Environmental management software is used by large corporations to improve their performance on environmental issues through a systematic approach to tracking current activity levels, defining environmental policies, and tracking the effectiveness of these policies in meeting organizational goals. This type of software is typically found in manufacturing firms, as they have the greatest amount of legislation surrounding environmental issue management. The changing political climate surrounding the environment has increased the profile of this issue and has resulted in the development of sophisticated software products to manage this process.
The demand for environmental management software has expanded significantly in the past 10 to 15 years. This is due to the increased popularity of environmental protectionism in the general culture. For most manufacturing firms, there is a significant amount of administrative work required to ensure compliance, measure the effectiveness of the various strategies, and provide accurate reports as required.
There are three primary areas of focus included in all environmental management software solutions: emergency response, maintenance and measurement, and permits. For many large companies, this software shares information with the enterprise resource planning (ERP) system used to manage the business. Compliance is essentially a legal issue, and firms need to be able to provide proof of their efforts to comply with environmental laws.
Emergency response is the most important aspect of environmental management software products. A well-developed emergency plan is an essential part of any environmental management project. The software provides a series of tools to assist in the development, distribution, and maintenance of the plan. All aspects of the operation must be involved in this process, and it may require considerable time and effort to coordinate. An annual test of this system is the best way to determine if the process is working and well understood by staff.
Data is updated into the maintenance and management section to report metrics, results of inspections, process standards, and more. This is the most active of all the modules, as it must be updated on an ongoing basis with data from the operation. Review the different sections with care and set up the appropriate maintenance reminders to ensure that data is updated on a regular basis.
The permits section is used to track inspections by various agencies, reports, the actual permits, and any other related items. This section must be kept up to date with valid permits to be in compliance with state and federal laws. Typically, reports and email reminders are used to keep this section current and in compliance with regulations.