Adapting to the changing business and consumer demands keeps firms at the forefront. Leaders need to adapt to digital tools to enhance their businesses. These digital transformations include supporting workforce models, simplifying customer interactions, and automating operations.
But when it comes to enhancing and maintaining safety standards, digitalization still is a thinkable issue. Leaders’ approach toward digitalizing safety in the workplace is not a priority. Now the question arises- ‘Why’?
In 2019, OSHA issued 1743 machine safeguarding violations.
Now imagine if you have an automated process to keep the machine maintenance in check. This software informs you about the time of maintenance or any malfunctioning in the machine. The application is also mobile-friendly. So when a worker notices anything unusual, they can click the picture and immediately escalate the issue.
Sounds so simple, right? The numbers given by OSHA regarding machine violations may be reduced with the proper use of technology. Hence, it would be a powerful choice for leaders to replace their manual EHS system with the software.
But again, there are so many options out there, so how do you decide which suits you the best. Should you go with an off-the-shelf solution or custom-made software?
So, to help you make the right decision, this article will walk through the advantages and disadvantages of each approach.
Primary Difference Between Off-the-Shelf & Custom EHS Software
Off-the-Shelf software is a pre-designed EHS software. It incorporates mainly the essential modules required to run and maintain organizational environmental health and safety operations. It improves worker safety, compliance management, incident management, root cause analysis, etc.
The off-the-shelf is an affordable solution. It is developed and designed for generic use by considering all the safety aspects according to the industry needs. To adopt this type of solution, you need to make changes to your existing system.
Custom EHS software is designed while keeping in mind the organization’s objective, work, size, and required safety needs. The software development team works closely with the safety departments and develops the software precisely according to their needs. At every step, the demands of the organization are met.
The teams collaborate and work with stakeholders to determine objectives and define the scope of development that includes hierarchies, workflows, forms, reporting requirements, referential documents, etc.
It cost slightly higher than the off-the-shelf software but is scalable according to the organization’s safety requirements. The safety team must be accurate and detailed in providing its safety demands for the best precision in developing the software.
Comparison Between Custom and Off-the-Shelf EHS Software
Both the software types have their pros and cons. The choice depends on your budget and the safety complexities of the organization.
Advantages of EHS Off-the-Shelf Software
To begin with, setting up dashboards, analyzing data, and configuring and distributing reports is a seamless experience in readymade software. Generally, this software is integrated with mobile-app capabilities.
It is affordable and easy to use, and the best part is that it is reinvented regularly. EHS software developers ensure that the latest and bare minimum safety features are incorporated into the software over the years.
So if you have an organization with limited employees, you may have minimal EHS requirements. With this combination, off-the-shelf software is the best choice for you.
To sum up;
- Quick Implementation
- Low upfront cost
- Suitable for start-ups and small scale organizations
Disadvantages of EHS Off-the-Shelf Software
The most significant disadvantage of the off-the-shelf software is that you have to adapt according to it. There is minimal customization available. And if your business is expanding exponentially, the software will outgrow your business sooner than you thought. Also, there may be features that you do not require but still exist in the system.
Your organization will need to arrange its EHS needs according to the off-the-shelf system. Also, you will need a dedicated person to understand the software’s working and modify your safety system according to it.
To sum up;
- Little or no customization
- Will outgrow quickly
- Fewer integration options
- You need to adapt to software rather than software adopt your needs
Advantages of EHS Custom Software
The best thing about custom software is that it adapts according to your organization’s needs. It is a perfect scalable solution. A custom EHS software promises a more prominent, longer-term ROI.
Different locations have distinct safety rules. Also, the safety standard varies from industry to industry. Therefore, custom safety software is best for you when your organization is an amalgamation of various sectors and spread across locations.
A custom solution provides specific, relevant, and exclusive safety solutions. The tailor-made software seamlessly integrates into your system and amplifies the safety practices.
To sum up;
- Totally customizable
- 360-degree flexibility
- Larger long term ROI
- More integration options
Disadvantages of EHS Custom Software
Custom software is developed entirely for you; hence it is valuable. Therefore if your software wants are “different,” you should be prepared for a higher upfront investment.
Custom software requires safety team/member to explain its needs to the developing team. The demands must be precise, accurate, and exactly fit the requirements. Your safety team will create a mold, and the software expert will develop a product/solution according to the mold.
It is best for a large organization with multiple domains and an amalgamation of various sectors.
To sum up;
- Higher investment in terms of workforce, finances, and time
- Precise and accurate definition of needs and objectives
A hybrid solution is the one that has the main framework of the readymade software with added features of the custom software. These features can be added or removed according to your business needs. It would be good to consider this solution when all you need is the best of both worlds.
This solution works the best for a medium to the large-sized enterprise. It still costs higher than the off-the-shelf software but less than the entire custom approach. This flexible approach provides the right balance of cost and innovation.
This may be the best solution if you are in the build or buy dilemma. All you need is an experienced EHS software developer who knows the safety domain accurately. This will help you to save a lot of time and resources. The bonus feature will be that the experts can assist you in designing the best solution with minimal effort and explanations.
Why Choosing the Right Software Approach Matters
The type of software you choose highly depends on your demands and the kind of organization. The right software and good communication can do wonders for an organization’s safety.
Remember, ultimately, you are the one to decide the best approach to safety software while exploring its opportunities and limitations.