It’s safe to say many in the waste industry have been frustrated by the EPA’s e-Manifest System. Now, with e-Manifest user fees scheduled to increase, the anxiety surrounding the initiative has grown even more.
There’s a lot of debate about the value and utility of the system. Still, environmental service providers want to know how to handle the new changes in the most efficient and cost effective manner. So let’s take a closer look.
What Are The e-Manifest Fee Changes?
The new adjustments are meant to incentivize companies to move towards full electronic submissions by the end of June 2021. The fees have been modified as follows:
- $8 per electronic manifest (previously $5)
- $25 per mailed in paper copy (previously $15)
- $14 per “image + data” entries (previously $6.50)
Getting Off To A Slow Start
Despite supposed widespread support in the industry for the system created in 2012, adoption of the e-Manifest System has been slow going. For fiscal 2019, the EPA expects to receive 2.12 million waste manifests. From that total, the agency estimates only about 10,000 will be fully electronic.
David Case, executive director of the Environmental Technology Council (ETC) recently said “The EPA has spent $17 million of our money from user fees and we still don’t have a functional e-Manifest system.”
It’s not entirely clear what measures the EPA will take in the future to improve compliance, however, once the 2021 deadline expires, waste management providers may begin to see major hikes in fees or stiff penalties for non-compliance.
Making Compliance Easier And Unexpected Business Benefits
Despite the added pressure from the EPA, the industry continues to move slowly forward. The reasons could be anything from more urgent priorities to limited technical understanding to engrained company resistance to change.
Many waste companies have already made the switch to e-Manifests. However, compliance with the EPA’s mandate is only one motivating factor, and in fact, it may be a very minor one.
Across many industries, modern software tools have transformed how businesses get everyday jobs done and gain more market share. The waste industry is notoriously slow to adopt new technology, but many brands are breaking away from that trend. As in other sectors, the innovators are gaining significant business advantages which is the primary motivation for change.
Waste Manifest Software Means Resource Saving
Let’s look at the case at hand – the e-Manifest. Waste manifests take time to generate. Also, if prepared incorrectly, it could lead to operational and regulatory problems. Waste manifest software is designed to make the preparation of waste manifests faster and more accurate.
For instance, many of the waste manifest form fields have repetitive data, such as names, account numbers, addresses, and special codes. Rather than filing in all this data manually, waste manifest software stores the information and displays it in drop down menus. This way, the person filling out the form gets the job done in just a few clicks.
The business benefits to waste manifest software include:
- Less employee resource use
- Reduced form errors
- Easier to train employees to fill out form
For companies in regulated industries, such as waste management, documents are necessary for everyday business and to ensure compliance. The best software solutions provide powerful tools for document building. Some of the benefits can include:
- Faster, more accurate document preparation
- All documents stored in one place and easy to access
- Historical archive of document versions so no data ever gets lost
- Custom sorting options
- Multiple waste profiles per waste stream allows for simultaneous workflows
- Data organization by Account, Opportunity, Waste Stream, Lead, and Location
All the documents are then stored digitally in “the cloud”. This frees teams to access documents from any computer with WiFi. Also, this means that all files are protected from unexpected events such as fire or natural disaster.
Opportunity Beyond The EPA e-Manifest
Waste manifest software makes compliance with the e-Manifest initiative much easier. The platform allows for direct form submission to the EPA RCRAInfo Portal. Therefore, from e-Manifest generation to submission, the process is more accurate and streamlined.
Now, one can imagine how similar benefits can extend to other business areas. For instance, companies can speed up the generation of other forms, such as waste profiles, EPA biennial reports, and quotes.
With automated quote building, we can see how the benefits continue to spread into areas such as sales. It’s well known that the first quote oftentimes gets the job, even if subsequent quotes are less expensive. So any method that delivers a quote faster becomes a business advantage.
Other benefits modern software can provide are improved customer management and sales operations. The ability to visualize and orchestrate from a central command improves how teams and processes function. Managers can quickly address sales bottlenecks and also improve customer satisfaction and retention.
Not All Software Created Equal
Now you might think that any business management software can get the job done, but each industry has its own requirements and intricacies. In the digital age, companies that have historically worked in environmental services have also specialized in developing software solutions for others in the industry. In some cases, these firms first created platforms to improve their own in-house operations. Then, recognizing the value, they began offering their services to other waste services providers.
Waste industry specific software is less likely to miss any important details, both business and compliance-wise, since it’s all built in from the beginning. If you go with a larger, generic software vendor, you might have to add on modifications which take time to work properly if at all.
Opportunity In Crisis
As the pressure to go paperless intensifies, waste companies have a limited number of options. One is to dig in your heels and resist change. The other is to look for answers that not only satisfy compliance requirements but also improve your waste business operations.
The new EPA e-Manifest initiative may be considered a headache by some. Others will see it as the perfect excuse to begin upgrading everyday efficiency and company growth tactics.
Learn more about the PegEx Platform® waste management software for waste management companies. Call PegEx at (888) 795-0728 or click on the button below to request a free demo.