The movement toward sustainability has gained considerable traction over the past few years, – and for good reason. Awareness of our impact on the world around us has increased, and people at all levels throughout the value chain are turning up the volume on corporate responsibility. Most consumers say they would prefer to purchase goods and services from companies that proactively work toward safeguarding our environment and making the world a better place.
We’ve written about this topic on several occasions recently, including posts on the top practices for maintaining an environmentally sustainable workplace and how document control software helps companies go green. At the most fundamental level, QMS and EHS software provide structure and automation for systems and processes that require a disciplined approach. That includes defining goals and acceptable parameters, delineating the necessary processes to achieve those goals, and putting mechanisms in place to measure and monitor progress and compliance with established standards.
QMS and EHS software provide a framework for making all of that happen effectively and efficiently. They make it easier to gather and analyze data, empowering workers to collect and record relevant information anytime, anywhere using mobile phones or tablet devices. QMS and EHS software provides automated workflows that ensure the information flows to the right people at the right time, and that follow-up actions are completed promptly and efficiently.
Virtually any initiative can benefit from this kind of structured approach. Naturally, QMS and EHS software are built with specific objectives in mind. In the case of QMS, it is quality management and all of the subdisciplines that quality management entails. In the case of Environment, Health, and Safety (EHS), it’s about ensuring that all the right pieces are in place to ensure the safety and well-being of workers, customers, and the public, – as well as the integrity of the surrounding environment.
Given the right measure of flexibility, QMS and EHS can be adapted to fit virtually any initiative that an organization embarks upon. If it involves staff training, documentation, checklists, and procedures, data collection, audits, or workflows, then highly configurable QMS software can be useful in making it happen. At Intellect, we take pride in serving our customers with software that embodies our principle of extreme configurability. In fact, many of Intellect’s customers initially buy our software to meet their need for a QMS or EHS system, but before long they begin to see a multitude of new possibilities.
Let’s consider a few examples that illustrate how QMS and EHS software can operate “out of the box” to help you achieve greater sustainability in your organization.
Safe Disposal of Hazardous Materials
Think about many of the processes that occur regularly in a light industrial setting. It is common, for example, to use degreasers and industrial solvents to clean machinery, equipment, and parts. What are the inputs to that process? Under what circumstances should a biodegradable solvent be used versus stronger special-purpose solvents? What are the proper steps in handling those materials? What safety equipment is required? Do employees require special training, – and if so, does it need to be refreshed on a regular basis?
Many of these questions can be answered within the framework of an effective EHS management program, which can be used to track training, document processes, and so on. In addition to looking after the safety of employees, it’s important that used solvents be disposed of properly to avoid adverse effects on the environment. Disposal procedures can be incorporated into a broader process, enabling the organization to see to the responsible disposal of potentially hazardous waste.
The same kind of structure may be applied to something as simple as a recycling program, – or something as complex as oil rig operations. If your company is rolling out sustainability initiatives, then chances are QMS and EHS software can make that process go more smoothly.
At Intellect, we also help companies with change management software that empowers employees with workflows and communication tools to ensure that the necessary actions are taken by the right people at the right time to complete a project or initiative. Imagine, for example, that your company intends to incentivize the use of electric vehicles by installing charging stations at select locations around the parking lot at their facilities.
That requires participation from the facilities manager (who must oversee the installation of the chargers), the HR department (which must determine how and when charging stations will be made available to employees), accounting (which must pay for the equipment and installation), and perhaps the legal department (which must see that the proper permits are in place), and so on. At every step of the way, the process must be well-coordinated, and dependencies must be clearly understood and tracked carefully. Change management software provides a structured framework for this kind of project.
When we mentioned the word “sustainability”, most people think of environmentally responsible policies and behaviors. There is another definition, though, that is worth mentioning here as well. Specifically, we are talking about the ability of an organization to maintain structure and discipline during a world that is constantly changing.
Small startup organizations are especially susceptible to chaos. When a company is in its early stages of growth, innovation is flourishing, and creativity abounds. That early-stage innovation is often fueled by a small group of hard-working, out-of-the-box thinkers who collaborate closely with one another and are deeply involved with virtually every aspect of the product development process.
As that kind of entrepreneurial company grows, it can often be difficult to maintain momentum. Structured processes and organizational discipline are essential as new people begin to enter the picture, roles become more specialized, and communication channels are necessarily more formal.
When an early-stage company has the right QMS or EHS software in place, it can begin to foster a disciplined approach to information, processes, and data collection & analysis. They can build a culture that values clarity, conciseness, and accountability. For some creative thinkers, this kind of structure may be anathema, – but to the extent that such systems can be designed for flexibility and ease-of-use, – they can provide significant upside with very little cause for objection. QMS and EHS provide a structure that can help to rein in the chaos inherent in rapid growth companies.
The result is an organization that can grow responsibly, surviving well beyond its first months and years as an innovator.
At Intellect, we provide QMS, EHS, and change management software that can easily be adapted to fit a wide range of different needs. We design our products so that virtually anyone can configure them to achieve a variety of different purposes. If your organization is looking to increase your sustainability, or if you’re just looking for help with QMS, EHS, or change management, – contact us. We’d love to learn more about your project and discuss how we can help you achieve your vision.
Now that you've learned about how QMS & EHS improve organization sustainability, learn about, “The Top 5 Reasons EHS Increase Profitability”.