Lakes Environmental had a client who never contacted them for ten years. Naturally, they assumed the client, who also changed offices, was lost to them. Unexpectedly, they called one day, seeking the latest version of the software, since their operating system no longer supported it. The shocked managers of Lakes requested from their client the reasons why they had not contacted them all this while since they have been using their software. “Your software never crashed, was easy to use and we needed no training for new staff. It ran fast, and the IT department never had any reason to touch it,” they said.
“Someone forgetting about you is one of the best compliments a software company can get,” informs Dr. Jesse L Thé, President, and Founder of Lakes Environmental. The Ontario-based company creates software for environmental GRC. Lakes’ solutions are unique as they cover all governmental aspects including audit, permissions, enforcement, reporting, and calculation. They serve government bodies like counties, city municipalities, consulting firms, industry and academia across the globe. “Our competitive advantage lies in the complete integration of the hundreds of processes and the ability to geo-reference assets from an unlimited number of locations,” says Thé.
Twenty to one!
The enormity and complexity of environmental compliance make it a tedious and long process. Archaic methods of desktop applications combined with e-mail submissions for compliance is an arduous task. Lakes Environmentals’ AQMIS Cloud can automate all the processes which would otherwise require an entire department of 20 people! The software’s modules can simulate events, store asset information, register data monitoring, display maps with asset locations, generate regulatory compliance reports, and submit them electronically.
Our competitive advantage lies in the complete integration of the hundreds of processes and the ability to geo-reference assets from an unlimited number of locations
The solutions cut across five main areas—air dispersion modeling, emissions management, compliance assurance, risk assessment, and emergency release modeling. The 20-year-old company started its journey by providing Microsoft Windows desktop solutions but has since evolved to the web and cloud-based solutions that are flexible to client needs. The agile web platform allowed them to launch map-based graphical compliance and risk tools.
“Customers are no longer willing to change their practices to fit the vendor’s software. Therefore, our compliance assurance and risk assessment cloud-based solutions are built for flexibility. Our architecture employs micro-service concepts to isolate and protect each function, which can then later adapt to a multitude of workflows,” says Jesse.
Costs and community
Stringent environment compliance norms shut down businesses. Solutions which ease compliance burden can save them. One of Lakes’ clients was from a large mining site which was forced to close down operations whenever its air discharges hit the upper concentration limits in neighboring towns and villages. The company would face four such shutdowns annually, each one costing $10 million. “Real-time monitoring by our AQMIS solution eliminated these episodes totally, saving the client $40 million. Another client of ours was a refinery on the verge of being shut down by a community. Our compliance assurance tool identified ways to ensure that it continues operation without risks,” says Thé.
The word-of-mouth publicity that customers provide and Lakes’ ability to harness customer feedback, cut down their marketing and market research costs. Using the feedback, Lakes Environmental created new products; decision support tools to facilitate governance, simulation tools to reduce risks, and tools to analyze specific data to expedite reporting and meet compliance. “We are expanding our compliance and risk reduction systems into other environmental fields,” concludes Thé.