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The Business Case for EHS Software

16 April 2024
The Business Case for EHS Software

According to a recent study, inefficient processes, unplanned costs and slight underperformance in workforce productivity, can amount to 25% of the overall costs of a construction project. This clearly has a negative impact on the performance of the business.  

At the same time however, a separate study reports that 80% of businesses use spreadsheets to support critical business functions. What's even more worrying, but hardly surprising, is that 88% of spreadsheets have errors. Excel is fine for individuals in smaller businesses, but when you need collaboration across multiple locations, departments or people then the problems that arise are significant and costly. 

10 Indicators that it's time for your Business to Invest in EHS Software:

  • Preventable Incidents are costing too much money.
  • You're spending too much time on admin including processing paperwork.
  • Inefficient paperwork & processes takes people away from what they are actually supposed to be doing.
  • Reporting is often historic and of less use.
  • Collaboration across departments or locations is not smooth.
  • Collecting and collating high volumes of data are prone to error.
  • Your competitors are more efficient and profitable.
  • You need to recruit additional resources to deal with the paperwork.
  • Your company is growing, and you will need to do more with less.
  • If you have more than 100 people that are likely to be completing inductions, reporting, Inspecting etc.
  • Your competitors are using EHS Software.

4 Real Business Case Benefits:

1) Live Example - Increase in Operational Efficiency Gains

One client has completed 21,877 Online Inductions with us. 

Normally an induction takes 2 hours onsite, but now they are able to complete that induction prior to site commencement.

They must still undergo a 30 min toolbox talk, so the time saving is 1.5 hours per induction. 

This is a massive 32,815 Production hours saved on their sites. 

Effectively managing labour helps solve constructions biggest challenges, such as:

  • Going over time on projects.
  • Going over budget on projects.
  • Reputational damage by being late.

The official OECD GDP per hour worked figure is €140 for Ireland. 

The productivity figure is the figure your staff should be making you instead of doing unnecessary paperwork and processes. In this instance the Efficiency Gained is €4,594,170.

We track this for all the clients on our system, and we have provided Efficiency Gains north of €70M in 3 years.

2) Live Example - Reduces Operational Risk / Faster Reactions Tactically

It's estimated that over 80% of companies struggle to calculate downtime accurately. 

It’s particularly relevant though for critical equipment such as cranes, earth moving equipment etc.

A recent study suggests that most companies in the construction sector expect to experience between 20% and 30% on unplanned downtime on heavy equipment. You should be aiming to 10% or less downtime, but you can only do that if you are able to track downtime. 

It's easy to calculate … unplanned downtime / planned operating time * 100. 

So, if a generator is down for 1 day, and its supposed to be operating 7 days a week, then the downtime is 14%.

Knowing your downtime, allows you to:

  • Implement improved maintenance strategies.
  • Improve training (human error is a major contributor to unplanned downtime).
  • Optimise your operations to account for the fact that you know that certain machines are likely to be down for a certain period.
  • Live data from an EHS Management System allows you to identify risks and trends and act quickly. Imagine being able to bring a machine back into operation as soon as possible because you know once the plant inspection is done that it needs action in real time. Imagine being able to assign corrective actions directly to people in the here and now to prevent further injury, occurrences and loss. 

One client has completed 56,182 Plant Inspections with us. 

Normally an inspection takes 15 min onsite, but now they are able to complete that in half the time. 

In this instance the Efficiency Gained on inefficient paperwork and process alone is €983,185.

But the actual digitising of paperwork and processes is not where the real efficiency gains lie. Effectively managing equipment (just like effectively managing labour) helps again solve constructions biggest challenges, such as:

  • Going over time on projects.
  • Going over budget on projects.
  • Reputational damage by being late.

With hundreds of pieces of plant in equipment the real saving is in their ability to manage this downtime. 

