JESI stands for Journey, Events, Safety and Innovation. The company was founded in 2014 by Joe Hoolahan, initially to provide effective and safer journey tracking. JESI has now evolved to support organisations of all sizes, in managing and monitoring the safety of their remote workforce with a complete ‘end to end’ solution, that includes risk assessment, integrations and data analytics.
The idea for the business came about from a colleague who worked remotely near Weepa in far north Queensland. He had a car accident on the way to work one day and no one knew about it for over seven hours. He was found trapped in the car upside down, barely conscious. This shocking incident got Joe thinking about the many remote workers travelling long distances, particularly in the mining industry, and the difficulties of knowing if they run into trouble along the way. While it was a problem in general, it became a serious matter of corporate responsibility in 2015 when legislation around duty of care was enacted which compelled organisations to know the whereabouts of their employees when under the organisation’s responsibility.
JESI’s journey management solution allows organisations to manage the risks associated with having a remote, mobile workforce. If a remote worker encounters a problem, such as a delay, injury or accident, the solution helps the organisation to respond quickly, as minutes matter when accidents or injuries occur. The firm initially focused on servicing the mining sector, however with a slowdown in the sector in 2015, they reconsidered the problem they were solving and realised that sectors like education, consulting and health also had remote workers who travel. Their brand evolved to have a broader appeal, and JESI expanded to not just be about staff safety, but also to be about day-to-day workforce management.
JESI started out lean and is self-funded but was successful in securing funding, such as the Queensland Business Development Fund. They also secured angel investment to allow the company to grow. The firm grew from a 4-person team in Townsville to 8-person business with their main office in Moreton Bay. JESI is likely to employ 20 people by the end of 2020, with its software solution now used in 15 other countries. Nevertheless, Joe acknowledges that while JESI was and still is in growth mode, the team needed to adapt their approach when the COVID-19 crisis emerged.
The team adapted JESI’s features and approach to stay relevant to their clients’ needs
The COVID-19 restrictions on travel, and lockdowns had a big impact on not only how JESI’s workforce operated but also on their existing clients and other workforces that were required to work remotely. While the mining industry largely continued to operate, travel in other sectors slowed right down.
The JESI team went into an initial intense two-week period of refocusing JESI’s business perspective but transitioned well to working from home. Their regular morning stand-up meetings changed to online meetings, but they incorporated a fun element to keep team spirits high. Joe reflected that this team adjustment brought them closer together as they learnt more about each other. It also brought about a closeness and sense of community which filtered through to their interactions with partners and clients.
The team adapted JESI’s features and approach to stay relevant to their clients’ needs. They knew most organisations were managing a workforce now working from home and helped them to support remote employees, assisting in contract tracings, flexible work arrangements, online medical and health assessments.
“Relevance is the key,” Joe said. “We changed the language used to describe our services and feature development to being COVID relevant.”
JESI remains firmly committed to their growth strategy. The key to their success thus far has been to listen to their customers, respond accordingly and offer value, so they will continue to do this in future. They anticipate they will be able to make greater use of the data they gather through their solution, enabling them to provide insight into industry trends. For example, they could advise Main Roads on road usage for maintenance in the regions their clients operate. In keeping with the JESI’s focus on safety, the data will also inform the development of their operational toolsets designed to assist their client organisations to improve safety.