Several executives from UL EHS Sustainability attended the recent EH&S Summit hosted by the independent industry analyst firm Verdantix. They provided a number of key takeaways about the state of the industry in 2018.
Companies, especially those in high risk industries like oil and gas, chemicals, and manufacturing, are beginning to look for integrated solutions that cover multiple aspects of EHS, sustainability, occupational health, quality, risk, and chemical management in a single system. Risk, in particular, is an emerging area of concern, particularly for larger enterprises., and informs software vendor decisions for most customers. Managing operational risk is a particular focus within supply chains. Large and complex supply chains are difficult to manage without transparency into vendor and subcontractor operations.
Most businesses are looking for longer term partners in EHS software. Purchases tend to be infrequent and large for the petro-chemical firms, which makes changing platforms an onerous proposition. When companies do buy, they prefer to use consultants and systems integration experts for guidance. Larger customers generally choose vendors whose software platforms can be implemented through third parties such as ERM or Accenture. Software vendors need to offer a large platform that is flexible, easy-to-implement, and upgraded with new offerings regularly. UL is working to address this need through its new PURE Sustainability Essentials bundle (see more here). Further, they insist on mobile applications and are interested in innovative technologies such as wearable monitors and augmented reality training.
Predictive analytics remain a focus for companies, even though concrete solutions remain several years away. Most clients have access to an abundance of data now but are struggling to make sense of the data and using it to effect organizational change.
Finally, most of the clients who attended the event use Verdantix for guidance on the selection process. They know the strengths and weaknesses of vendors such as UL and as such, are a trusted source for non-biased information.