In an era where agility and efficiency reign supreme, safety technologies in the enterprise workspace can often take a backseat, viewed as a compliance checkbox rather than a strategic asset. If you’re in upper management, you may find yourself asking, “Do we need to invest in advanced safety technologies?” Let me answer that question with another: Can you afford not to?
Imagine slashing your company’s emergency response times exponentially or increasing the accuracy of incident reports by 80%. Picture a world where your team’s safety measures meet the baseline and exceed industry standards while adding value to your bottom line.
The purpose of this article is not to give you a laundry list of safety technologies available in the market. Instead, you’ll gain a comprehensive yet focused understanding of the ROI—Return on Investment—you stand to gain when you infuse cutting-edge safety technologies into your enterprise operations.
Fasten your seat belts and put your smartphones on ‘Do Not Disturb,’ because we’re diving deep into the financial and operational payoffs of investing in safety technologies for enterprises. Trust me, this is one journey that promises hefty returns.
The Status Quo: Safety Measures Before Technology
Traditional safety measures might seem like the answer, and some are still quite relevant to today’s industry, but some are just plain outdated. Outdated practices, procedures, and tools can cost your organization time and money. In a worst-case scenario, they can hamper your organization’s ability to resolve serious hazards, potentially paving the way for a severe incident.
Let’s quickly look at some of those traditional safety measures and review their limitations to build a plan to mitigate safety policy and process weaknesses.
Traditional Safety Measures
Teams in the field fill out paper forms or reports related to safety inspections, incident reporting, and other field reporting needs like daily vehicle inspections.
Limitations: Prone to human error, takes time to deliver or scan physically, challenging to analyze collectively, risk of loss or damage, potential poor handwriting issues.
Manual Audits and Inspections
On-site visits from safety officers who check conditions against a checklist. Manual inspections are not going away soon, but their efficiencies are often lacking.
Limitations: Time-consuming, requires specialized staff (often with very technical training), findings may quickly become outdated.
Bulletin Boards and Posters
Physical signs around the workplace to remind employees of safety practices. For example, in many areas, it is a requirement to show workers’ rights and worker safety policies, and those boards boasting of ‘X Days Since Lost Time Accidents’ are often found.
Limitations: Fixed locations may become ‘invisible’ to workers over time due to familiarity and not quickly adapting to new safety standards. Often, these posters focus more on what a business ‘has to do’ than what a company ‘should do.’
Safety Meetings and Briefings
Regular meetings to discuss safety issues and procedures. Again, this isn’t a practice that’s going away. However, with people’s short attention spans, these meetings don’t often do too much to help personnel remember the lessons in practice.
Limitations: Difficult to schedule for large or remote teams, content may not be universally applicable, and limited engagement.
Traditional Training Programs
Orientation and training programs for new employees or periodic refreshers. Often, these are a mixture of videos that bore the viewer to sleep and what I tend to lump into the business ‘has to show’ status. Staff and team members often don’t retain more than a fraction of the meeting content. In fact, Zippia found that organizations spend an average of 15% of their time on meetings. Further surveys show that 71% of team members feel that meetings are unproductive.
Limitations: Training may become obsolete, expensive to organize, and it isn’t easy to measure effectiveness.
One-way Communication Systems
Use radios or PA systems for alerts to personnel in-house or in the field. These are often found as a public address system within a facility or the traditional CB radios used in the logistics industry.
Limitations: Limited to one-way communication for public address systems, and these may not provide detailed information or limited range.
Physical Logs and Ledgers
Documenting safety checks, maintenance schedules, and incident reports inbound ledgers.
Limitations: Vulnerable to physical damage or loss, cumbersome to analyze and cross-reference.
Boards or cards track who is on-site, typically for emergency evacuation plans.
Limitations: Requires manual update, can be forgotten, doesn’t provide real-time location tracking.
Why These Limitations Matter
These limitations aren’t just inconveniences; they represent actual costs to enterprises. You’ll spend extra person-hours filling out forms, lose valuable data to human error, and face delayed decision-making because the data isn’t instantly available. Traditional methods can’t match modern safety technologies’ efficiency, reliability, or data integration capabilities.
