If your organization is like many, you may still be using a complex set of spreadsheets, emails and macros to manage your health and safety program. After all, that’s how you’ve been managing your EHS program for years, and for years that home grown solution has been “good enough.” But sometimes good enough is not really good enough when you consider the cost implications.
If you have an EHS program in your organization, you’re probably already spending a great deal of time and resources into improving health and safety at your company. However, if you still rely on manual processes, spreadsheets and emails to manage that EHS program then you may be spending far more than you bargained for when you add up the hidden productivity costs of a spreadsheet based system.
Here are 5 hidden costs of a spreadsheet driven EHS program you might not be aware of:
1) Spreadsheets aren’t mobile.
These days’ workers expect to do almost anything on their phones. This holds true for seemingly straightforward tasks like logging an accident or near-miss as well. But, workers out in the field can’t fill out a spreadsheet on a smartphone. Health and safety incidents can happen anywhere, and most of the time they don’t happen anywhere near a computer. Workers need to be able to log incidents as they happen, where they happen. Spreadsheets simply can’t offer this kind of flexibility.
2) Spreadsheets waste time.
The time required for manually entering or importing safety data into a spreadsheet can have a big impact on productivity. By automating these processes with streamlined incident reporting forms and tools, the entire process can be sped up. This allows employees to complete their EHS tasks much more efficiently and focus on the jobs they were hired to do rather than on tedious data entry.
Manual data entry can increase the likelihood of errors. When an incident occurs, workers have to describe what happened. Occasionally this report isn’t logged until well after the event occurs if they don’t have immediate access to a computer. Some employees may have hand written notes to go off when they finally are able to log the incident. These delays and duplicate tasks can often result in unnecessary mistakes and inaccuracies in the data.
Automated incident reporting, on the other hand, allows workers to capture the details of the event instantly. They can even attach a photo or other multimedia captured on a smartphone to offer even more detail. Think about not only how much more accurate your EHS data could be in that case, but how much richer the information could be as well if you were to move away from the rigid confines of a spreadsheet.
4) Spreadsheets slow down the workflow.
After hours of manual entry, incident reports might be sent to a manager for review or approval. We’ve all seen it before, these emailed reports sitting in inbox purgatory for days. Once approved, these reports still might need to be processed further to trigger preventative actions or tasks, again leading to even more inbox purgatory. This workflow filled with emails and attachments is slow, inefficient, and ultimately expensive. Don’t forget, time is money.
EHS tools with automated, escalating workflows are just the opposite. In a simple dashboard an EHS manager can see where the notifications sit and who is slowing down the process to make sure everything is flowing smoothly. It’s a much faster way to proactively improve your EHS practices and policies, which makes for a safer workplace.
5) Spreadsheets don’t provide immediate insight.
Generally speaking, health and safety isn’t something that should be put off for tomorrow. Therefore, it stands to reason that EHS managers should really know what is happening in their companies when it comes to safety, at any given time. But when data related to this is a stack of paper, finding needed information is neither quick nor easy.
With EHS software reporting, your EHS data is at your fingertips. Reporting is immediate and you can even drill down to better understand the root causes of accidents to gain better visibility into what is happening.
These days every aspect of your business is getting faster and more efficient. Don’t let cumbersome spreadsheets bog down your company’s health and safety aspirations. Each one of these inefficiencies may seem small on the surface, but over time they each add up costing you time and money. If you haven’t before, maybe it’s time for you to take a look at what the world of EHS management software can offer.