To integrate, or not to integrate… Part 2

A consideration of the relative advantages and disadvantages of an IMS is a sound starting point to evaluate whether the time has come to integrate management platforms, or whether integration would generate no immediate or long-term payoff.

  • Cost efficiency: The aforementioned standards share several common requirements, including document control, auditing and training. An obvious cost-reduction arises when a business addresses each of these areas with shared software and processes. Also, registrars tend to provide discounts when they are able to audit two or more management systems together, as opposed to one at a time.
  • Time efficiency: While the logistics of implementing an IMS may be complicated at the onset, the relative simplicity of managing EHSQ systems together on an ongoing basis will ultimately save time and frustration.
  • Corporate Brand: Most Businesses understand that a negative EHSQ ‘event’ (for example, a spill, a product recall or an employee
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To integrate, or not to integrate…

Though environment, health, safety (EHS) and quality management issues are often handled by individual management systems, the guiding principles behind each of these areas share a common link — W. Edwards Deming. The American quality guru is most commonly associated with the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle, an iterative problem-solving process used to resolve quality issues and improve business performance. But it is important to remember the foremost EHS and quality management standards — including ISO14001 (environment), OSHAS 18000 (health and safety) and ISO 9001 (quality) — are all rooted in the PDCA or Deming Cycle.

Businesses that encounter regular overlap between these areas ought to consider the potential benefits of an Integrated Management System (IMS). An IMS coordinates all of an organization’s procedures, systems and processes within one complete framework and, in an ideal scenario, allows the organization to operate as a seamless whole, with unified objectives across all departments.

But a … Read more...

Intelex’s essential ROI guide featured in Pollution Engineering

Ever have a tough time selling a software solution to your boss you know will make a huge difference to your organization?

Well, this isn’t an uncommon thing. It’s always difficult to convince those that hold the purse strings in any organization to loose themselves of the funds you so dearly need to streamline your processes; to escape the Notes, the spreadsheets, and the disparate documents and systems of the world to reconcile all information in one system.

If these concerns echo with you at all, check out a recent article in Pollution Engineering, penned by Intelex’s Paul Leavoy.

It describes the opportunities and challenges that face any EHS manager as he or her pursues the approval of senior management’s approval of a software solution that will help streamline processes and generate ROI.

Let us know what you think!… Read more...

Successful Sustainability Strategy Series: Tip #5 — Communicate your performance

We’ve covered the importance of developing a proactive plan, quantifying financial gains, understanding the role of metrics, and using software to manage your sustainability program for the most effective results.

Today let’s talk about the often overlooked element of a winning sustainability program: communicating your progress.

5. Communicate Commitment/Performance to Stakeholders: While the primary function of sustainability initiatives will be the returns they deliver through conservation efforts and a number of other cost-savings effects, don’t miss the boat on the wealth of opportunities that accompany clearly communicating sustainability efforts and accomplishments to stakeholders. When developing a sustainability strategy, consider incorporating an ongoing sustainability reporting plan that conforms to existing frameworks (such as the IIRC, GRI and others).

While some critics have complained that comprehensive sustainability reporting can dominate resources and distract from essential business operations, proper planning, resource allocation and the use of software solutions … Read more...

Successful Sustainability Strategy Series: Tip #4 — Forecast and track with software

So far in our week-long discussion on building a successful sustainability strategy, we’ve reviewed the importance of developing a proactive plan, quantifying financial gains, and understanding the role of metrics.

Now let’s turn our attention to another critical aspect and something that’s dear to our hearts at Intelex: the role of software. Yes, it could be argued we’re more than marginally invested in the role software plays in sustainability, but we still deeply believe it is an essential part of building an effective program.

4. Use Software to Track Metrics and Forecast: Certainly, though conventional paper- and spreadsheet-based platforms can be and are used to track environmental, social and economic performance, the advantage of integrated software solutions over such archaic means is undisputable.

In particular, some configurable software products already geared towards streamlining the management of EHS systems can be extended to cover most if not … Read more...

Successful Sustainability Strategy Series: Tip #3 — The role of metrics

We’ve discussed the value of a proactive strategy and quantifying financial gains in building a sustainability strategy.

