As climate change, water scarcity and harmful air emissions become issues of increasing importance for world governments and organizations, major companies have begun to take action and make them top strategic and social priorities.
Environmental permits and requirements are at the center of these business processes as they allow companies to operate when the environment is being impacted.
Massive quantities of unclassified, unorganized authorizations and failing to be in compliance with such permits or regulations can give companies headaches as they are likely to incur in major fines from local, national and sometimes international entities or agencies. Also, companies may lose operating privileges which may lead to even more substancial financial losses.
To address these issues, SAP Environmental Compliance 3.0 offers a comprehensive, user-friendly permit management functionality which allows users to freely register all kinds of permits and legal requirements in a central organized repository.
The following is an overview of EC’s main structure for managing permits, the Permit Hierarchy.
SAP EC has the following simple, hierarchical structure for registering permits and requirements:
The Authority object represents the legal entity or agency that issues or grants the permit to the operating company.
The Permit object represents any kind of authorization granted by an entity so that the company or business can operate.
Requirement sets as the name implies are a grouping of requirements. Basically they are used to group obligations or demands established within a permit or regulation. (water/air quality obligations, noise level regulations, reporting requirements, etc.)
The Requirement object is a duty, obligation, responsibility or pre-requisite that a company has to carry out in order to be in compliance with a permit.
In this sense, requirements are tasks that have to be executed to be carried out. Conveniently, EC offers a Task object that can be linked to said requirements in order to manage them efficiently and with traceability.
Each Task object enables users to define assignees, owners and approvers if necessary. They also allow for setting up dates and notification emails for threshold levels (e.g. Task must be completed in 30 days, task becomes critical when 5 days remain for its deadline).
Along with these these functionalities, tasks can be set up to be recurrent in cases that a requirement must be met periodically (daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, etc.).
In some cases, requirements may have an enforced limit value for measurement, consumption or emission data associated with the operation of a specific equipment or facility. For theses cases a Limit Check can be associated with this requirement and can be used to monitor any parameter value that exceeds the established limit in the regulation.
This is a very useful functionality that helps keep companies in compliance as EC can trigger exceptions and alert users to take action whenever deviations occur. Automatic limit checks can also be set up with simple job configuration.
It’s also worth saying, that for all these objects, attachments are available, so linking them with their digitized counterpart (PDFs, ZIP files, Word, JPEGs, etc.), also aids in keeping an accessible and comprehensive permit database.
Through dashboards available, each user can easily view in real-time “open” or “behind-schedule” tasks and exceptions that require their attention. This guarantees a good tracking of critical activities and reduces the possibility of being non-compliant.
In summary, SAP EC 3.0 is a great option for companies who are seeking to organize their environmental permits and legal requirements and want real time visibility of the validity and compliance of their obligations.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments.