Many software solutions for chemical regulation compliance consist primarily of alerts . Alerts are important, but it isn’t just about the deadlines. Project management software is a better choice.
In working with chemical companies, we’ve seen some problems in the making:
- Information silos — one individual has information on a particular issue and others can’t access it easily.
- Important information gets buried in email threads or in streams in productivity tools like Slack or Basecamp — the information is there somewhere, but finding it is difficult.
- Documents are referenced… but where are they? Sometimes they’re in a desktop or physical file, and it can take days of emails and searches to find the original.
- Security concerns limit access in counter-productive ways… or too little awareness of security requirements leads to vulnerabilities.
Project management software must allow and facilitate project planning, task assignment, and tracking of the entire task. When the people involved in the project are distributed across the country or globally — which is often the case for chemical regulatory compliance — software tools are essential for managing the additional complexity inherent in that situation.
EUPHOR, our chemical compliance project management software, has a user-friendly dashboard that provides an at-a-glance overview of the project at any time.
Virtual collaboration and communication tools are a must. Unfortunately, this is one of the most common points of failure for project management software. If the tools for the project aren’t easy and comfortable to use, team members may resist using them. Especially when people in different companies or different countries are involved, there can be a pull to stick with current communication tools — including phone calls or in-house messaging systems.
The communication and collaboration system you implement has to demonstrate its value to the people who are required to use it. Otherwise, it’s hard to get people on board… and you’re back to information silos.
That means simply that the tools provided must work well.
Try out EUPHOR and see how project management software can make a difference for your team. EUPHOR is robust project management software specifically designed for chemical regulatory compliance.
REACH2018, along with other chemical regulatory initiatives, requires more than just your company’s assurances that you’re meeting requirements to comply with regulations. You are also responsible for everyone along your supply chain.
That’s a lot to ask.
Supply chain challenges
You may be facing any or all of these challenges when it comes to supply chain communication:
- Multiple vendors, manufacturers, and logistics providers
- Multiple languages spoken by different supply chain partners
- Delegation of work by “managers” along the supply chain
- Time zone differences affecting ease of communication
- Cultural and legal variations affecting the perception of priorities
- Incompatible technologies
Some vendors in your supply chain may be in your SIEF for a given substance, while others don’t reach the volume requirements and are not required to register substances. You may be working with some suppliers under older contracts which don’t include requirements that are spelled out in your current contracts. Communication with particular supply chain partners may be handled by a particular individual in your organization, causing information silos that may be longstanding and hard to alter.
Especially if you’ve been dealing with these challenges by making small changes here and there, you can easily end up with a Frankenstein’s monster of a communication system. As long as some people are using an app and others are using emails and another group rely on phone calls, you have no chance of getting your data under control.
The essential steps for getting your supply chain communication under control:
- Choose a single compliance tracking tool. As long as you’re relying on multiple tools with data housed in multiple locations (maybe including people’s memories), you can’t control your data.
- Gather data all along the supply chain. While you may have different kinds of information from different partners, consolidating it in one place makes it easier to manage. Make sure that the compliance management tool you choose has the flexibility you need to store and search all the types of data and documents you need to wrangle.
- Identify silos and gaps. Take the time to find cases where multiple data sources don’t match, information can’t be confirmed, or data is simply missing. Detail a team member to track down and fix the gaps.
- Commit to using your chosen compliance tracking tool consistently. It can be tough to get everyone to buy in to a new tool. Choosing a compliance management solution that clearly saves time and makes life easier can make all the difference. Make sure the user interface is intuitive and easy, and consider using a dashboard to make it easy for all users to see next steps.
We believe that EUPHOR is the most comprehensive and user-friendly chemical regulatory compliance solution. Schedule a demo and see if you agree.
Executive dashboard interface giving you an instant 360 view of the status of your chemical compliance program
In a recent presentation, ECHA Director of Registration Christel Musset outlined the essential steps in achieving REACH compliance by the deadline. She also warned SMEs about accepting poor quality data being peddled online, and mentioned problems SMEs are having with registration, including trouble in collaboration with SIEFs, inadequate communication within supply chains, and limited feedback from downstream users. It’s clear that European chemical compliance regulations were written with larger corporations in mind, she acknowledged.
We can’t avoid noticing that many companies, large and small, are dealing with challenges during the chemical compliance management process. We believe that a great dashboard is part of the solution.
What are those essential steps?
Every company that needs to register substances for REACH 2018 must accomplish seven steps before the deadline, Musset explained. These are the essential steps:
- know their portfolio
- find co-registrants
- share data
- assess hazards and risks
- prepare dossiers
- submit registrations
- keep dossiers up to date
Preparing dossiers requires specialized software called REACH-IT. The top tip for making the preparation of dossiers smooth and successful is to have all the necessary information on hand.
We often see companies trying to keep track of data and collaboration with spreadsheets, email threads, smartphone apps, Post-It notes, physical files, and combinations of all these items. Sometimes individuals are using a variety of different tools and other times different individuals choose different tools. It’s not unusual to see stakeholders along the supply chain using their own in-house productivity tools, while individuals go with their favorite tech devices. This naturally leads to silos of information, with no single individual having access to or awareness of all the information.
Under these circumstances, it’s obviously very difficult to have all the necessary information on hand when it’s time to prepare the dossiers. And since it is in the nature of multiple information streams to become less organized and harmonized over time, keeping dossiers up to date can seem like an insurmountable requirement.
