SAP EHSM & the Food Industry: Enhancing Conformance with Regulatory Obligations

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March 11, 2014 - Erin McVeigh

For the past fifteen years, 3E has worked diligently with our clients and partners to establish and enhance best practices for integrating EH&S regulatory content into the SAP EHS Management (SAP EHSM) application and for handling regulatory change management on a global basis.

With environmental, health and safety (EH&S) regulations continually expanding in volume and complexity, and increasingly impacting product stewardship and workplace safety, the associated EH&S compliance data is cumbersome to manage in-house and requires deep domain expertise. Finding, maintaining, and acting on that data can be difficult and painfully time consuming. Fully managing compliance initiatives requires regulatory data spanning a broad array of topics and regions.

Consider for example, the regulations impacting global flavor, fragrance, specialty chemical and active ingredient manufacturers for the food and beverage industry. Such companies are impacted by an array of regulations originating from regulatory bodies around the globe. To conform to these standards and regulations, these companies require access to up-to-date and reliable EH&S content, rules, phrases and templates.

Given the complexity of thoroughly tracking such data, many companies opt to partner with a trusted third party resource on such initiatives. Such an approach can yield deeper insight into  regulations specifically related to the food and flavor industry, and can also facilitate the integration of this data into SAP.

When choosing an outsourced solution provider, we recommend evaluating the following criteria:

  • Industry relationships. It is important to work closely with industry associations such as the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association (FEMA) to understand industry concerns and stay on top of regulatory challenges.
  • A lifecycle approach. It is important for your partner to be able to support you through the entire lifecycle of your chemical and product portfolio. Doing so can help food and flavoring manufacturing companies meet compliance requirements quickly and provide accurate documentation for products based on composition, classification, use and distribution.
  • Data integrity. Regulatory content should be vetted on a daily basis.
  • Flexibility. Different rule configurations can help you implement a standard solution, while configuring rules specifically for your individual business needs, without costly customization fees.

In addition, should you desire to outsource the authoring of your safety data sheets (SDSs), you should choose a partner that fully understand the intricacies involved in authoring for a food manufacturing company.

OSHA HazCom 2012 brought about a number of changes to the current SDS authoring process specifically for the food industry. Some of these changes include the new requirement to include unknown toxicity in your calculations and disclose this data on the SDS, or classifying and including new hazards such as combustible dust.

With these changes it is imperative for companies to have a fully designated process, with access to comprehensive data. Integrating high quality regulatory and scientific data and innovative tools with SAP EHSM can helps companies in the food industry reduce their compliance burdens and streamline their authoring processes.