It’s time. You’re ready to take the leap and implement an environmental, health, safety and quality (EHSQ) software system to standardize processes and streamline your programs. You know the benefits a unified solution can bring but getting everyone else on board with your vision and taking the project to fruition can often feel like an uphill battle.

Let’s walk through how to build the business case, navigate the procurement process, implement the solution, and sustain your program so you can automate key processes and drive operational excellence across your organization.

1. Building the Business Case

The first step to get management bought into your initiative is to create the business case for a new solution. You may currently be managing your programs using paper, spreadsheets, or a home-grown system, and there’s a good chance you already have an idea of which workflows need revamping. Start by doing a formal audit of your current processes to identify and record which ones could be improved with software.

Next, you’ll want to calculate the cost savings of these improved processes. In your analysis, focus on how the new system will improve efficiencies and reduce the risk of a non-compliance event. You can then use dollar savings to frame your discussion with management and demonstrate the value the new EHSQ software will bring to the organization.

2. Navigating the Procurement Process

Even after you’ve created the business case, you will need to maintain buy-in from a few groups in your organization:

  • Executives: Your leadership team can socialize the importance of the project across the rest of the company and eliminate roadblocks like funding and approvals
  • Information Technology: IT is a huge resource as they will be a part of your project from start to finish
  • Peers: These are the people working with you on a day-to-day basis - it is crucial to have your teammates on your side and invested in the project

Depending on your organization, executives, IT, and your peers may all be involved in various aspects of the procurement journey with you.

Developing the RFP

As part of the procurement process, you may have to develop a Request for Proposal (RFP). The RFP process is incredibly important, as this is where you’ll be outlining your list of requirements and where the vendors you’ll be evaluating will describe how they can meet your requirements. For more information on what to include in your RFP, check out The EHSQ Buyer’s Guide: Critical Factors For Your Software RFP.

After your RFP is developed, it is time to start evaluating vendors. You should establish a strong scoring rubric (check out The Ultimate Guide to EHSQ Software Success for helpful scorecard templates) and leverage it during the software demo process. Before a demo, provide the vendor with your company’s use cases so they can showcase concrete examples that address your team’s pain points.

From here you will begin your selection process. This is where your scorecard will come in handy – evaluate the demos, software functionality, and overall cultural fit between the vendor team and your own.

3. Implementation Phase

After you’ve selected your system, it’s important to remember that implementation is a lot more than just turning your new system on. Follow these steps to ensure a successful implementation:

  • Establish a project governance committee: This should include a project charter (mission/vision/values), the roles and responsibilities of the team, the project scope, and of course – budgeting.
  • Round-up your resources: A Project Manager is incredibly helpful during implementation, they will be overseeing the project from implementation to go-live. Other resources that you will need include a Business Analyst (from IT), and a project and implementation team from the vendor
  • Communication Plan: Often teams will overlook the importance of this step. You absolutely need to communicate to employees and stakeholders who the system users will be, the key project milestones and dates, where the training document are, who is doing the training, and the overall project goals. This is crucial to user adoption and company-wide buy in.

4. Sustaining the Program

After your new system is up and running, keep in mind that the project isn’t over. Your platform will need to be maintained over time. Create a transition plan to help build on your program for years to come. Think about including change management processes in case staffing changes or new hires come on board. You will also need to develop a timeline and regular refresher training schedule for existing users, on a biannual or annual basis. Finally, think about your program goals and expectations for the future. What’s happening 3-6 months from now, and what do you hope to accomplish over the next few years? Think about ways you can enhance other processes, additional business units that would benefit from your existing platform, and new modules that can help you drive continuous improvement.

Next Steps

For more helpful information on taking your software project from vision to reality, download the comprehensive eBook, The Ultimate Guide to EHSQ Software Success.