Blog by Peter Bussey, Sr. Director, Solution Marketing- Sustainable Operations

Product safety and compliance standards will become more, not less, demanding over time. Manufacturers who aim to stay ahead need  to operationalize compliance.

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The “stick” of Product Safety and Stewardship is well known – non-compliance can lead to regulatory sanctions and loss of revenue. But we often  overlook the “carrot” – the competitive advantage it can bring.

In the world of Environment, Health and Safety solutions, there are two main types of people – technologists who moved into EHS, and EHS professionals who found themselves working with technology. I am definitely an “EHS guy”.

And, with that experience, I can say with confidence that things used to be a whole lot simpler. When I started out, “compliance reporting” meant paper in filing cabinets – locked away until a regulatory body requested them.

The different dimensions  of sustainability in the product lifecycle

The greater complexity of modern compliance does not change the key elements of successful product stewardship. We capture these in the phrase sustainable innovation – and both words matter.

Sustainability, naturally, refers to environmental sustainability, but also to the capacity for a product to be sustainable in the marketplace – both meeting needs today and adaptable to the needs of tomorrow.

Responsive manufacturing enables manufacturers to respond rapidly to changes in customer requirements, regulations, or other market signals. Operational excellence drives continuous improvement in every area involved in making and using a product – safety, energy consumption, asset management, and quality.

     The preventative case for product safety and stewardship is clear – no business wants to deal with safety issues, regulatory violations or product recalls. However, done successfully, and with vision, costs and, crucially, the time taken to deliver safe, compliant products to market can be cut.

   

The right answers to tough questions

Fortunately, while product safety has become more complex, the tools available to address it have also grown in power.

Modern product stewardship features tight integration with a company’s systems, able not only to reduce the cost of compliance, but to predict and manage risks across the whole value chain.  The capability of SAP solutions to integrate product compliance with core business systems and enable collaboration is clearly a vital advantage.

In a connected age, real time access to the latest regulations – global, national and local – empowers systems not just to identify when a product does not comply, but to alert producers to changes in regulations, and how they will affect the development cycle, as they happen.

And SAP’s cloud-based Product Safety and Stewardship solutions enable collaboration not just within an enterprise, but withother players in the extended supply chain, providing both transparency – a complete understanding of costs and compliance risks – and security –protecting confidential information.

Reaching for success

Varian Medical Systems, a global maker and distributor of medical equipment based in the US, has embarked on a process to ensure ongoing compliance with REACH and RoHS regulations – a necessity to safeguard their European business.

    With 2000 anticipated engineering changes to  be made, a solid software platform was vital. SAP’s solution, combining ProductSafety and Stewardship and Product Lifecycle Management, will enable Varian tomeet requirements and reduce the time it takes to implement engineering changes from 18 days to 5.

Watch the video.

   

This shorter time between concept and execution is a vital part of the competitive advantage of operationalized compliance. Companies need to be able to innovate quickly. They also need to be sure that their innovations will be manufactured, packaged, labelled, shipped and sold with safety and compliance built into and throughout the entire process.

To learn more about SAP’s capabilities for turning compliance into competitive advantage, click here. To focus on SAP EHS Management, and how it helps businesses to go beyond compliance, click here. Or explore about SAP’s Corporate Strategy and Sustainability solutions –including Product Safety and Stewardship – with the SAP Solution Explorer.

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