The system that stores the rules, regulations and work practices recommended to be followed by all employees is often so cumbersome and complicated that it makes a mockery of the phrase ‘people are our greatest asset’.
While other disciplines benefit from technology solutions such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software to support smarter working and the removal of mundane form filling and paper shuffling, the lack of similar investment in the QHSE area is retarding company performance.
Specialist applications for auditing, inspections & risk assessments certainly aid the functional managers, however the content that the workforce requires tends to be stored in the Document Management System. This structure is now seen by many professionals as inflexible and fails to cope with today’s demands regarding process improvement, minimising risks and maintaining compliance across the organisation.
The downside of the traditional document-centric approach includes issues such as poor visibility of individual responsibilities, lack of awareness of operational risk and staggering levels of duplication as each department manages their own area of compliance with little visibility of other areas. For example, as the Data Protection regulation GDPR is relevant to all personnel, how will this be incorporated to ensure all processes completed by users properly reflect new compliance requirements?
Compliance is often seen as somebody else’s problem however the price of not following their process can be significant as British Airways and Marriott Hotel Group realised recently by being fined a collective £300m for not protecting people’s personal information. While the draconian fines have now focused the minds of senior management across every sector, there is an opportunity to structure all compliance obligations together through one integrated system that uses process at its core.
So what’s the answer?
Where the excessive cost of workflow offered by ERP applications prevented the small to medium companies from automating process and realise the cost benefits, there is now a hybrid, alternative option that offers the stability of document management with visual process maps to ease understanding, and a workflow tool to automate regularly performed processes.
With the new `tech-savvy` generation taking control as the `old school` move on, a new integrated, process-based system will remove resource-heavy paper based work practices with a streamlined workflow that reduces the draw on people’s time thereby increasing efficiency.
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