Improving the Chemical Procurement Process

Chemical Procurement Process

To ensure the well-being of employees, protect the environment, and adhere to stringent regulatory requirements, organizations must prioritize the safe handling and management of chemicals. One process that is an essential part of this is the procurement of chemicals. Integrating the chemical procurement process and vetting purchases with software that incorporates an automated system for checks and approvals can greatly improve this step and increase the efficiency of an organization’s entire chemical inventory safety program. This article focuses on the advantages of linking these processes, underscoring the value brought to organizations in terms of safety, regulatory compliance, financial efficiency, and sustainability.

  1. Strengthening Safety Protocols

The applicability of safety protocols is paramount when it comes to handling hazardous chemicals. When the procurement and vetting purchases processes are linked to the chemical inventory program and managed through a software system, organizations will upgrade their safety protocols in various ways:

a. Hazard Identification: The chemical inventory program provides a comprehensive database of active chemicals. When procurement is integrated with this existing and up-to-date list, new purchases can be cross-referenced upon the creation of the chemical order. The power of automation enables the immediate identification of potentially hazardous substances and notification of EHS professionals, who can then vet the incoming materials and ensure unnecessary or incompatible materials are avoided.

b. Risk Assessment: When users can at a glance see all the chemicals within the active inventory and those set to come in with procurement, it offers the benefit of performing a more informed risk assessment and improves the ability to confirm that the chemicals procured are compatible with existing substances. Consequently, the organization is also better prepared to mitigate the risks of accidental reactions and hazardous incidents.

c. Proper Storage and Handling: Having the procurement process fully integrated with the chemical inventory and maintained with a software solution makes it an easier process to facilitate the communication of crucial safety information regarding storage and handling requirements for each chemical, reducing the likelihood of accidents and exposure.

  1. Regulatory Compliance

Compliance with local, national, and international regulations is a fundamental responsibility for organizations dealing with chemicals, hazardous or not. Linking procurement and vetting processes with the chemical inventory streamlines compliance efforts:

a. Reporting and Documentation: A fully integrated approach offers transparency for reports. Users can access historical databases to confirm transactions (including recent procurements) that have taken place for the entire inventory and view previous reports. Additionally, within chemical management software, built-in reporting features make it a simple process to export relevant data to regulatory bodies. This reduces the administrative burden involved in cross-checking spreadsheets of chemical information and quantities and then filling out forms, ensuring the timely submission of compliance documentation.

b. Restricted Substances: Users can utilize software for managing chemical inventory programs to view data on restricted substances governed by environmental and health regulations. By vetting chemical purchases against this inventory, organizations can avoid unintentional non-compliance and potential legal repercussions.

c. Audit Preparedness: Continuous integration between procurement and the chemical inventory ensures up-to-date records and transparency, leading to better audit preparedness and a more streamlined and predictable audit process.

  1. Financial Efficiency

Aside from safety and compliance benefits, linking procurement and the chemical inventory within a comprehensive management software can result in greater efficiency of financial investments:

a. Elimination of Redundant Purchases: Chemical stock levels will be easier to identify, reducing the risk of unnecessary purchases and redundant expenditures.

b. Bulk Purchase Opportunities: By having a clear view of existing chemical stocks, organizations can plan out procurement and take advantage of bulk purchase opportunities, leading to cost savings and better negotiation power with suppliers.

c. Waste Reduction: Avoiding unnecessary purchases decreases the likelihood of excess chemical inventory. This, in turn, minimizes waste generation and disposal costs.

d. Surplus Inventory: When it is acceptable by an organization’s standards for sharing chemical information between teams/departments/facilities, excess or surplus materials can be listed as “available for use,” allowing other authorized users the ability to “shop” internally and avoid a new purchase altogether.

  1. Sustainability Enhancement

In recent years, sustainability has become a focal point for businesses aiming to reduce their environmental impact. Integrating the chemical procurement process and the chemical inventory within a single platform contributes to sustainable practices in the following ways:

a. Environmentally Friendly Alternatives: A linked system increases a procurement team’s potential for discovering available eco-friendly alternatives to chemicals. This encourages the adoption of greener products, aligning with sustainability goals.

b. Waste Minimization: With better control over chemical acquisitions, organizations can minimize waste production, supporting waste reduction initiatives and promoting resource conservation.

c. Supplier Collaboration: Connecting procurement and the chemical inventory within a configurable system has the potential to open up more opportunities for communication with suppliers about sustainable product options, fostering collaboration towards sustainable procurement practices.

Safety, regulatory compliance, financial efficiency, and sustainability are all improved when processes for chemical procurement (and the ability to vet purchases) are connected to the active chemical inventory and managed within an integrated software. Enhanced safety protocols protect employees and the environment, while streamlined compliance measures prevent legal ramifications. Financially, gains are realized through the elimination of redundant purchases and the opportunity for bulk acquisitions. Finally, sustainability practices can be fostered through eco-friendly alternatives and waste minimization. Organizations that embrace this integrated approach stand to gain a competitive advantage by demonstrating their commitment to responsible chemical management and sustainability while safeguarding the well-being of their workforce and the environment.



Cary comes to the SafetyStratus team as the Vice President of Operations with almost 30 years of experience in several different industries. He began his career in the United States Navy’s nuclear power program. From there he transitioned into the public sector as an Environmental, Health & Safety Manager in the utility industry. After almost thirteen years, he transitioned into the construction sector as a Safety Director at a large, international construction company. Most recently he held the position of Manager of Professional Services at a safety software company, overseeing the customer success, implementation, and process consulting aspects of the services team.

At SafetyStratus, he is focused on helping achieve the company’s vision of “Saving lives and the environment by successfully integrating knowledgeable people, sustainable processes, and unparalleled technology”.

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