By | July 8, 2022

With a growing need to maintain safe operations, stay compliant and improve sustainability in an increasingly dynamic global regulatory environment, managing Environment, Health, Safety and Sustainability (EHS) data effectively has never been more important. Digitalization can help organizations unlock additional value and insights from the data they maintain, particularly around product stewardship, to help meet EHS goals.  

But juggling these priorities across a global enterprise is no easy feat. At the Product Stewardship Virtual Summit on June 29, Sphera hosted a discussion with expert SAP users to discuss EHS data management challenges and the associated best practices. Panelists included: Stefano Piatti, a product stewardship specialist with Stahl, and Frédéric Tribel, co-founder and managing director of operations, sales and marketing, with eSpheres.  

Here are three best practices for data management the panelists discussed:  

1. Look for authoring tools that work seamlessly with ERP systems.

Stahl started using SAP over a decade ago, but lack of integration across enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems made data exchange a challenge, according to Mr. Piatti. The chemical company’s global presence also presented regulatory challenges. “For us, it is very important to always be compliant with regulations everywhere in the world,” Mr. Piatti said.  

To facilitate more efficient and compliant data exchanges, Stahl partnered with Sphera to integrate SAP Environment, Health and Safety Management with ERP data. This enabled Stahl to populate safety data sheets with the appropriate information based on global regulatory data functionality that is now the “core of the system,” according to Mr. Piatti.  

2. Leverage automation to enhance data quality and efficiency.

“Automation in general is important in many business areas to reduce workloads and avoid human error, copying data from one system to another,” Mr. Tribel said. SAP EHS is no different. Loading regulatory data and other content can be repetitive and time consuming and can create unnecessary risk. That’s why Stahl chose to partner with eSpheres to create a traceable, replicable system for data transfer. The automated process transformed Stahl’s EHS function into a central database of product properties, which not only helps streamline data input processes but also outputs. When customers come to Stahl with questions, their automated database makes it possible to track information down to the impurities in raw materials used.  

3. Find a network of expert partners.

In-house, generalist IT teams typically don’t have the combination of regulatory and functional skills required to implement and support global EHS programs. Software partners that can provide expertise, build best-in-class tools and deliver data when and where it is needed can help organizational IT teams focus on the bigger picture. “The most important thing is to find partners that are reliable and that can provide new developments in real time,” Mr. Piatti said. Partners like Sphera and eSpheres can help ensure your business operates with the latest regulatory information and best practices and evolves in step with the industry.  

Future-Proof Your Data Management Systems

As the focus on health, safety and sustainability grows, product stewardship is now more important than ever. However, managing regulatory changes, compliance and operations increasingly requires a digital approach, and Sphera’s authoring tool is purpose-built for SAP and managing regulatory content. “If you have an existing system, don’t be afraid of change,” Mr. Tribel said. While digitalization may seem daunting, using integrated and automated systems can help set companies up for long-term sustainability, safety and efficiency.