Succeed at Product Compliance

Automated activities throughout a product's lifecycle can play a key role.

By Frank Arcadi, IHS

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Tips for automating supply chain communications:
• The built-in interrelations between products, raw materials, substances, and uses dictate the sequence of communication within the supply chain. An automated supply-chain communication system should be able to determine what must be communicated and confirmed with both customers and suppliers.
• Communications should be done electronically and tracked so that follow-up activities meet business and regulatory deadlines.
• Dashboard views and advanced reporting capabilities enable a firm to see the impact of raw material changes, the addition of a substance on the SVHC (substance of very high concern) list or the complete replacement or substitution of a raw material.

Implementing compliance into the product lifecycle is an ongoing process that poses numerous challenges. At the core of any product compliance solution is the regulatory content. Without accurate data, a company can't fully achieve product stewardship goals. The firm must incorporate and automate the same, centralized data throughout its business processes to ensure consistent and efficient decision-making.

In this new era of sustainability, the entire value chain is responsible for the compliance of substances and finished products. A company must make product compliance a strategic initiative -- to design in approved substances at the beginning of the product lifecycle, plan for a product retirement, and work with compliant supply chain partners. Sophisticated communication and traceability tools are essential to engage with these partners as part of the extended compliance team.

Only when a company fully automates product compliance throughout the product lifecycle and value chain can it achieve optimal product stewardship performance.

FRANK ARCADI is St. Laurent, Que.-based senior director, EHS and sustainability solutions, for IHS, Englewood, Colo. E-mail him at

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