Ease REACH Compliance

Effective documentation management is key.

By Brian Everett, itelligence

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This pre-registration process flow requires a fluid structure and underscores the importance of integrating and prioritizing data. In addition to the extensive number of dossiers and data sheets needed for registration, companies also must manage questionnaires and related forms throughout the supply-chain to guarantee safe footing within a network of REACH compliance. A sophisticated automated documentation-management system will include a supply-chain collaboration component that can prioritize and define tasks relating to requests for information.

REACH registrants must submit all documents to the ECHA via the IUCLID5 database. An automated documentation-management system — when supported by a comprehensive ERP solution — can interface with IUCLID5. The system fills IUCLID5 with data on chemical substances; alternatively, it can retrieve complementary data from IUCLID5 to round out internal documents. In addition to saving time and preventing redundant work, this seamless push/pull capability helps ensure that information within the organization accurately corresponds with data used by the ECHA during the evaluation phase.

Following successful registration, the organization relies on the automated solution for oversight of continued compliance throughout the supply chain. The ongoing exchange of up-to-date documentation (MSDS, exposure scenarios, etc.) ensures that supply-chain activities run smoothly, perhaps even more smoothly than before the advent of REACH. Compliance checks allow the company to make sure supply isn't disrupted due to missing registrations on the supplier side and that overall business operations adhere to REACH standards throughout the supply chain.

Having built a strong base of collaboration with partners, chemical companies can proceed to track and trace substances. At-a-glance determination of a substance's location establishes who's responsible for maintaining the integrity of the substance throughout each step of the product lifecycle. As automated solutions generate MSDS and other relevant information for suppliers and customers during the procurement and sales processes, a discrete identity for the substance in question begins to build. This identity develops seamlessly as the system integrates shipping and safety information. Should a product become compromised, internal personnel can quickly determine which supply-chain partner had possession of the product and the manner in which procedures fell beneath REACH standards.

The Impact of REACH
The effects of REACH will be wide ranging and long lasting. Companies that can properly organize information will achieve the obvious goal of obtaining substance permits — but REACH compliance is not an end in itself. While establishing a documentation-management system will certainly help satisfy REACH requirements the alignment and integration of data also will allow organizations to function more efficiently. The registration process is demanding; continued compliance requires determination and possible system upgrades. However, during this initial pain period companies will set up the kinds of efficient practices that ultimately present opportunities to achieve greater prominence in the chemical marketplace.

REACH establishes a strong precedent. Regardless of whether regions outside the EU decide to follow suit, commerce of all varieties recently has experienced increased government intervention, e.g., recent high-profile recalls within the process-related food industry. With REACH now in effect, future regulations and government oversight seem more likely than not. REACH-compliant companies will position themselves to meet demands going forward. These companies not only will have compliance solutions in place but also will have cultivated a progressive organizational culture in which personnel collaborate across all departments to fully capitalize on those solutions. REACH prompts companies to commit to tracking and tracing, as well as to adopting streamlined processes throughout the supply chain.

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