The Paradigm Shift: Technology as a Catalyst
Safety technologies enabling people to complete inspection and incident reporting are changing how organizations manage and react to incidents.
Increased Smartphone Adoption
Consider the world of pre-smartphone, where a field worker had to find a payphone to contact the office. In emergencies, the worker had to find a phone, potentially driving away from a dangerous site to report in. Providing a time window where the site sits in safety limbo means that organizations cannot react promptly.
Technologies that disrupt the 3000+-year-old paper technology are rapidly becoming standard parts of our lives. For example, you would be hard-pressed to find a person who doesn’t carry a cell or smartphone. In fact, according to Statista, by the end of 2022, 68% of Earth’s human population were smartphone users.
With such a dramatic growth in smartphone use, it’s no wonder that organizations are turning to this new technology to answer some of the limitations that historical safety measures would deliver.
Introducing ‘1st Reporting’ as a Safety Technologies Solution
One of the industry-standard tools for managing today’s safety in the workplace is the 1st Reporting app 1st Reporting is an all-in-one solution for organizations that want to take control of their safety processes and reporting and utilize technology to circumvent all of the limitations that traditional safety measures deliver.
Here are a few benefits of using cutting-edge safety technology in your organization as they relate to the limitations of traditional safety measures.
One of the best features of using a smartphone with the 1st Reporting app in your organization is the ability for team members to complete a digital form, checklist, or other document and include rich media. A digital version of a form or checklist is no longer constrained to the reporter’s ability to draw or enunciate facts concerning events. Instead, they can use their smartphone to photograph or even take videos (with audio) to help document findings and observations.
Including images or video of a situation is an excellent way to convey observations. Traditional paperwork requires a note stating a photo was taken, but how do you attach it? Suppose you aren’t using a digital reporting platform like 1st Reporting. In that case, any picture will require manual printing and attaching to the paperwork, costing your organization time and money (paper, printer expenses, ink, and other related expenses).
Dynamic Form Creation
Dynamic forms are something that makes me giddy with excitement. Why? Because for years of managing field crews the old-fashioned way, we now have a tool that makes life much easier. Imagine creating a custom template where you control whether or not a field must be completed before a user can move forward. Never again will teams skip questions on a form.
Furthermore, imagine that your field crews are completing a form in the field, and that form changes dynamically based on their responses. This dynamic form is easy to build and implement in the 1st Reporting dashboard. In fact, it’s so easy that you could have a dynamic form created and implemented in mere minutes.
There’s one last point I want to make about using dynamic forms in an enterprise-level corporation or organization. That is dynamically linking forms. For example, a field technician has an issue with equipment. They could complete a repair request. The repair request could dynamically create and link to a predetermined equipment inspection form, so after repair, it’s easy for team members to complete a post-repair inspection and ensure the two documents are connected via the dynamic nature of the platform and the corresponding digital form(s).
Instant Custom Notifications
Have you ever had a field technician forget to hand in paperwork or give excuses about forgetting to submit forms previously completed? Or have you ever faced an emergency scenario where a team member tried to contact someone in an emergency and had to call multiple people to get an appropriate response?
With today’s leading safety technologies like 1st Reporting, you can easily set up custom notifications so the suitable supervisor gets the right message at the right time.
Let’s consider response times to emergencies. If a field technician stumbles on an incident situation and needs direction, do you want them spending tens of minutes trying to call out to find someone who can provide guidance? Or would you prefer that the appropriate supervisor receive an instant notification upon submission of an incident form in the field? With technologies like 1st Reporting, a manager could receive a notification of an incident occurrence before the field team member can dial a phone number.
We’re talking about serious reductions in emergency response. Cutting emergency response times should always be a top concern for every organization. New technologies enable us to take action in seconds, even in a neighboring state or across the country.
How do these great features add up when discussing dollars and cents? Not to worry, we’re going to cover that next.
ROI Calculation: Crunching the Numbers
Let’s talk numbers because numbers still matter at the end of the day. To properly ascertain the costs, we’ll have to start by defining the variables to formulate our equations.
