have more work time that is actually worked rather than lost time because someone’s off work,” Mark says. 

The company has also experienced financial gains from using the SafetyCulture platform.

“Being able to demonstrate to the insurance company the things we’ve done, and the risk improvements we put in place to make us a safer workplace has helped us save on insurance premiums for the last two years, when premiums were on the increase.”

Mark Murphy
Chief Risk Officer at Donaldson Group

Building long-term interconnected workflows for sustainable growth

Mark plans on expanding use cases of the SafetyCulture mobile platform across the business. “We are constantly looking at how we can improve further – recording incidents/accidents, completing insurers COPE assessments, linking in with our Continuous Improvement program are all items being explored ” says Mark.

Looking back on the changes within Donaldson Group since the rollout of the platform, Mark affirms: “We can see and touch the safety culture that has developed within our company. I get an easy-to-use platform that helps me change my business and helps us deliver.” 

Moving SafetyCulture’s integration with Power BI and Power Automate to the next level is Mark’s long-term goal. “A site agent would complete an inspection after installing a timber kit or kitchen, the customer signs it, and we get that report sent in. Then, I can know the job’s finished, and thanks to the integration, it could automatically tell the Accounting team they can now invoice the customer, and also pay our contractors right away. All thanks to that signature proof,” says Mark.

The company currently uses the platform Samsara (a system that helps organizations that depend on physical operations to harness IoT data to develop actionable insights and improve their operations) which can also be integrated with the SafetyCulture platform. “I want to link SafetyCulture to Samsara. We’ve got vehicles so if we have a road traffic incident, we should be using SafetyCulture to record those events,” says Mark.

He also praises the collaboration with Donaldson Group’s SafetyCulture Customer Success Manager and Account Executive. “They’re wonderful people, to be fair, I haven’t met anyone at SafetyCulture that I haven’t thought the same way about.”


Want to know more about how SafetyCulture can help you improve employee safety and streamline your processes? Visit our page dedicated to SafetyCulture (formerly iAuditor) or contact us.

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