Digitalization and the EHS&S Field - How to Really Approach the Boom

SOURCE: Inogen Alliance

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Change is coming and you never know where it hits you and where it gives you wings – this was one of the big lessons in recent years with bringing EHS&S (Environment, Health & Safety and Sustainability) to the forefront of change and company strategy. The question remains, what are the internal processes, human skills, and tools that help you tackle these challenges? What we face every day in our field is the need for quick adaptation to changes, immediate reaction to incidents, and continuous innovation to get better. How can we manage all this? We think one of the main supporting strategies is digitalization. If you have the right data available to make proper decisions and if you have the right digital processes in place for doing the work from anywhere, then nothing can stop you.

Some of our associate CEOs challenged Inogen Alliance to set digitalization as a main strategic direction back in 2017:

“How we take our practices forward within Inogen Alliance in a market where IT ‘solutions’ are many and varied is one of the key opportunities we face, and a key challenge.” - Alex Ferguson, CEO Delta Simons

“One of our findings and conclusions is that worldwide the importance of IT in consulting is increasing tremendously” – Christian Plas, CEO denkstatt

We at Inogen Alliance understood this requirement from our clients and partners, and we organized several workshops in the last few years to understand the opportunities in digitalization and our services. This initial investment became a great asset during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

To support the digitalization efforts of Inogen Alliance, we created a working group with experts from around the globe which both improved our understanding of the changing environment and defined the following goals for the organization:

How can we enable Inogen Alliance members with digital solutions to give better and differentiating services? How can we bring in digitalization values through group synergies?

We have worked ever since on these questions and we want to share some of the findings we have had.

1. The digitalization is not an end to itself. We love fancy, shiny new things, showing off with our new phone or tablet which can sometimes do things we never really wanted or needed. (Fluffy ears on picture filters or drinking beer apps are some of the things which are fun but not applicable to business.) Digitalization is everything but shine….it is rather about the process of leveraging digitization to improve business processes.

2. Companies are sometimes very open-minded to apply new technologies and software – which is very positive. However– when introducing digitalization into EHS&S, we very much have to focus on the goal and the data we get out of “digitalized” processes. Before choosing the next shiny tool, we must never forget that the tool is always the servant, and the business goals and the steps are the drivers. Some of the real drivers for digitalization are as follows:

  • By understanding cost drivers an organization can improve its cost-effectiveness. When organizations operate through strong standard business processes, the costs of goods and services become transparent, which facilitates visible and sustainable improvement. With digitalization some services could be automated, like measuring and analyzing energy or waste data, thus reducing costs associated previously with those activities.
  • One of the most typical drivers for EHS digitalization is risk reduction - the art of managing things which shouldn’t happen. A good approach makes sure processes are in place and allows the operator to react at the first sign of deviation or even act proactively to avoid deviation.
  • Process Efficiency defines the extent to which a process performs relative to its full potential. Greater efficiency comes by delivering a greater output of EHS services relative to the assets required for that purpose. If you are less efficient then you have a competitive disadvantage.
  • An organization that builds consistent capability to deliver a faster response will enjoy a preferred position in every aspect.
  • And finally, behind every unhappy employee or customer lays a broken business process. Improving the user experience begins with aligning internal business processes to deliver better user outcomes. By systematically studying your stakeholders, an organization can build robust business processes that consistently meet their needs….and users also want to have easy-to-learn, easy-to-access tools with a great look and feel.

Digital technology is changing our economies, our societies and our way of life. The management of environment, health and safety (EHS) stands to be significantly impacted by this digital transformation and nobody wants to fall behind. Technological advancements are changing the nature of how EHS professionals mitigate risk, make decisions and allocate resources. From the automation of processes, through the usage of in-field sensors and the evolution toward predictive analytics, workers and organizations stand to experience a step-change in EHS performance if these opportunities can be grasped.

Digitalization is an added value– but it's indispensable that your EHS&S processes work fine.

To close with a real business case, how we support you at Inogen Alliance: one of the fastest-growing tools for the complete corporate EHS&S activities is the denxpert software which was developed by our Associate denxpert in Hungary. We use it to provide legal compliance and audit support to our international clients. Inogen Alliance members manage all the legal requirements and support clients with their compliance status and findings transparently with this tool. You receive the added benefit of having a tool to track everything and plus the human touch of the best experts globally in the field supporting you. Within the Alliance the global digitalization working group shares best practices, the newest innovations, and learnings to enable the best expertise to serve our clients.

About Inogen Alliance

We are an Alliance of consultants that can provide global coverage through one point of contact for environmental, health, safety, and sustainability efforts at your company. Together by choice for 20 years, our Alliance has unparalleled global coverage and a committed team that will partner with you in solving your EHS challenges, resolving liabilities from the past, addressing today's requirements and delivering innovative solutions for the future. Learn more at https://www.inogenalliance.com.

Tweet me: Change is coming and you never know where it hits you and where it gives you wings – this was one of the big lessons in recent years with bringing EHS&S and digitalization to the forefront of change and company strategy. How will you handle this change? https://bit.ly/3eWyWiK

KEYWORDS: EHS&S, Digitalization, Technology, environment, Health, safety, Inogen Alliance

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