Operating safe, sustainable waste management programs across one’s enterprise is a complicated undertaking, increasingly so as countries and governing bodies regulate and legislate these processes to minimize ecological and biological impact.

Within SAP S/4HANA Environmental, Health, and Safety (EHS) Environment Management, newly added waste management capabilities are enabling enterprises to tackle this growing business need in an intuitive manner while mitigating their risk. Waste management can be challenging for small and large enterprises, especially as they pursue digital transformation. For smaller enterprises, the labyrinthine permitting process for waste management represents a significant hurdle to maintaining regular business operations. On the other hand, larger enterprises often must contend with either an enormous amount of waste or legislation and regulations across several countries, depending on the scope of their operations.

In order to help companies more effectively manage waste, and in response to rising customer demand for capabilities to do so through leveraging cloud ERP, SAP recently redeveloped its waste management module within SAP S/4HANA EHS Environment Management, integrating and upgrading what had previously been a separate application from SAP ERP Central Component.

“The SAP S/4HANA EHS Environment Management solution helps customers to ensure they not only have compliant processes for managing their waste from generation to disposal but also supports activities such as cost allocation and tracking of costs to dispose of wastes,” Hitesh Patel, Product Manager for SAP S/4HANA EHS Environment Management, said in a recent ASUG webinar focused on the solution’s waste management capabilities.

SAP S/4HANA EHS Waste Management Solution Highlights

Patel walked attendees through the solution’s waste management mainline capabilities and touched on future development. Throughout the hour-long webinar, Patel highlighted the growing importance of complying with numerous government regulations and highlighted how SAP S/4HANA EHS Environment Management waste management capabilities can enable enterprises to manage this complicated process.

“Governments around the world have enacted many environmental legislations to protect the environment and ensure the impact of air, water, and land pollution is limited,” Patel said.

Some of these laws and regulations deal exclusively with waste disposal, such as the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act in the United States. This 1976 amendment to the Solid Waste Act deals with the disposal of solid and hazardous waste, ensuring companies can manage this process without harming human health or damaging the environment.

“Complying with these regulations within a country, or even globally, would require a very systematic, transparent process which can withstand change,” Patel said.

How SAP Fits Into the Waste Management Process

During the webinar, Patel touched on some of the solution’s main capabilities, including waste identification and characterization, onsite waste management, shipment planning and compliance, disposal management, and comprehensive key-performance-indicator (KPI) reporting. Patel also gave attendees a detailed look at the points throughout the waste management business process where SAP S/4HANA EHS Environment Management can help customers manage and control their waste.

The first step of this process is identifying—and applying—the compliance requirements and permits necessary to transport and dispose of waste. Next, enterprises must characterize their waste according to specific legislation. For example, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has long lists of codes used to characterize whether waste is hazardous or not. The solution is specifically designed to help customers characterize waste and track it as specified by necessary permits, Patel said. 

SAP S/4HANA EHS Environment Management's waste management capabilities also helps organizations plan the shipment of waste for storage or disposal. In certain countries, such as Germany, companies can only ship and dispose of a certain amount of waste per permit. The solution gives customers pinpoint accuracy of the level of waste in its shipments.

Looking Forward at the SAP Waste Management Roadmap

Patel also shared what the SAP product development team is working on for this next year and beyond, with regard to the SAP S/4HANA EHS Environment Management waste management solution. One of the main parts of the roadmap he shared was planned logistics integration into SAP Extended Warehouse Management, intended to help organizations manage waste as it moves from production areas into storage. That integration is set to go live next year.

This solution is currently available for SAP S/4HANA on-premises and public cloud instances. You can watch a replay of the webinar, including Patel’s detailed demo, by registering here.

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