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Top Trends for EH&S Quality Management in 2014

The top trends in environment, health and safety (EH&S) give you much needed perspective on which direction quality management guidelines will go in 2014. Incorporating EH&S into your quality management system is a seemingly never-ending challenge as this field continues to impact businesses more and more. However, a fresh report by the National Association for Environmental Management (NAEM) gives exactly the perspective you need to ready your organization for EH&S in 2014. Here are the top trends for EH&S quality management in 2014.Top Trends for EH&S Quality Management in 2014_IQS

Compliance and Regulations Remain Top Concerns

It should come as no shock to you that compliance (or lack thereof) remains a top concern in 2014. Specifically, the NAEM’s report “Planning for a Sustainable Future” cites the ever-shifting regulatory landscape as the main culprit. You already understand how important compliance is to the continued success of your organization, and in 2014, this trend will only become more critical. The problem is that you will still have to deal with a veritable explosion of new local, state and federal regulations – not to mention international EH&S mandates, too.

What will make maintaining compliance even more challenging in 2014 is the cluttered menagerie of different mandates. For instance, US companies have to deal with local, state and federal mandates that overlap or conflict with one another far too often. In truth, this situation is only becoming more complex with each new regulation. California, for example, recently passed a cap-and-trade program for greenhouse gas emissions and storm water pollution regulations, as well. The question is: how will these state regulations fit with similar federal standards? In essence, they will not fit very well at all.

Thanks to the gridlock in Washington D.C., states are taking the lead in passing new EH&S regulations. In 2014, you will need to rely on a sound quality management system to remain agile enough to adjust to these changes quickly. Balancing state and federal mandates while ensuring quality gives you more than enough to consider. Your task today is to combat the uncertainty with a robust enterprise quality management system that includes EH&S management at every step in the value chain.

More Focus on EH&S in the Supply Chain

In recent years, improving collaboration with suppliers has been a hot topic in the manufacturing industry worldwide. Today, many organizations essentially shepherd suppliers to ensure consistent quality; this trend will only continue – but with an increased focus on EH&S. As a quality management professional, you understand all-too-well how a mismanaged supply chain can introduce serious risks from a compliance, reputation and financial standpoint.

You should expect your suppliers to increase focus on EH&S moving forward. In fact, suppliers that are not as advanced in EH&S management may need your help to meet quality guidelines. Sharing data and collaborating with suppliers can provide you with a means to begin to include EH&S. The challenge in 2014 will be taking collaboration with suppliers to a new level of integration.

It is no longer good enough to infer EH&S guidelines to suppliers. Today, you have to be very explicit and direct as to which EH&S quality management guidelines you expect from suppliers to mitigate risks. The paradigm of closed-loop quality management brings the supply chain into the fold – and more importantly, under your organization’s guidance. Enterprise quality management software gives you the right set of tools to tear down the invisible walls separating your company and its supply chain to include EH&S.

Meaningful Employee Engagement on the Rise

Fostering a culture around improving quality is arguably one of your greatest challenges. You understand the impact each employee can have on total quality, but communicating this fact remains a tall order, especially in a large enterprise. In essence, employees do not buy-in by simply being told to take EH&S seriously. Much like the trend of including suppliers into the fold, you have to shepherd employees to foster meaningful engagement in 2014.

Education and training will be key moving forward. According to the NAEM, many companies in 2014 are looking to nurture more project ownership with EH&S in mind. Today, quality management extends well beyond the confines of the walls of your “quality department.” From the shop floor to the C-suite, all employees have to appreciate how EH&S affects the organization at large. In fact, improving meaningful employee engagement can actually help companies identify cost savings by being more environmentally efficient in new, creative ways.

The NAEM’s report “”Planning for a Sustainable Future” gives you much needed perspective on EH&S in 2014. Overall, EH&S is only growing in importance, which raises the value of a sound enterprise quality management software.

Building a Sound Quality Management System

Michael Rapaport

Michael Rapaport is the President of IQS, Inc. in Cleveland OH. Michael is responsible for enabling operational excellence across the company as well as building capabilities for IQS’s growth. Vision, strategic planning, and innovation are the cornerstone to Mike’s 30 years of leadership in the technology industry. He is passionate about data visibility and continuous improvement and believes in helping manufacturers save time and money with real technology solutions.

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