Change is constantly occurring across industries. This can be a change in staffing, management theory, equipment, or regulations. No matter what kind of change is happening at your company, change isn’t easy. And many environmental, health, and safety (EHS) professionals are left to manage key aspects of this process to ensure that safety and regulatory compliance are maintained. So, how can Management of Change software aid this process?
In order to answer this question, a better understanding of management of change (MoC) is necessary. In this article, we’ll take a deeper dive into Management of Change, evaluate how Management of Change software can aid EHS professionals, and look at a real-life example of Management of Change software in a lab and hospital setting. This article will answer the following questions:
- What is Management of Change?
- How does Management of Change software centralize and standardize processes?
- How does Management of Change software simplify the approval processes?
- How is Management of Change software used in a lab or hospital setting?
What is Management of Change?
At its simplest, Management of Change is a process that ensures changes are properly reviewed before they are implemented to avoid, minimize, or mitigate key environmental, health, and safety risks. It also ensures that people within an organization who have to adopt these procedural changes are properly trained before and after the changes are made. Generally, Management of Change processes cover new technology, equipment, employees, and regulations. Once management decides on a change, it is crucial to begin a top-down approach and ensure the change is managed effectively and according to all environmental, health, and safety regulations.
Throughout this change, regulatory compliance must be maintained. In any change management situation, there are competing priorities. Such as implementing the change on time and on budget, providing training, and effectively communicating changes within the organization. All of which can make the Management of Change process challenging when managed using spreadsheets, homegrown solutions, and/or email chains.
This is where management of change software becomes the best tool an organization can utilize. These solutions centralize and standardize the change management process. While the processes will differ from industry to industry, the overall goals remain the same: employee safety, efficient implementation, and risk mitigation.
How Software Can Help the Management of Change Process
Management of Change software centralizes and standardizes processes and simplifies the approval process from the shop floor to the C-suite. Let’s take a look at how this process works.
- First, the change is entered into the application.
- Second, in accordance with EHS processes, potential risks are assessed and addressed before equipment is ordered. This level of review ensures that unapproved equipment is not ordered, which will save the company a lot of aggravation and money. Within the application, all of the requisite forms are automated. Which means they can be filled out, filed immediately, and sent for the necessary reviews and approvals.
- Third, operations and the EHS team assess the regulatory demands of the new piece of equipment and determine if new permits are needed and/or additional employee training is required. This step helps identify and avoid, minimize, or further mitigate risks.
Planning & Training Phase
- Fourth, perceived risks are explored and mitigated through the formation of action plans that are managed by health and safety workers and administered through the system. All of this is occurring before the change happens.
- Fifth, training programs are created to ensure that employees are trained on how to use the new equipment in the lab setting, monitor it for failure, and perform routine maintenance.
- Lastly, automated notifications and reminders are put into place throughout the entire Management of Change process. This keeps the approval process moving forward, which will shorten the time frame it takes to implement changes. Reminders also help to ensure employees have completed any required training, all risks have been identified reviewed and mitigated, and management have reviewed and approved all items related to the change request.
In theory, this is all pretty straightforward but in practice it is much more complex. The key is people: they must be active participants in the process and have an environment where communication is transparent. Software solutions will improve this process but, having a company culture that embraces the technology is crucial to making the process work.
Management of Change Software in a Lab Setting
The pace of technological advancements within the healthcare sector, especially pharmaceutical manufacturers, is leading to a shift in the production of life-saving drugs. But new equipment means room for error if employees are not properly trained, or they are resistant to the change. Let’s take a look at how Management of Change software could be utilized for the introduction of a new piece of lab equipment: collaborative robots or ‘cobots’.
The first step in the action plan would be the formation of the change itself. Before a piece of new tech, such as a cobot, is introduced or ordered, the EHS team must assess the potential risks that could occur with this new piece of equipment. Various risk assessments must be conducted on the introduction of this new technology within the lab setting in order to identify the risks that have to be mitigated. It is important that before the cobot is ordered that regulatory measures are met or adjusted for, an action plan is created to address any and all potential risks, and the necessary training modules are developed.
Once the lab knows that cobots are going to be introduced into the lab, safety training must be provided to employees who will be working and interacting with them. Compliance management software can also be used in conjunction with Management of Change to ensure that all regulations and EHS requirements are identified and included in the action plan. Once this is in place, then the cobots can be ordered and installed, and training with the new pieces of equipment can proceed.
Training will be required for any employee who will use and maintain the cobots, or be present in the lab to ensure that they know what to do if there is an event or accident. To ensure that risk is managed and mitigated, training can be delivered through the software solution or through your company learning management system (LMS) and an automated record of completion can be sent to the Management of Change solution to note who has and hasn’t taken the required training courses. Before the cobots even arrive, employees should embark on an extensive training program to understand all of the risks they may pose, such as dropped contaminants and improper handling of tools. Anything that could go wrong needs to be planned for, even if it seems unlikely. Remember, training is designed to help to avoid, minimize, and mitigate known risks.
Training, regulatory reviews, and related documentation associated with the equipment can be stored directly in the software, which provides users with a ‘single source of truth’ that can be used for internal and external audit reviews, regulatory reporting, and continuous improvement projects. The entire training and safety process should be assessed on an ongoing basis as the change is implemented. Further, safety equipment may need to be purchased and understanding the mechanisms involved with the new cobots may also require hands-on training. Cobots are designed to make tasks easier and eliminate human errors, proper training ensures that they are used at an optimal level.
Documentation and Compliance
Leveraging a Management of Change solution to centralize and standardize the entire change management process has tremendous benefits to a company. By using a Management of Change solution, you can manage and monitor changes on a continual basis and measure the value of your change management program. If it becomes clear that the change is not being implemented as smoothly as possible then this can be addressed and updated within the system for further study. Everyone wants to prevent errors that can lead to incidents, and the best way to do this is through the standardization of processes.
Management of change is crucial within every industry, from energy generation to pharmaceuticals. The practices used by both may be different, but the end result is the same: that the change is implemented efficiently, effectively, and in accordance with regulations. Leveraging software solutions that centralize and standardize the change process from beginning to end will help ensure these goals are met.