Tales of security, HANA and “blackouts” at SAP chemicals event

by Greg Wimble, on March 29, 2016

GHSRibbonLabels_square_300x300.jpgThe recent Best Practices for Chemicals conference in Houston brought together a good cross section of business, functional and technology professionals to share solutions, ideas and strategies to improve performance within the chemicals industry. A collaboration between SAP and the Americas’ SAP Users’ Group, the event was well produced and well attended with a number of interesting keynotes and sessions packed into three full days.

After attending many of the tracks and speaking with dozens of attendees at the SAP chemicals event, I came away with these observations…
  • Security: priority one – With cyber-crime and security breaches at an all-time high, security was a very prevalent theme at this year’s conference. Like in other highly regulated industries, CIOs of chemical companies must put a premium on securing and protecting data above all else, which explains why those sessions focused on advancements in security technology were so popular.  

  • All onboard with HANA – Speaking of technology, at least a few of the tracks focused on SAP’s new HANA platform. If chemical companies weren’t in the beginning stages of evaluating this in-memory data and application solution, they certainly will be now. First launched in 2014, HANA is generating a lot of industry buzz, and with its proven approach to preserving data integrity, I expect more chemical companies to start implementing it.

  • GHS compliance…slowly but slowlyOSHA’s GHS regulations are still a hot button with a good number of attendees admitting they’re still not there yet. And of those who are compliant, many did not take the most sustainable path to get there. A few times I heard about workarounds where people manually “blacked out” the red diamonds on their unused, preprinted GHS chemical labels. Of course the regulation stipulates that the diamonds have to be blacked out or omitted from the label when they’re not applicable to the product or don't include GHS pictograms.

    While OSHA appears to be using kid gloves up to this point in terms of enforcement, many attendees fear it won’t be too long before the "GHS police" start cracking down on non-compliance—maybe as soon as this summer when the next phase of regulations goes into effect. The old ad slogan “pay me now or pay me later” might apply here, which is more reason than ever for companies that are struggling with compliance to consider a more holistic and strategic approach to GHS chemical labels.

All in all, a very insightful, informative show. It’ll be interesting to attend next year and see where chemical companies are with both their technology adoption as well as compliance. We welcome the opportunity to tell you more about how Loftware can significantly help on both ends with an SAP-certified enterprise solution for chemical labeling.

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Topics:RegulatoryChemicalSAP Labeling