Without standardization, our world would run quite differently.
In the mid 19th century, Greenwich Mean Time was adopted across Great Britain in large part to standardize time between local villages and regulate train stops. Since then, we’ve adopted a standardized world clock, and it’s difficult to imagine a world without it.
From outlets to bedding, a world without standardization would be unnecessarily convoluted.
It only makes sense that the same concepts are applied to supply chain data, particularly when suppliers receive hundreds, if not thousands, of customer requests for data a year. Industry standardization efforts, such as the Conflict Minerals Reporting Template (CMRT), the Slavery and Trafficking Risk Template (STRT), and IPC-1752 promote efficiency against supply chain data collection.
The electronics industry was an early adopter of standardization, advocating for IPC-1752 and more. Learn more in our ebook, Understanding the Compliance Landscape: Electronics.
Some efforts are industry-driven, such as the aerospace and defense industrys drive for the IPC-1754 standard, while others are government-driven, such as the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA)s Substances of Concern In articles, as such or in complex objects (Products) (SCIP) database, but standardization is happening on a smaller scale, too. Companies with multiple departments and business units are undergoing change to consistently collect and report on the supply chain, collaborating to reduce supplier burden and centralize data storage.
Company-Wide Benefits From Standardized Corporate Programs
Adopting consistent, company-wide data processes and industry-templates benefit corporate compliance programs by:
- Demonstrating compliance.
- Properly planned templates and standards can allow a company to collect the necessary data to manage multiple regulations. For example, a full material disclosure (FMD) can be used to demonstrate compliance with the EU Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation, and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) Regulation and Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive.
- Managing requests.
- Companies can more efficiently manage the increasing amounts of data requests they receive from customers, while also minimizing incidences of repeat requests through a standardized response. Some companies have even made their standard IPC-1752A files publicly available on their websites, which further aids with compliance by simplifying upstream requests by allowing compliance team members to access and download information on their own.
- Leveraging expertise.
- Its more efficient to implement an expert-designed template than research and build a template internally. With many templates, such as the Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI)s free to use CMRT, its cost-effective and aligned with regulatory expectations.
- Reducing supplier fatigue.
- When suppliers are responding in a standard template, they are more likely to have a response prepared. A centralized program is also less likely to repeat requests for the same, or similar, data from suppliers.
- Informing product development.
- When data is standardized in its storage and availability, it is more accessible to relevant company stakeholders, such as engineers, who may leverage the data for product development.
- By collecting standardized data, validation efforts can be made consistent and refined, or established technology solution validation methods can be easily applied.
Many technology solutions will leverage standards and templates, such as IPC-1752, IPC-1754, the CMRT, FMDs, the Cobalt Reporting Template (CRT), and the STRT. The Assent Compliance Platform is designed with regulatory expertise to collect, manage, report, and validate data in commonly used standards, while providing a centralized supply chain data management hub for companies.