<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none;" alt="" src="https://px.ads.linkedin.com/collect/?pid=2645220&amp;fmt=gif">

Optimizing Permit Management: Technology vs. Manual Processes

Manage permits with ease: simplify your process with advanced technology

In the competitive business world, obtaining sectoral and environmental permits is a critical step for any company, regardless of its sector, be it mining, energy, services, or manufacturing.   

However, this process can be a real headache, especially when it comes to managing a multitude of permits and regulations. Not having an organized and efficient solution can lead to countless obstacles, from lack of follow-up to loss of crucial documentation.

In these cases, what can be the solution? In this article, we explore the solutions and answers that technology can provide, with its ability to improve management and efficiency, emerging as an invaluable ally in permitting.  

Common Problems in Permit Management

Every company, regardless of its industry, must deal with various permits and regulations. Each of these permits can involve multiple activities and sub-regulations. In the case of mining, these can number between 300 and 500. If rejected at the end of the process, the company must resubmit the file, correcting all the objections the regulatory body has found in the project.

Companies still use manual methods such as spreadsheets to manage this overwhelming amount of documentation. Problems arise when personnel turnover occurs; information must be backed up and rigorously updated. Conceptually, all management and documents are part of the "Institutional Memory" that every company must build over time.

The situation is further aggravated by the need for more clarity regarding the number and type of permits required for specific projects. Also, how the company is organized and the methodology used to address this issue need to be revised, which can result in the loss of critical documents and delays in obtaining permits.

These problems can trigger fines and penalties, and in the worst case, infinite delays in obtaining approvals or the stoppage of the project, resulting in substantial economic and time losses, affecting the company's reliability and its profits or sales (changes in expected profitability).  

Manual processes vs. using technology for permit management

The dilemma is apparent: Do you dedicate staff to manage this documentation manually, or do you leverage technology to simplify the process?

This approach changes from industry to industry and company to company. Some sectors, such as power generation, have opted to have a permitting area. This area coordinates and oversees all permit management at each project stage. It involves identifying the necessary permits, defining the steps to obtain them, and compiling the background information needed to apply.

On the other hand, some companies still need a specific permitting area. Instead, they usually assign the responsibility to environmental areas. In this approach, information tracking and permitting planning can be messier, and there is often a need for more clarity about how many permits are needed and what they are.

Advantages of technological platforms for permit management

The use of a technology platform for permissions management offers several significant advantages, where all managers work in a distributed but collaborative manner on the same application:

  1. The application is a hub for permissions management: all functional users (internal or external) can perform their tasks from anywhere, with all information backed up and traceable. Permission management is decentralized, involving multiple people without user restrictions.
  2. Centralized document management: all documents generated and obtained in the process are indexed and stored in a structured manner, eliminating the risk of loss or misplacement of documents, as there is also a permanent backup of the information.
  3. Work methodology: an application has an associated management methodology, allowing the entire team to optimize its performance. Likewise, since there is a work method, the team is covered in case of absences without changing the management.
  4. Notifications: the application sends notifications at each stage of obtaining permits, managing them, or simply when the renewal of a process is needed; in short, it guides and puts rhythm to the process.
  5. Reporting: by having all the information and documentation loaded into the application, it is possible to obtain reports on obtaining compliance instantly, automatically, and consistently, without anyone having to perform this activity. This allows you to spend time on management rather than drawing reports from electronic spreadsheets.
  6. Minimizes the risk of project stoppage: real-time tracking and efficient permit management ensure that projects are not stopped due to a lack of information or delays in obtaining or renewing permits.

The efficiency of software technology in permit management

The technology not only streamlines the management of sectoral permits but also enables the monitoring and planning of external permitting actions. The solutions also have a permit base that facilitates the user's management, as it indicates the "step-by-step" for management. 

To close, obtaining sectorial and environmental permits is an inherent need of every company and cannot be overlooked. These new information processing platforms have proven to be an effective solution to address internal permit management challenges, improving information organization and control. Although they cannot influence the response times of authorities, they allow companies to always have clarity on their status, avoiding delays and fines.   

Ultimately, technology-based permit management does not replace personnel but makes them more efficient and provides greater traceability, transparency, and control in a process crucial for business development.

Request a demo of M-Risk's Permit Management solution and discover how our clients manage more than 5,000 environmental permits in one place. 

Request a demo

Leave a comment