Every business has to learn how to change with the times, and this includes those in industrial sectors, such as manufacturing, construction, and the like. Businesses within these industries have to be even more flexible, in large part due to the role that regulations have to play on how they operate. As some of the most heavily regulated industries in businesses, we’re going to take a look at some of the different kinds of regulations and codes that business owners have to be prepared to adhere to, for the good of their business.
The question of compliance
Regardless of what industry your business is in, there are going to be legal, technical, regulatory and other requirements that your business needs to adhere to. These regulations are usually set up to ensure the good of the business for all involved with it, but they can be a limiting factor, as well. As such, being able to improve productivity as best as possible while staying within those regulatory requirements is a tightrope that any industrial business owner has to learn how to walk.
Product safety and quality standards
On a fundamental level, your business has to ensure that all of the products that arrive in the hands of the consumer or the end user are safe for them to use, and meet certain criteria in terms of their construction and quality, as well. Building a strong product safety culture is a key priority for many manufacturing companies. In fact, you will be able to find the “product quality and safety” standards on the websites of many major manufacturers, and it’s a good idea to take the time to create one for your one, to determine the standards that not only meet your regulatory requirements, but can also foster better customer trust in your products.
Health and safety in the workplace
Out of all of the regulatory requirements that your company must meet, the provisions for occupational safety and health are amongst the strongest, with a lot of clear rules on what activities your team can and cannot do, what kind of protective equipment must be provided, what training must be delivered, and any other safety provisions that your workplace must have in place. There is such a wide range of different health and safety risks in industrial settings, that it’s often a good idea to work with professionals who can provide health and safety audits and risk assessments to help you get a better idea of where, precisely, the risks you face are, and what you can do to mitigate them. Regulatory compliance is a minimum, but many businesses go above and beyond that to ensure the prevention of accidents and injuries as best as possible.
As well as the regulations to mitigate the potential negative effects that industrial businesses can have on their customers and employees, there’s an increasing focus on diminishing the impact that industrial activity has on the environment, as well. One of the most recent focuses has been on the usage of coal in industry and, in particular, the residual materials generated by coal usage. As such, many in the industrial space are working with coal combustion residual consultants to ensure that they are reducing the amount of residual materials created by their coal use and, beyond that, effective containment and disposal of waste matter associated with it. Environmental regulation is on the rise and represents one of the potentially greatest challenges that industrial businesses are likely to face in the coming years.
Another concern fast on the rise for many in the industrial space is the importance that data has to play in the modern workspace. Businesses in every industry are becoming increasingly digital, and the data that they gather and operate with can be sensitive, not only to the business itself, but to its customers, clients, vendors, and other professional partners. As such, businesses have to develop an effective data security governance strategy in order to make sure that they do not let data fall into the hands of those who might misuse it or do not lose data that they may rely on to ensure the levels of productivity and organisation they require.
Workers are guaranteed rights that business owners must make sure that they don’t infringe on, or fail to provide for. Aside from the health and safety concerns mentioned above, this tends to include things like minimum wage, freedom from discrimination, paid leave provisions, and more.. It’s important to be keenly aware of the fact that certain worker’s rights can change depending on the state or country in which your business is operating, so if you have several locations across the globe, it’s worth taking the time to work with an international business lawyer to make sure that you’re adhering to the laws in every single one of your locations.
Taxation and finance
There are regulations around how businesses in every industry carry out their taxes, how they are taxed, and where they get their finances from. Some tax rules have changed quite recently for manufacturing companies, for instance, making tax compliance significantly more complex for a lot of business owners. This includes things like the increase in consumer use tax, taxes on B2B transactions, and cross-border commerce, each of which is becoming increasingly regulated. Having an experienced industrial business chartered accountant on your side can ensure that you’re able to handle your taxes with someone who is able to bring the expertise and experience to help you not only understand how to better file your taxes but to do it with a strategy, finding the right balance between keeping more of your revenue and ensuring that you stay clear of any red flags with the tax agencies.
The benefits of compliance
One of the single biggest benefits of compliance is avoiding the risk that non-compliance can bring, which we will take a look at in a moment. Beyond that, however, awareness of the regulations you have to follow can keep your business sharp, ensuring that employees are better equipped to identify a whole host of operational problems. This more knowledgeable team will also be better able to ensure things run smoothly within the organisation. Following regulations, and even displaying in what ways your business adheres to them, can build trust in your brand, as well, which could lead to increased profits along the way.
The risks of not being compliant
The benefits of compliance can ensure that your business is running more efficiently, and effectively, and can increase your potential for profits. On the flip side, the costs of not being compliant with regulations can result in a wide range of risks that your business has to face. This can include things like risks to your continuity of business, as it might be disrupted if it is found to be non-complaint. This, alongside fines, can risk the financial health of the business. This can be further compounded by legal issues such as lawsuits and criminal charges, which can also damage the reputation of the business.
Failure to comply with regulations can lead to fines and even the dissolution of the business if you’re not careful. Take your time to research the different kinds of regulations that could apply to your own business and ensure your compliance, whether by internal review or by working with professionals who can help you get a better look at your situation.