Dashboard to the rescue
Your EUPHOR dashboard shows you at a glance where all your projects are. On the right, you can see the current status of each project. Being able to check that information quickly allows you to answer questions as they arise, instead of having to wait to find the person with the knowledge and wait further to get the information.
On the left, simple visualizations show you instantly whether you’re on time and under budget… or not. You can deploy your time and other resources where they’re needed. That’s an automatic reduction of time and expense.
Schedule a demonstration of EUPHOR today and see how a smart dashboard can transform your chemical compliance project management.
Chemical compliance solutions come in a number of different flavors. Some alert you to new substance reports, others allow you to track substances of high concern through your supply chain. EUPHOR provides full chemical compliance project management to get you to global compliance. But when you’re trying to choose the best option for your company, there’s one question that can be decided before you start making comparisons within the software’s features: on-premise or web-based?
This questions affects chemists, project managers, decisions makers, and support staff, so it makes sense to consider the options early in your decision-making process. EUPHOR is available either as a web-based solution, or as an on-premise solution.
On-premise solutions are installed on one or more desktop computers in your offices or on a mobile device for members of your team who need to use a laptop or tablet more often than a desktop machine. However, each instance of the software is separate from the others. If your project manager wants to check on alerts, he will need to go to his computer to do so. If a chemist wants to upload a file, she will need to go to a device that has the software installed and upload the file — and the file will be on that device only, not on all the computers with that software installed.
Many facilities prefer premise-based solutions, because they allow you to stay in control of access. Your data stays in your IT system, and users must have physical access to your computers to access your data.
Web-based solutions, also called cloud-based, are different from on-premise solutions, because every authorized user can access the same information at any time. Alerts show for everyone who logs in, on any device with internet access. Files are available to all authorized users, wherever they are. Reports can be uploaded and accessed by all authorized users on any device, at any time.
That means that project management can be handled from the solution dashboard. It doesn’t require your project manager to track down all the data silos and check in with everyone. Files can be uploaded by the people in the field, whether that’s a chemist at a workstation in your lab or a remote worker testing somewhere along your supply chain with a mobile device. Time zones don’t matter, because the software is always in sync.
On the other hand, data can be accessed by anyone with log-in credentials, even if they don’t have access to your facility.
Some people feel more confident with on-premise solutions because they worry about security. Security is a valid concern, but on-premise software is not always more secure than web-based software.
The most common source of security breaches is not an online attack. It’s the worker who leaves the door open and the computer on when he goes to lunch. It’s the receptionist who trustingly gives information over the phone. It could even be you, if you keep your passwords on a sticky note on the corner of your monitor. For both on-premise and web-based solutions, security issues are most often the result of human error, not of hacker masterminds.
On-premise solutions could theoretically have world-class security, if your company has world-class security. For most SMBs, world-class security is not a practical option. Frank Gillett of Forrester Research put it like this: “Using cloud services means that your data is better protected than if most of us tried to manage it on our own…Large-scale services are all much better than we are at avoiding data loss from gear failure, keeping software up to date, upgrading hardware, and constantly improving security.”
Bottom line: Security issues for on-premise and web-based solutions are about the same. The big question is whether you are prepared to take full responsibility for the security issues, or if you’d prefer to leave that worry to the software company you choose to work with.
Benefits of web-based software and on-premise software
Web-based solutions are typically faster to implement, require less up-front investment, and offer at least the same level of security as on-premise options. On-premise solutions give you complete control and may be more cost-effective over time, depending on the specific software solution you’re considering.
EUPHOR believes in giving clients the choice between cloud-based or on-premise solutions. We’ll be happy to discuss your specific needs with you and help you implement either form of EUPHOR’s compliance management solutions.
Consider EUPHOR to streamline and empower your global compliance projects management. Contact us for a live demo.
One of the challenges in chemical regulation compliance management is simply keeping up with changing regulations. Some chemical regulation compliance management software does nothing but alert you to changes, and that can be a time saver.
But regulatory compliance for chemicals is not the same as for tax law or HIPAA compliance. It is not always just a matter of seeing the new regulations and following a simple protocol.
For REACH compliance, for example, companies are responsible for identifying substances requiring compliance, working with others manufacturing or importing the same substance, preparing joint registrations, and so on. The process is not a question of waiting for a list or update. The burden is on your organization.
Accurate identification of substances is key. There must also be a plan for testing and data allowing determination of risks to human beings or to the environment. Collaboration is required, and registration may require risk management plans if the substances in question are already identified as “of concern.”
In other words, the process is complicated. It makes sense that it should be complicated. The stakes are high, and getting things right is extremely important in the context of chemical management. That’s why it’s not enough just to be aware of regulatory changes.
EUPHOR chemical compliance management solution is different. It provides a project management component that helps you keep up on the entire process from start to finish using a single, central platform. A user-friendly dashboard lets everyone involved see the process. The clear visual presentation makes it easy to see at a glance what’s on track and the next action steps required. Automated workflow generation based on current regulations or on your own plans keeps the process as simple as possible and keeps you in the loop.
EUPHOR also makes it easy to upload, store, and share data. This feature allows you to keep all the information together and readily accessible. Other key features include automatic alerts and reminders, pre-generated queries, an so much more. To find our more, tour the product and see how Euphor can make a difference for you.