If you or your organization are looking for software to help you collect, manage, and report compliance and supply chain data, you’re probably already aware of the fact that there are many options out there. You can find specialty software for everything from the plain old survey to the biggest, baddest Enterprise systems, and everything in between. And while our own software -- Stacks -- provides a flexible, affordable solution to high-value data collection and reporting, we understand that you may want to be aware of some other options to help you do this work.
Where to Look?
In fact, we are often asked by potential clients and other curious people what are some other software providers we could recommend. Fortunately, once you’ve been in this business for a little while, you quickly see that there are many really good choices. We are lucky to be living at a time when the services offered by data software companies are in high demand. And, with no default king of this hill, we’re all finding that there is a niche for – well, maybe not everyone, but for a lot of providers to claim.
Often what you’ll find is that there is a lot of crossover between the top level companies, but that each one has its own unique style and approach to the work. Some are small, boutique level businesses that offer their customers tailored, personalized approaches to the problem. Some are midsized and begin to seem a bit more “institutional”, and perhaps less flexible. Then, when you get to the “enterprise” level, you start to see a lot more of that sense of permanence and lack of easy customizability. We’re not going to be talking about that here, but you can keep it in the back of your mind as you go through this list and out into the world.
So what follows is our mini-guide to a few of the best data collection and reporting companies (in no particular order). We are not saying that these are the only companies out there – that’s not true by a long shot – but they are companies we know either directly or through industry contacts. (This inevitably means that they have a supply chain/sustainability/chemicals compliance bent.) We’d love to hear what you think of this list – are there any companies you feel would fit well here? Have you had any experiences you’d like to share with these (or other, similar companies)? Let us know!
Excel/Google Sheets/Other spreadsheets + email
Tried and true – you know exactly what you’re getting with these. They’re ubiquitous, everyone understands how they work, they’re ultra-low-cost (or even free), and they don’t require much in the way of learning curves. To that end, you can basically get started with them right away, without the need for training, elaborate tutorials, etc.
toxnot is a simple and secure chemical hazard dashboard that connects supply chain with product design for fast and innovative reporting. They have produced some truly innovative tools designed for the chemicals industry and related fields that draws upon a database of thousands of chemicals, which you can use to compare with products in your own portfolio. They’re run by very smart, talented people and, if you’re in need of software to help streamline safer chemicals-related product design and development, this is a great choice.
SupplyShift has a heavy focus on supply chain data and analytics, and has gained a lot of traction over the past few years helping companies collect, analyze and utilize data from their suppliers. They have deep involvement in sustainability, and they have focused a lot of time and attention on developing technology to create comparisons and scorecards that help suppliers understand their performance relative to others in their industry.
Venturing further into the world of SaaS, Assent Compliance is an industry leader in cloud-based enterprise compliance and data management software. They have a robust base platform along with a suite of industry-specific modules to help companies stay compliant in an increasingly complicated world. They also offer complementary services, in particular their impressive Assent University Classroom, which provides training and education delivered through the web.
UL EHS Sustainability
UL EHS Sustainability is a division of the same UL on seemingly every product in the world! UL’s foray into the sustainability world is relatively recent, but it clearly follows logically. While the parent company is largely focused on standards and lab testing, most notably for electronics, the Sustainability division focuses its attention more outwardly on issues like supply chain and corporate social responsibility. They have come quickly up to speed in this realm and are now a major player in this data heavy space.
While we know our very own Stacks software offers an easy, secure and effective way to collect, manage, and report all kinds of data, we also know that different users have different needs (and tastes). The software providers on this list are all fine solutions for the applications they are attempting to address. We are excited to play (and in some cases, compete) in the same space as them. As data needs continue to grow, we’re going to need a lot of innovation from a lot of different providers.
Hopefully this is been a useful survey of the data collection and management landscape. While the focus was clearly on sustainability and environmental health and safety, if you connect with any of these companies you will quickly see how they relate to the problem of data collection in general. Each of them has worked hard to develop a solution that makes the challenges associated with this work much easier to manage. So as you begin (or continue) your journey to find the right solution for you, any of them would be a good place to start.
Click here to learn more about Stacks software.
Click here for further reading: The Cost of Data Collection & Reporting Software.