Today we’ll look at another critical component of a sustainability strategy that is the heart of the adage “you can’t manage what you don’t measure.”

3. Understand the Role of Metrics: Before you make your first step into the world of sustainability – before you install that first compact fluorescent lightbulb – it’s imperative to understand you need to know where you’re at.

Along the lines of the lightbulb example above, it can be as simple as starting with an energy audit of your plants, offices, sites and other business units. If you know where you’re at, you can begin to set goals and targets, key elements of any successful sustainability strategy. The progress achieved through each action and each campaign within your sustainability strategy will be much more significant if they … Read more...

Successful Sustainability Strategy Series: Tip #2 — Calculate the ROI

Yesterday we discussed the role of developing a proactive plan in building a successful sustainability strategy.

Today is all about a term CFOs, VPs, Directors, executive team members  like to hear a lot: ROI.

2. Calculate the ROI: You may have achieved the buy-in of senior management, or your CEO may have provided a clear mandate to undertake sustainable development initiatives. Either way, acknowledge sustainability programs are an investment and spell-out in clear, concrete terms the tangible ROI a sustainability strategy will generate on a short- and long-term basis.

As suggested above, some indirect savings values will be coloured by probabilities and expressed as ranges. However, an honest, comprehensive breakdown — which can be developed in-house or facilitated by a consultant or software solutions provider in many cases — will give your organization a clear analysis of what gains can be expected from the adoption of a comprehensive sustainable … Read more...

Successful Sustainability Strategy Series: Tip #1 — Develop a proactive plan

Thinking of developing an organization-wide sustainability strategy?

An uninitiated organization — perhaps a young, yet fast-growing company just beginning to toy with the idea of pursuing sustainability initiatives in the interest of boosting financial performance — might wonder, given the multifaceted, complex purview of sustainable development, where exactly to start. The answer is simpler and more straightforward than you might suspect.

This week we’ll be reviewing five components of a successful sustainability strategy. The first aspect is all about a word we use a lot over here at Intelex: Proactive.

1. Develop a Proactive Strategy: Just as a sustainability framework is an intrinsically integrated framework of interrelated elements affecting all areas of business management, ad hoc and reactive actions have no place in a sustainability management strategy.

Rather than defining policies on a reactive basis, develop a comprehensive, proactive sustainability strategy to build a sustainable development program that is … Read more...

Understanding the business benefits of consensus-based standards

Businesses seek ISO certification for a variety of reasons: attracting and retaining customers and clients, boosting brand image, and more.

Getting executive buy-in for ISO certification can sometimes be a challenge, and even leaders who have made the decision to seek standards certification – be it ISO 9001, ISO 14001, or any other widely used standards – often fail to consider the unsung rewards of certification.

Businesses that implement ISO standards often focus on the perceived burdens of adoption, such as expansive paper trails, demanding document management, and seemingly interminable audits. They forget that, when executed and implemented properly, certification can spell rich financial rewards.

Well, thanks to the folks at the World Standards Cooperative (WSC), an organization that promotes voluntary, consensus-based standards, business leaders have access to a variety of tools that illustrate the business benefits of adopting ISO standards. The WSC website contains links to dozens of such resources, including:

  • A
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‘If we don’t pass the audit, you can fire me’: Achieving the flawless EMS audit

 

Joey Ebanks, EHS and Training Manager for Caribbean Utilities Company (CUC) and Intelex client, dropped by the Intelex offices in Toronto, Canada this week to make a presentation to Intelexians on how CUC is using Intelex software, and how it has boosted the performance of its EHS programs.

Below is an excerpt from his presentation, an excellent anecdote that reflects Joey’s confidence as he entered an audit of his environmental management system (EMS) last month:

“In April we had a surveillance audit. The auditor came back in to look at 50 per cent of our EMS system. And I actually took the weekend off and went to Fort Lauderdale, had some fun. My boss, our VP, was very upset that I was not there, making sure everyone was ready for the audit. But I was absolutely sure we were ready. In fact I said to him, ‘I’m 99 … Read more...