As EHS professionals know all too well, the yearly process of collecting and crunching the numbers to account for chemical storage, usage, waste, emissions, etc., known as “Reporting Season,” can be time-consuming and frustrating. Typically starting in January, EHS teams begin gathering all of the prior year’s data that is required to file the various reports to match the calendar of regulatory deadlines before the season ends in July. This necessitates that EHS teams track down and aggregate data from a vast number of different sources before they can validate and crunch the numbers to meet the first major deadline in March, followed by a “fast and furious” reporting schedule through April, May, June, and July.
No matter how many times EHS professionals have gone through it, Reporting Season is almost always a fraught and stressful process when submitting late reports and forwarding inaccurate data can trigger inspections and steep fines for your organization. And with half of every year dominated by the need to account for the year before, a wise colleague of mine has rightly asked, “If you’re always looking one year behind, how do you successfully plan for the future?”
Time saving tools for automating systems, centralizing metrics, and streamlining the collection and management of data channels may provide the answer. With a future trending toward larger organizations spread across increasingly disparate silos that need to account for strict regulations for compliance, such tools are quickly becoming a requirement for remaining successful and competitive.
The EHS-Dashboard™ from Capaccio has been tailor made by EHS professionals after twenty-five years of trial and error in the trenches of Reporting Season and beyond. Designed to act as a centralized, real-time data hub, the EHS-Dashboard™ can provide step-by-step guidance toward easing the burden of time and focus on reporting.
It’s important to have a clear plan about what reports you must submit in the upcoming months and when certain benchmarks to meet deadlines will fall. The EHS-Dashboard™ can help identify reporting deadlines in a custom calendar, link necessary permits to data and action items, and automate reminders to keep you on top of every step of every report.
Real-Time Data Sourcing:
Identifying and tracking applicable data sources for each report ahead of time is often the key to success. Automating the influx of those data streams, where possible, or providing the data owner a direct input to a central database, like the EHS-Dashboard™, will allow for real-time gathering of data throughout the year to keep metrics and report progress always up to date.
Eliminating the Scramble:
Automated routine processes and reminders to match your organization's reporting schedule around data collection and validation will free up EHS professionals from wasted time in the chase. With the EHS-Dashboard™, data can be reliably collected and validated ahead of time to cut back on last minute questions or missing information.
Automate Calculations to Cut Spreadsheets and Mistakes:
The significant amount of data required to file a report needs extensive analysis and quality assurance while juggling multiple spreadsheets can easily breed human error. But many of the same calculations repeat every year and are used across multiple reports. The EHS-Dashboard™ allows you to pull from a central database and automate many of these calculations for greater confidence in data integrity while providing a huge time-saving benefit.
Year-Over-Year Data Tracking:
Having one-source access to changes and trends over time will reduce the level of effort necessary to demonstrate year-over-year progress towards reduction in chemicals, wastes, emissions and other set targets. Long-term goals, like those set in Toxic Use Reduction Planning, become easy to track against and report out to stakeholders. The ability to reference status of identified action items and compare reports by filtering data ranges can ease the burden around compliance benchmarks and prompt proactive action toward resolving issues, while also providing proven metrics for stakeholders.
The Big Picture:
A customized tool for real-time data integration and analysis can enable EHS teams to stop focusing exclusively on where they’ve been, to instead work proactively toward where they want to go. This paradigm shift in how we address Reporting Season can provide the time necessary for EHS professionals to truly embrace the creativity and innovation that may spark bold steps toward sustainability that can lift entire organizations and industries alike.
It all boils down to available time and focus. With the EHS-Dashboard™ from Capaccio, those two invaluable resources can be reallocated from Reporting Season and directed back toward the alignment of sustainability with overall business goals. If you have questions or would like to talk about your specific data issues, please email me at cturney at Capaccio.com.