This article was originally posted on Ask EHS.
Global corporations across the world are bringing together inherent technologies that are supporting multiple safety initiatives. Although a little late in the day, safety is being looked at closely for bringing in automation and thereby, making it efficient for the safety professional as well as the organization. Software acts as a natural area of support for such organizational safety teams. Here are 3 challenges that professionals face when considering software from ASK EHS perspective.
Challenge 1: Creating the Objective for the Software
Safety teams need to accurately underline the objective of the software. These objectives or goals go a long way in making the system a highly efficient one. Few of the problem areas that safety teams can look at include:
- Referencing data (incidents / accidents / near misses) – Empirical records that will help take decisive action (CAPA)
- Intuitive search mechanisms – Searching for relevant data
- Quick report generation
- Schedulers & Management (Training / Drill / Toolbox talk / Audit management)
- Monitoring and management (Permits / Compliances / Inspections)
Challenge 2: Getting People to Use the System
One of the best ways of getting people to use the system is to make it adaptable to existing processes. Making the software adapt to the process will make it easy for people to migrate from an existing system to the customized version seamlessly. This could work well especially for corporations that are still using a paper-based or an Excel sheet driven system. Customizing the software will save significant time and cost for corporations because of the time saved towards training the work-force. If anything, safety teams need to make sure that there are enough added features that encourage individuals to use the system and get habituated to it.
Challenge 3: Evaluating the Service Provider
There are several technology companies in the global market providing software. Safety management teams need to put in all types of considerations before they can zero in on the most productive option. Here are a few things to keep in mind when deciding on the service provider:
- Does the service provider have enough knowledge and experience to understand safety processes, compliance, safety challenges and reporting structures?
- Can the software be customized to suit your preferences?
- Can the software be integrated with existing systems that might be in place?
- Is the software “Web-based”?
- How will the software system enhance the safety management at your company?
There are many other things to consider before short-listing service providers. The ones mentioned above are only the starting point.
Finally, it is important to understand that a software solution is not like a magic wand that guarantees zero incidents OR incident free working atmosphere. It merely acts as a great support tool that automates certain activities that might be taking a lot of time and energy. Here’s a great analogy – When computers first began to show its potential, businesses were working quite efficiently. Most businesses even shunned the computer and strongly resisted the change back then. It is not that these businesses were not working efficiently. Computers simply facilitated the work in a manner that made it more and more efficient.
Similarly, software solutions have been developed merely as a great support system that will make your overall work productive. All the best with your software search!