In the automotive industry, you’ll likely hear IMDS referenced constantly. But what is IMDS? If you are new to the industry, IMDS might also be new to you; but you’ll soon learn that it is an essential part of automotive product compliance.

The automotive industry is unique in that across all suppliers and manufacturers, compliance is streamlined and uniform through the use of IMDS. It makes compliance reporting easier and more accurate, and helps suppliers and manufacturers stay up to date with new regulations as requirements evolve across the globe.

Here, we’ll explain the basics you need to know to understand what IMDS is and to get started using it. Don’t let a lack of knowledge hold back your automotive compliance — learn more and get started with IMDS today.

What is IMDS?

IMDS stands for International Material Data System, and it is developed by DXC Technology. It is a data system that is entirely online, making it accessible from anywhere for easy reporting. IMDS is free to use, however companies with large data needs may choose to purchase additional services.

IMDS was developed as a joint effort among automotive manufacturers to centralize reporting into one system. This was originally prompted by the European Union (EU) End of Life Vehicles (ELV) Directive, an effort to reduce vehicle waste and increase recycling of automotive materials. Since then, it has been widely used by the global automotive industry to meet customer requirements as well as government regulations.

Why Do I Need to Use IMDS?

Using IMDS not only makes your reporting easier, it is also required by vehicle manufacturers. If you are supplying a part to a manufacturer, they will require IMDS data about the chemical composition of that part, as well as its weight and an IMDS part number.

Although starting out with IMDS may seem intimidating at first, you’ll find it will make your reporting more efficient in the long-run, as you will not have to re-examine your materials every time a new requirement or regulation is introduced.

How Do I Get Started with IMDS?

Getting started with IMDS can seem daunting, but there are plenty of resources available to help you set up and learn the system. Below are a few basic steps to get started. You can find more detailed information about getting started in the IMDS User Manual.

Access IMDS Online

IMDS can be accessed at https://www.mdsystem.com. You’ll want to make sure your browser is up to date and you are using one of the browsers listed in the user manual.

It’s also important to note that, although IMDS is an online application, you’ll need to use the buttons within IMDS to navigate through screens rather than using your browser’s buttons.

Register Your Company

Choose a Company Administrator to register your company and set up other users in your company. Each company is only allowed to have one registration, but the Company Administrator can set up users within the company. You can also have more than one Company Administrator.

If you are unsure whether your company is already registered or not, you should contact the IMDS Service Desk for more information. Having a company registered more than once can create confusion both within the company and for customers receiving your data.

When you register your company, be sure to record the IMDS Credentials it gives you after registration. These credentials will not be displayed again. After registration, the Company Administrator will also receive an email with instructions for activating the registration.

Start Using IMDS

Once the Company Administrator has registered the company and set up other users, they will be able to access IMDS through the online portal using their User ID and Password. Note that the User ID is unique to each user and is not the same as the Company ID.

Do I Need IMDS Training?

IMDS can be a complicated system to navigate. Even users with years of experience may sometimes run into data challenges where reporting becomes confusing. The IMDS User Manual and other resources on the IMDS website can help you get started with using IMDS.

However, IMDS training will help your compliance team quickly learn how to use IMDS efficiently, saving time and cost in reporting. Tetra Tech offers three levels of online IMDS Training: Basic, Standard, and Advanced. These trainings are led by an IMDS instructor with decades of experience and include hands-on activities and quizzes to facilitate learning. Trying to teach yourself IMDS leaves room for errors, confusion, and doubts. With a professional IMDS training, you will be able to report accurately and with confidence.

Get More IMDS Support

Beyond training, Tetra Tech offers a variety of other IMDS support services, including program implementation and reporting management. Our IMDS experts are always ready to answer your questions and support your company in meeting its compliance goals. Contact us today at imds@tetratech.com to discuss your compliance needs and find the support you need.