Material Disclosure: Actio's Risk Assessment Solution
Supply chain collaboration Global manufacturers such as Owens Corning, R.R. Donnelley and Stanley Black&Decker have taken the lead in environmental responsibility, compliance and risk assessment programs. Risk management today depends on supplier collaboration. Companies need to know everything about the chemical ingredients in raw materials, products and waste— business depends on it. Most professionals tasked with managing compliance in their enterprise and product supply lines have developed a patchwork approach to the problem over the years. But there is another way.
There are more restrictions every day. Initiatives start local, such as US state level California Safer Products Act and product stewardship laws in certain states like Maine, Michigan and Oregon. On a national scale we have to consider EPA regulatory updates— including TSCA— mandates. Then of course there are REACH, RoHS and WEEE in Europe, and similar rules increasing in Asia. And now, regarding the African Democratic Republic of Congo and surrounding areas, sources of gold, tantalum, tin and tungsten must be tracked, known and in many cases reported on.
Compliance managers and legal teams are, understandably, overwhelmed. Rather than attack these challenges one at a time, in separate silos, there is a way to manage them with them from a unified platform.
What is Material Disclosure software and how does it help? The Material Disclosure compliance platform protects your trade secrets while increasing supplier response times, assuring trade compliance, and providing customizable, progressively detailed data gathering queries with responses you can monitor at-a-glance. The software also allows stakeholders to analyze supply data and regulatory details to create accurate reports and make quick, informed decisions about how to best manage materials for maximum return and minimal risk exposure.
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Challenges in risk assessment
It's a jungle of chemical lists, laws and standards across all industries. Proliferating regulations regarding chemical ingredients have created quite a tangle of well-intentioned but almost rabidly intertwined requirements. Enterprises are required to demonstrate greater visibility into materials used to manufacture finished goods, and to report in detail and at length on this intelligence. The increased requirements come from all angles – from government agencies to internal stakeholders – and are largely due to increased concerns about risk in terms of product liability, environmental impact, and consumer health and safety, as well as international regulatory compliance and of course the avoidance of expensive recalls and brand damage.
In short: companies must publish material disclosure documents. You need software that lets you manage what is disclosed and what isn't.
You need the power to make visibility decisions, while compliance obligations are met and, for cost management purposes, processes are made leaner. Yesterday's processes were wildly inefficient, with supplier emails, spreadsheets and homespun databases flying around the datasphere. Wrangling information contained in a Safety Data Sheet or SDS can be a good start, yet many raw material providers have opted to present ingredients in those documents as a range, or to withhold them entirely to keep their trade secrets proprietary.
As a result, manufacturers are forced to request material disclosure information from suppliers – each using their own method of capture, with their own set of questions, specific to their needs. Suppliers must complete these unique disclosure requests – or risk losing the business. For manufacturers who buy from many suppliers and raw material providers who sell products to many manufacturers, this process soon becomes onerous and very costly to execute and maintain. It's nearly impossible to manage this with yesterday's paper system, spreadsheets, or a homespun Access database.
Without effective supply chain communication and information sharing between suppliers and customers, manufacturers cannot quickly adapt and respond to global compliance mandates and corporate sustainability initiatives.
Raw material suppliers, on the other hand, need a way to “publish” to their downstream customers in a supply chain, for disclosure information on their raw materials while controlling who can access the information and what they can see. Supply chain visibility is the name of the game – but how is all this done? Simply put: supplier product and materials data is constantly compared against updated standards, global and local regulatory lists, SVHC lists, and industry-specific lists. Custom criteria, custom correspondence templates, custom automated contact schedules, and custom questionnaires are a key part of the platform, letting you "set it and forget it." The questionnaires go out to suppliers at specified intervals, the data they provide goes straight into a secure relational database, and supplier's progress or problems with this is visible to you on your management dashboard.
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For instance, manufacturing companies want certification that a raw material or supplied good is REACH, RoHS, WEEE, GADSL compliant, as well as – sometimes – whether materials are compliant with hundreds of other possible lists, standards, and custom criteria.
The quality assurance system for tracking chemical ingredients
Powered by Actio’s single, central relational database software technology, Material Disclosure manages detailed product information, including supporting documentation, such as Safety Data Sheets, technical data sheets, certificates of analysis, and food grade certificates – creating a single product record for each material. Material Disclosure securely – and by permission only – collects, warehouses and distributes compositional information on raw materials used in product manufacture.
Manufacturers use Material Disclosure’s auto email correspondence, online forms, and robust reporting capabilities to:
disclosure information from suppliers.
Suppliers log into the secure portal to input product regulatory and compositional information for their products. Suppliers securely manage the “publishing” of content to requestors throughout the supply chain; they save time and money because they only have to enter the data once. Product disclosure documents requested by customers are automatically generated and can be customized by selecting check boxes indicating the specific information to be provided to the customer. For customers who make frequent requests, material suppliers can assign the customer a user name and password, as well as designate the information that can be accessible to that customer.
Leveraging the Material Disclosure tool, suppliers no longer need to complete each individual customer request for product disclosure information. Instead, they can streamline the process by creating a “full disclosure” product record in Material Disclosure and easily define and distribute the information that has been requested by the customer. In addition, manufacturers have round-the-clock, centrally organized access to product disclosure information, greatly reducing global regulatory risk and product liability exposure.
Benefits of supply chain collaboration about chemical ingredients
For the Manufacturer
- Automated email correspondence and auto-reminders to suppliers streamlines and tracks the progress of collecting product disclosure information on every supplied product down to the substance level
- Information provided by suppliers in Material Disclosure is immediately accessible for the manufacturer
- Information is organized and stored in a central repository so that it does not get “siloed” at each enterprise location
- Highly customizable to capture data specific to a company’s needs
For the Supplier
- Suppliers can automatically upload disclosure content for large raw material libraries using MS Excel or Access, or a CSV file
- Comprehensive material content information is entered once and resides as a single product record
- Custom reports, using only the information designated by the supplier, can be generated and distributed to the customer. Customers granted access only see the information designated by the supplier
- Secure platform has multiple levels of access control and provides an audit trail of who
- Database-driven platform provides unparalleled flexibility to quickly adapt to changes in global regulatory directives, product formulations, etc.
- Global solution supports multiple languages and formats
- Delivered as Software as a Service (SaaS) with no hardware and software to purchase, install and maintain providing faster time to benefit and lower total cost of ownership
- Material Disclosure supports VeriSign’s secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology ensuring secure flow of data throughout the supply chain
Contact us today to find out how Material Disclosure risk assessment software would work for your company.