The chemical industry is one of the most highly regulated, with federal and global mandates dictating specific processes and monitoring to ensure worker and public safety. Failure to comply with the wide range of applicable regulations can have costly ramifications for chemical makers.
Choosing an enterprise resource planning (ERP) tool that’s specific to the chemical industry can help reduce the risk of failing to comply while ensuring that audit trails, reporting, and automated controls are in place. A look at the functionality that many ERPs offer makes it clear why regulatory compliance is easier with chemical industry ERP.
As seen in the recent post, Why Chemical Businesses Should Choose an Industry-Specific ERP, regulation is one of the key factors driving more businesses to eschew generic ERP solutions in favor of one that has key functionality that’s critical to chemical companies.
A quick glimpse at the vastness of regulation affecting the chemical industry shows why industry-specific tools are a must. In the U.S. alone, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) monitors spills, emissions, exposures, and releases. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) tracks worker health and safety in the workplace. The Department of Transportation (DOT) governs the transportation and storage of materials, ingredients and finished products.
The EPA also manages hazardous waste regulations and the use of fungicides, insecticides or rodenticides used or made. If the chemical company is using food or drugs, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) may also be involved. That’s just the domestic alphabet soup. A litany of international and state regulations may also apply. Among the most notable are the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemical Substances (REACH) guidelines, which govern companies doing business in the European Union.
With so many agencies involved, the challenge comes in having a solution that allows for efficient production and sound regulatory compliance. That’s where your company needs enterprise resource planning software that has features that allow for accurate response to regulatory requirements. Without an industry-specific solution, companies are likely to face expensive third-party workarounds that try to address the critical needs.
Chemical Industry Specifics
Your ERP solution needs to address key factors that affect compliance within the chemical industry. They include:
- Formula Management. ERP features need to include formula and recipe management tracking and storage, unit-of-measure conversions, the use of substitutions, and the ability to scale formulas accordingly to meet demand and facility scheduling.
- Quality Control. The system should support, track, and automate quality control functionality. Quality tests on incoming purchases, standing inventory and finished products need to be easily scheduled and results tracked. Workflow management needs to track materials from warehouse to operational units, with easy tracking of lots and batches.
- Inventory Management. Waste and rework are major cost centers for many chemical companies. Your ERP should be able to track lot and serial numbers, grade, container, disposition and shelf life attributes.
- Material Safety Sheets. Detailed sheets on each material being used should be stored, tracked, and accessible by all employees to ensure that known qualities and reactions are well understood.
At NexTec, we help companies determine the right ERP solution for their unique needs. Contact us to see how NexTec can improve the selection and implementation of your industry-specific ERP.