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Blog March 2023

Breaking down OHS silos: the efficient waste & recycling company

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Lara van Rijswijk

Head of Marketing EMEA & ANZ

What exactly does it mean to work in silos?

When different departments work within their own bubbles, they’re working in silos. Rather than seeing the bigger picture and working towards the same goal, departments focus on what’s directly under their nose. Information becomes trapped, instead of flowing between different areas of the business. 

Actions are needlessly duplicated which, of course, has financial repercussions. The ability to react to situations with agility is impossible. Resources are wasted and opportunities are lost. 

Working in silos is self-defeating, holding waste & recycling companies back from productivity and efficiency gains. 

There are different types of silos. What we’ve just described is organisational silos, which typically include information silos. There are also mental silos, which are insular ways of thinking. The person who works in mental silos makes decisions based on assumptions, never examining what’s actually happening. This is habit, which can make it harder to break free of.

Silos operating within silos

Keeping processes siloed is also common. This typically results from working with paper-based processes or a mix of paper and perhaps a web-based platform. 

EHS processes are the most common example of this disjointed way of working. A company’s OSH manager might keep a record in one location of who holds what qualifications, and when those qualifications expire. In another place, they keep training instructions, which might be different from instructions at another site. There’s no continuity in risk assessments.

An overview of compliance is too time consuming, if not outright impossible, to determine. And how are you supposed to spot non-conformities when you have to shuffle between papers, emails and platforms?

The affect on productivity

Manual data collection for any company in any industry is tedious. The results of one U.S. study should feel familiar to waste and recycling companies here in the UK and indeed around the world: employees waste 5.3 hours each week waiting for data requested of co-workers, or recreating information that already exists within the company.

The interruption of workflows drags on productivity. Working in silos is simply an incredibly inefficient way to work. For matters concerning OSH, it’s even dangerous for workers. It also puts additional strain on the person managing health and safety, interfering with their productivity. For example, the time to perform manual processes involved, such as risk assessments, could be better spent on other tasks. There is simply no reason to still work manually.

What a digital tool could mean for you   

Digitalization reduces risks and compliance costs and improves efficiencies. It does this by streamlining and/or eliminating time-consuming processes and administrative tasks. Through digitalization, enforcing OHS guidelines and reporting no longer suck the life out of your productivity.  

And when you’re more efficient, you’re able to lower operating costs, stop revenue leakage, see and act on opportunities with agility, and improve performance and customer satisfaction. 

All of your data, that is, all of your information, is standardized, and automated, accessible to all relevant stakeholders. This is what it means to break down silos, where one hand doesn’t know what the other hand is doing. 

For example, if an action is non-compliant according to regulatory health and safety standards, a digital tool can inform you right away. A digital solution can help you improve how you manage risk across the business – and thus, improve safety performance – and help you do it far more efficiently than ever before. 

How would EHS software work?

A best-in-class solution operates on the cloud. It unifies all of your processes, providing proof of global and regional compliance. It should be driven by KPIs, which in turn enables actionable insights. 

Think about how you currently work and compare those processes to these:

  1. A dashboard visualizes the components. You can dive into a comprehensive index of the activities and qualifications of personnel. You can organize training across different sites and medical fitness examinations. Create safety instructions for work systems, which can be accessed on different devices by workers on site. 

  1. Health & safety regulations are always updating, but good ESH software lets you know that your business is compliant. Failure to comply can lead to hefty fines, so this is another way to protect your company. ESH Software should also be compliant with data-privacy regulations.

  1. The ideal software makes risk assessments a streamlined process, enabling you to identify and mitigate hazards. You can put in safeguards automatically that better control workflows. Templates let you quickly recreate an assessment and conduct re-evaluations to see results of your proposed changes.

  1. Incident reporting and observations are intuitive. Using a smartphone, tablet or computer, an incident can be reported right away through an interactive interface to ensure consistent and standardized data, which you can make accessible to all relevant stakeholders. This is about a fast and easy user experience, which encourages active reporting. This in turn reinforces a safety culture.

  1. What’s right about current operations? If a process or workflow proves to be efficient, a good cloud-based EHS software let’s you know. If it’s not, you’ll see that, too, with automated notifications and incident classifications. The ability to investigate and learn what went right or wrong can be done based on real-time information to give you an accurate picture of events. 

  1. Evaluation and monitoring become much easier. Complete event reports can be created quickly based on real-time information, across all sites in any region. And because the information is in real-time, so is the intelligence gained. 

Productivity is drained by operating procedures. But when those procedures are efficient, productivity increases. Before you can become more productive, you have to gain efficiencies. One drives the other. 

Why cloud-based software instead of on-premise?

On-premise software has its place, but gaining the efficiencies we’ve described can only be achieved on the cloud. On-premise software only works on the computer where it’s installed. Cloud-based software can be accessed by any relevant party. With an on-premise solution, reporting an incident from the field can not occur in real time. The incident would have to later be entered into an on-premise solution. 

Working this way might solve the problem of information being scattered all over the place, but you’ve not gained much in terms of efficiency or for that matter, productivity. 

Another advantage of working on the cloud is that the EHS software scales with you. There’s no need to buy an entirely new package to install when you’ve outgrown it. It also updates seamlessly, without any interruptions to business. 

This is Quentic EHS Software

We’ve just described Quentic EHS Software to you. Specific to the waste & recycling industry, it accounts for all areas of managing health and safety. This is an enterprise-grade SaaS (software as a service) solution. 

It seamlessly integrates organizational data, users, HR data, competence management and ERP data with EHS data. The result: one version of the truth, available to all the parties concerned. By knocking down silos and operating with full transparency, OSH management becomes an efficient process. 

Another aspect, which we really haven’t addressed: safety culture becomes embedded in the wider culture. HSE has recently launched a campaign addresses safety failures in the waste & recycling industry, so a culture of safety is critical. You can learn more in HSE is targeting the waste & recycling sector – here’s how to build a safety culture

Talk to us today about the efficiencies you can realize with Quentic EHS Software. You can also learn more on the link below. 

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