3) Live Example Identify Strategic Projections - Reduce Incident Costs & Hidden Costs 

Average Employer Liability Award (PIAB) was €22,989 in 2022, but in most instances this is covered by insurance companies. So where are the hidden costs:  

  • Administrative Fees. Some reports suggesting that managing claims cost businesses between €2,000 and €6,000 per claim, depending on the severity. This includes complying paperwork, investigating, dealing with legal teams etc.
  • Lost productivity due to absence, replacement, retraining, decreased efficiency, etc. can conservatively cost anything from €3,000 upwards. 
  • Taking person to and from hospital.
  • Making the area safe.
  • Rescheduling work activities.
  • Salary costs including overtime and recruitment costs.
  • Legal fees.
  • Increases in Insurance Premium.
  • Possible damage to property.
  • Possible damage to reputation.

So how can an EHS Management System help? 

Imagine at the flick of a button, being able to extrapolate out what the year end could look like as early as possible, based on your past factual incident rate. 

We have one client that has managed 572 accidents and incidents through the system. The efficiency gains as calculated by using the official OECD figures is €160,160.

However where the real gains came from, was their ability to trend and take corrective action early.

This Client set a target of being able to reduce their incidents by 20%. They were able to target specific root causes due to digitised form filling, and in specific accident hotspot locations based on our GPS based heat mapping. Extrapolating this data allows you to act as quickly as possible (which is the time that you have most opportunity to impact change and actually save money). 

A 20% decrease at an average hidden cost of a conservative €3,000 per incident accounts for an efficiency gain of €343,200 for that business!!

4) Live Example - Improve Compliance through Automated Reminders

We have one construction client that has issued 119,284 automated notifications. That is 119,284 emails that the health and safety team didn't have to write. It is of course not the cost of automating the process that is the greatest benefit to overworked Health & Safety Staff, it is the efficiencies gained through:

  • Subcontractors getting notified that they can't get a permit to work, 30 days prior to the expiry of their insurances, so they must upload the new insurances for approval. 
  • Reminders to subcontractors admin that their employees manual handling is about to expire and they won’t be allowed on site without uploading a new cert for approval. 
  • Tracking, tracing and sending a periodic notification every day on an overdue corrective action, until it is completed or closed. 
  • Weekly “exception” notifications to locations managers of the high risk areas of their location i.e. how many subcontractors are non compliant, how many pieces of plant are not safe to use, how many accidents are awaiting their acceptance, how many audits have they failed and why etc.

3 Additional Tips...

1) Improved productivity from safety department. If you are reducing the time wasted by people, it means that they are also more focused on making the workplace safer. In addition you may take the pressure off of hiring additional resources. EHS is not a threat to your position, it does in fact add to the importance of your role and your department. 

2) Doing it inhouse will not work out in the long term. Specialist businesses have invested millions into their software. Trying to get the IT guy or gal in the corner to spend a couple of hours a week building something will prolong your pain and will fail. The coder will relish the challenge but go for something that is fit for purpose. 

3) In the same vain, don't go for the large generic software providers that claim to do everything from finance to estimating, from inductions to procurement. The reality is that they are NOT all things to all people, and while on the face of it they say yes they can do everything, the reality is that their focus is most likely on finance, operations. Yes they will have a safety module, but in reality they are unlikely to be fit for purpose. Don’t get dragged into using something because it is cheap, or because it is what someone else is using. The familiar is a strong draw, but in our experience it also leads to prolonging the torture. Using specialist EHS Software providers with API connectivity is the way to go for sure. 

In Conclusion

Improved profitability and competitive advantage. Software is no longer nice to have, it makes business sense. If safety software is having real commercial benefits it means that the company is better able to compete in the marketplace, make more money, and sharpen their pencil more when competing on the open market.

dulann are a Compliance Management System that ensures Environmental, Health, Safety & Quality Compliance is as Easy as Booking a Flight!

Book a demo today! 

Damian currently leads dulann, an Irish company based in Wexford, who are market leaders in the provision of EHSQ Software, and the only company in the World that offers EHSQ Software across the Environmental, Health, Safety, Quality, Maintenance, and eLearning sectors. Prior to the last ten years at dulann, Damian has spent many years leading and coaching businesses to develop strategic planning, with the key focus of long term sustainability, performance improvement and succession planning. In addition to a wealth of experience, Damian also holds an MBA, and a first class honours Degree BBS.

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