Chemistry can be a complicated subject, so it’s not too surprising that chemical regulations can be as well.
One of the biggest challenges companies come across when it comes to managing hazardous materials is how to take a holistic approach. Scattered datapoints and siloed information can lead to greater risk exposure in an organization that does not have technology to help share and access information.
To help companies understand those complexities, Sphera recently hosted a roundtable discussion to discuss that very topic. The session, titled “The Future of Chemical Management” was led by Jean Aouad, who is Sphera’s global vice president of Product Stewardship; Laura Patrick, Sphera’s solutions manager, Chemical Management; and Ruth Donlon and Katie McGee, who are Sphera senior regulatory analysts. Additionally, David Dalke, IBM’s senior environmental engineer, presented during the roundtable.
Here Are Five Key Takeaways From the Roundtable:
1. Only Constant Is Change: Handling chemical regulations, especially for large, global organizations, is becoming more and more complex. There are so many different regulations to comply with, and these rules are changing and becoming more stringent each and every year. Companies must keep up or open themselves up to compliance risk. But it’s not just the large organizations that are being put to the test of keeping up with regulatory changes—any size organization feels the pain of trying to manage constant change.
2. Thinking Holistically: Oftentimes data is scattered in many different systems across a global organization. Different data is collected over time in different locations, so the data that exists in one area of the company isn’t always shared with another group. These data silos are difficult to manage. Centralization and accuracy of information are key to ensure best practices are used and shared appropriately and Operational Excellence is achieved.
3. SDS Overload: How do you manage those thousands of Safety Data Sheets (SDS) your company needs and get them to the employee at the right time in the right language at the right time? We’ll tell you two ways that cannot be achieved: through spreadsheets and paper records. Integrated software solutions are the only way to manage all that data.
4. Maturity Matters: Being compliant is, of course, very important, but it’s not a true strategy to help predict and mitigate risk. Once you get to the next stage of maturity, your organization is starting to make much clearer processes and connect them within the organization to make sure you are prepared to bring chemicals on-site. Management and employees need to know that information, which is why systems integration is so important to ensuring your chemical data is able to be accessed in other places in your organization. Streamlining those processes requires that sophisticated technology solutions are in place. Leading organizations are also able to use prescriptive and predictive analytics about the chemicals they use to make better-informed business decisions to decrease risk.
5. International Landscape: Industry in general has become more and more global. Your supply chains are international, your raw materials are coming from various countries, etc. International regulations are playing a larger role than ever before. There are a number of important regulatory changes on the horizon (read “Regulations That Should Be on Your Radar for 2021”).