ROI Calculation Model for Traditional Safety Measures
Variable Definitions and Formula
- Total Cost of Ownership (TCO): Cost of implementing (IC, implementation cost) and maintaining (MC, maintenance cost) traditional safety measures (manual audits, paper-based reporting, and related.). We could define the total cost as follows:
- TCO = IC + (MC x T) where ‘T’ is time is typically one year, month, or quarter, depending on the period determined for analysis in your industry.
- Operational Efficiency Gains (OEG): Savings from avoided incidents, improved efficiency, and other related items. This data is determined by the statistical probability of incident (PI) in the form of a decimal (for example, 2% is treated as 0.02), cost of the incident (CI), times the number of staff (S), times the period for the analysis, or:
- OEG = PI x S x CI x T
- Unplanned Expenses (UE): Costs incurred from human error, safety incidents, lack of real-time information, and other such related items. There is no actual formula needed here. It is merely the sum of unplanned expenses over the period chosen for analysis.
By implementing each of these variables into a standardized formula, we can use the following organized formula:
ROI Formula for Traditional Safety Measures
ROI = (OEG-(TCO+UE))/TCO) x 100
If we break down each component within the formula, we get the following:
ROI Calculation Model for Modern Safety Technologies (Including 1st Reporting)
Variable Definitions and Formula
- Initial Investment (II): The cost of software subscription, hardware (if any), and initial training is the initial investment. In many cases, team members will already carry company smartphones, so unless you need to purchase new equipment, this initial expense is often only the cost of the application. Learn about 1st Reporting app pricing here.
- Recurring Costs (RC): Monthly or yearly subscription and maintenance fees. Again, the cost of maintaining a smartphone or similar device is often minimal, depending on the team member’s role and the danger that such devices might become damaged in the field. Therefore, the typical expense is typically regarded as the subscription fee to the technology.
- Efficiency Gains (EG): Savings from real-time reporting, improved accuracy, quicker response times, and other benefits. Let’s say that your team members save an average of an hour per day compared to traditional methodologies. Now, imagine the impact of 1 hour on an organization with only 100 staff. Times that by about 260 work days in a year, and assume the rate of $20/hour expense, and we’re talking a saving of $520,000 in a single year. That’s impressive, wouldn’t you say?
- Revenue Impact (RI): Increase in revenue due to improved operations and safety (if applicable). Let’s take the fictional scenario above and say that each staff member could make money for the company in the time they saved. Again, let’s say they could earn the organization $20/day in extra income. Now, they aren’t only saving the organization half a million. Still, they are earning an extra half a million, making the impact of technology very attractive.
- Cost Avoidance (CA): Savings from avoided fines, legal fees, and reduced incidents. This variable depends on the severity of common incidents within your industry. Some industries are worse than others, statistically speaking. Let’s review the chart below from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
As you can see, the rate of fatalities per industry changes dramatically, depending on your industry. A fatality, according to the National Safety Council is approximately $1,340,000. Now you can get a better sense of just how severe the financial impact is, and that’s not including how devastated everyone around the unfortunate person would be. Can we even put a price on death? Let’s move back to sum up the formula:
ROI Formula for Modern Safety Technologies:
ROI = (((EG + RI + CA – (II + RC))/( II +RC)) x 100 or, in a little more visually appealing terms:
Cost-Benefit Analysis: Short-Term and Long-Term
The cost-benefit analysis must show positive signals for any organization to want to change its reporting methodologies significantly. That’s why it’s so essential for any organization to run a feasibility assessment correctly. However, in our experience, most of the time, the short- and long-term benefits vastly outweigh any short-term liabilities.
Short-Term Costs of Implementation
The significant cost of implementing new systems typically falls in the bucket of training. Historically, training old staff on new technologies and processes doesn’t always go over well. I recall that running field service crews and switching them to use smartphones from a world of CB users was the first challenge. However, it didn’t take long for my team to realize the benefits smartphones provide over older, less technologically superior technologies.
