Using Technology to Reduce Environmental Costs

Using Technology to Reduce Environmental Costs

I hear a common pain from my colleagues and clients all the time: “The cost of environmental compliance is not going down over time.” Labor costs continue to rise with inflation over time, so the “by-the-hour” cost of staffing in-house or leveraging outside providers for environmental compliance needs hasn’t decreased over the last 20 years even though our capabilities have continued to grow. Any cost reductions need to be gained by working smarter, not necessarily harder—specifically by leveraging technology to reduce the hours of labor required for any particular job.

Use the fact that technology pays for itself over time to your advantage on environmental compliance projects. While the upfront cost of investing in new systems can seem daunting, technology pays you back over time by significantly reducing labor needs and material costs. A reduction in hours worked can either be a result of gains in efficiency or straight out replacement of labor hours, helping circumvent the problem of labor costs.

Reduction in printing and storage costs associated with electronic documentation are familiar examples of ways in which technology can reduce the overall expense associated with a project.  I have also seen examples where chemical use was decreased in a process when technology allowed for better understanding and process optimization, as well as an instance where mobile technology allowed a construction firm to realize savings from reducing the type and number of pieces of equipment on sites where they were not needed as frequently.

Once purchased, the technology continues to provide benefit going forward, versus labor costs which are paid over and over again for services provided. Often times the capital materials you may need to implement the technology are beneficially depreciated from a business’s books, but I’ll leave it to your finance department to figure out when that works best.

How do you get started in the next round of cost cutting? Your best savings may be realized where you already have capital upgrade or maintenance needs. Slipping some higher tech solutions into those investments may yield big savings at an incrementally smaller cost because you are already opening the hood for other work.

Technology can be an excellent way to reduce the cost of those “non-program” line items that don't drive direct benefits to your customers. If you’ve been struggling with the challenge of reducing overall costs for environmental compliance work, take a look at those places where leveraging some technology may be worth your time.


Business Development Leader
Environment & Remediation

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