Compliance never stays the same. From changes to your products to changes in regulatory requirements, your company depends on a strong compliance program to keep your products moving through the supply chain and on to their final customers. If you find yourself scrambling to find data, communicate with your supply chain, or fill in knowledge gaps on your team, it’s likely that something crucial in your regulatory reporting will fall through the cracks.
You want a compliance team that is prepared to meet regulatory changes, troubleshoot problems, and adapt to software updates without hesitation. If you use the International Material Data Systems (IMDS) to meet either automotive or non-automotive compliance reporting requirements, here are some ways you can build a strong IMDS foundation in 2023 so you can be prepared for the changing product compliance landscape.
Supply Chain Communication
A single weak link in your supply chain has the potential to stop your entire production, which means strong supply chain communication is essential.
In the automotive industry, every level of your supply chain will need to use IMDS for materials reporting. Make IMDS expectations clear to your suppliers from the beginning. They need to understand the data you expect to receive from them, as well as what data quality expectations you have.
If you are a nonautomotive supplier who is using IMDS to meet requirements, communicate with your customers and get answers to any IMDS questions you have as soon as they come up so you can prevent potential issues. Also, make sure your own suppliers know what the IMDS expectations are.
With the recent global supply chain issues we have seen, communicating early and setting clear expectations with your supply chain can pave the way for smoother compliance for months and years to come.
Minimize Single Points of Failure
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the job market has seen drastic changes. Job turnover has increased as workers are more motivated to find jobs that truly fit their professional goals and desires. This may mean you find yourself more frequently needing to fill positions.
But your IMDS compliance can’t wait weeks, or potentially months, for you to find a new employee. You also don’t want to put your reporting on hold if your IMDS expert is out sick unexpectedly. This is why it’s important to have more than one IMDS compliance expert on your team.
Take stock of your company’s IMDS reporting abilities, and if you have a potential single point of failure, consider adding to the team or training other employees in IMDS.
Setting an employee loose in IMDS without proper training can put your materials data and customer relationships at risk. Having a well-trained compliance team essential to successfully meeting IMDS requirements.
Make sure your employees are trained in IMDS either through your own internal training or with a course like Tetra Tech’s online IMDS training. With Tetra Tech’s training, you can choose from three levels—Basic, Standard, and Advanced—to meet the needs of a variety of compliance team members.
Your employees also need to know of any company-specific IMDS practices you have such as conflict minerals reporting. Make sure any processes are well-documented, and consider developing a succinct internal IMDS training for new employees to make sure they understand company IMDS expectations.
Create a Resource Database
Providing your compliance team with all the IMDS data they need will not only help you minimize points of failure caused by employee turnover, but will also give your working IMDS team access to quick-reference solutions for issues they may encounter.
Create a resource database that contains the information your compliance team needs to perform their job and also includes company data that will be useful. This will include things like IMDS login credentials, company contact information, company IMDS policies, OEM/customer requirements, and IMDS support documents.
Gather all of this information together digitally, and create a file that can be accessed by those on your team who may need it. By having this easy-to-access resource, team members should be able to quickly find answers to questions they may have, ultimately saving time.
Prepare for IMDS Updates
DXC Technology, the company behind IMDS, frequently updates IMDS to keep it relevant to the latest in regulatory requirements and customer needs. In 2021, they released IMDS 13.0, which gave users new features like support for multi-sourcing and increased precision for portions.
In 2023, they plan to release IMDS 14.0, which will include changes such as the ability to add extended company contact information and improvements for reporting recyclate and bio-based materials.
To keep your compliance team running as effectively as possible, stay up to date on the latest IMDS releases. IMDS provides release notes prior to their software updates so you can know what to expect. When the IMDS updates go live, make sure your team is prepared to use the newest features. These features are usually introduced to make reporting more efficient and more accurate, so you will want to begin using them as soon as possible.
Get IMDS Support
IMDS can be a daunting software, especially for new employees. To create a strong foundation for IMDS compliance in 2023, make sure your team is ready to meet challenges related to supply chain issues, staff turnover, and software updates.
Find IMDS support with compliance services from Tetra Tech. Our expert team has been with IMDS from the beginning, and we can provide your team with the support needed to meet your compliance regulations and customer requirements in 2023. Contact us at [email protected] today.