For reference, CiteSeerX shared a paper by Jenny Meyer, which stated that employees who are 55 years and older make up about 12.5% of staff in firms still using antiquated incident practices (not using modern technology, for example). Conversely, the same found that companies adopting new technologies into their operations boast a mere 9.6% of team members over 55. These numbers are as we might expect, that the older team members are, the more unlikely they will transition well to adopting new technologies.
Assuming that your team already uses smartphones, the only actual cost is the cost to train your team members. Most of the time, using an entirely new system can take weeks or even months to commit. However, because of the intuitive and easily navigable interface of 1st Reporting, we’re finding that our clients can typically make the implementation complete within a week or two with only minor issues as an organizational learning curve, making the actual cost of implementation merely the hour or two required for each team member to complete basic training and get used to the application dashboard.
Long-Term Savings of Implementation of Modern Technologies
We’ve discussed the short-term costs of implementing a modern technological solution for incident and safety management like 1st Reporting. However, the other side of the coin shines much more brightly as we look to see the savings over time. Very shiny, indeed.
Let’s consider the average office worker and the paper they use. According to Gitnux, the average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper annually. Let’s do the math:
One worker x 10,000 sheets of paper divided by (the average $30/case of 1500 sheets) = $199.99/year in paper per office worker.
Taking our above scenario, let’s apply this formula to field technicians and mobile teams for a different perspective. It’s easy to assume that field personnel might use ¼ of the paper that an office worker might use. So, each field worker would see an average of about $50 in paper use per year. However, we’re not talking about using ink, which comes between 3.9 and 8.3 cents per page (black to color, respectively). (Source: Cartridge World)
Further long-term savings don’t come from paper use; they are great, but they are not the real driving factor for change here. The actual return on investment comes with time:
- Time to submit paper reports
- Time to retrieve old filed reports
- Time to review written reports (handwriting and word usage can both play a factor here)
- Time to review multiple reports for trend analysis
- Time to investigate further when required (a video of a piece of machinery sometimes delivers exponentially more information than a few words scribbled on a checklist).
Time isn’t the only thing enterprise corporations and organizations are saving. The response times when using solutions like 1st Reporting leave competitors who use antiquated systems in the dust. Remember how I mentioned the instant notifications feature of 1st Reporting? It saves organizations hours and minutes in response times – making a real and measurable difference.
Spotlight Features: What Sets ‘1st Reporting’ Apart
Despite the fantastic features of 1st Reporting (like our excellent app pricing, Public Reporting, GPS functionality, Dynamic From Builder, or even the Custom Notification system), our people and dedicated team sets us apart from our competition.
We go the extra mile for our clients. When you need a custom solution, we’re there doing everything we can to make our solution the best, the only solution that defines solutions. Our team delivers unique value because we’re there, on the other end of the phone, for you when you need us. Unlike our competition, we are about providing you with accurate, measurable solutions and technology, driving real results and ROI for your safety procedures.
Final Thoughts on Investing in Safety Technology
After a thorough evaluation, choosing between traditional safety measures or adopting modern safety technologies like 1st Reporting boils down to numbers and efficiency. We’ve dissected the ROI formulas for both scenarios, accounting for various factors like operational efficiency gains, cost of implementation, and unforeseen expenses.
Both approaches offer merits, but the edge tips significantly in favor of modern safety solutions. Efficiency Gains (EG), Revenue Impact (RI), and Cost Avoidance (CA) collectively yield a compelling argument for new technologies. And it’s not just about cost; the ability to respond rapidly to incidents, enhance productivity, and ultimately boost revenue is something that every enterprise should aim for.
Where To Go From Here
If you’re an enterprise decision-maker, take this analysis as a cue to consider transitioning from your current safety methods. Calculating ROI isn’t just an academic exercise; it’s a practical tool to measure the success of your safety procedures and the financial health of your organization.
Running a feasibility assessment to evaluate the ROI of implementing a modern solution like 1st Reporting is incredibly beneficial. Time is of the essence, so why not take a demo of 1st Reporting? You’ll get a firsthand experience of its intuitive dashboard, responsive features, and excellent customer support.
Embrace the future. It’s time to conduct an ROI analysis and take a demo of 1st Reporting or similar safety technologies. Your bottom line, your team’s productivity, and, most importantly, their safety will thank you.