EHS Management

Strategic EHSQ and Mission-Critical EHSQ: The Future of Environment, Health, and Safety Management

At Cority, we’re always obsessively thinking about where the market is heading and how we can stay ahead of the curve, especially as it relates to customer requirements.

Strategic EHSQ—An Overview

Today, every industry faces ever-rising customer expectations, ever-evolving competition, and ever-changing compliance requirements. Beyond risk mitigation and compliance, effective Environment, Health, Safety, and Quality (EHSQ) programs can be a competitive advantage. Harnessing data to gain insight into—and proactively improve—operations can be the difference between market leadership and market irrelevance.

But how does one make EHSQ a competitive advantage?

Through leveraging strategic EHSQ. We see EHSQ programs ascending into the “C-Suite.” Current political winds in the United States will not change the longer-term march towards more sustainable corporations in the United States or other countries around the world. Regulatory compliance (and the corresponding potential for penalties) is only one reason corporations are putting far greater focus on EHSQ than ever before—the reason is that it’s good for business.

But what is strategic EHSQ, and why does it matter?

Whether it’s reducing emissions, protecting the surrounding community, or ensuring your workers’ overall well-being, it has been long proven that excellent companies—those that generate the best outcomes for their stakeholders—strive to operate with excellence in these areas. Companies that have exemplary safety, health, and environmental programs outperformed the S&P 500 by 3%–5% (Fabius R, Thayer R, Dixon BA, et al 2013). The best companies will not let fewer regulations or risk of penalty let them get sloppy—lax practices cost money, risk brand reputation, and cost billions of dollars per year in lost productivity. The best companies make this a competitive advantage, and the laggards will struggle to survive in a global economy. As part of this trend, we at Medgate believe tangential areas such as GRC and sustainability will be consolidated to cover three broad areas: worker well-being, operational excellence, and compliance.

Mission-Critical EHSQ

There’s no question that now more than ever, an emphasis is being placed on EHSQ management, regardless of industry or organization size. Because of this, EHSQ programs have become more comprehensive, and companies are investing more into programs, staffing, and software solutions.

As these programs ascend in importance, the software that supports them has become mission-critical. Organizations will no longer tolerate IT project delays, cost overruns, or outright failure, nor will they tolerate poor customer support and unreliable operations. The importance of highly reliable project delivery and operational stability are quickly rising to the top of customer requirements. It is increasingly recognized that value cannot be derived from a software solution or management system if it does not go into production in a reasonable and predicable time frame, if users do not adopt the system, or if it fails to generate a tangible return on investment (ROI). This can only be enabled through successful delivery on requirements, world-class ongoing support, and “dial tone”-grade operations. There will be a “culling of the EHSQ herd” based on this evolution.

So, how are organizations adapting to “mission-critical EHSQ”?

There are several ways that organizations are working to increase their focus on EHSQ programs:

  • Integrated EHSQ. Companies are standardizing processes across geographies, disciplines, supply chains, and more. They are also moving from a siloed approach where the EHSQ teams are working separately to an integrated approach where EHS&Q work together.
  • Connected EHSQ. Today’s business demands EHSQ software platforms that are available on any device. Organizations are not willing to tolerate limitations on functionality or workflows. Having a connected solution allows EHSQ professionals to better monitor employees with greater consistency and clarity.
  • Predictive EHSQ. The amount of data pulled in from wearable devices will enable exciting developments in predictive analytics. Within 5 years, machine learning algorithms will have a decided impact on EHSQ. This will enable companies to benchmark themselves against peer group comparators, see correlations in their data that they may have not been aware of, and receive predictive and prescriptive insights to improve their EHSQ programs.
  • Secure EHSQ. The next 5 years will see the threat to data security grow. As financial services and personal identity data become more secure, criminals will increasingly target other valuable data, such as EHSQ data. As more data is stored and shared, more sophisticated requirements for data security and data privacy will arise.

About the Author

David VuongDavid Vuong is the Product Manager of Analytics at Medgate, where he oversees the product development roadmap for Medgate’s Analytics solution. He joined the Product Management team as the Product Manager of Business Intelligence in March 2015, where he developed a long-term plan to elevate Medgate’s Business Intelligence suite to world-class levels. Prior to Medgate, David was in the Business Intelligence industry for over five years where he led new and established best practices in data visualization and design. He has worked with clients in industries such as mining, telecommunications, and logistics.