Industry-lead conflict minerals web database wins enviro award
EP&T MagazineElectronics Production / Materials
An industry-lead conflict minerals and RoHS, REACH web database system for suppliers, www.BOMcheck.net, has been awarded 2014 Top Product of the Year in the Environmental Leader Product & Project Awards.
The awards recognize excellence in products and services that provide companies with environmental benefits. Scores were determined by a panel of independent judges.
www.BOMcheck.net is an industry collaboration led by Philips, Siemens, GE, Osram, Sony Mobile, Schneider Electric, Toshiba, Agfa, Texas Instruments and TE Connectivity to share one web database system to manage supply chain compliance. The web system is easy to use and enables suppliers to create and share standardized high quality materials declarations with their manufacturer customers. BOMcheck is highlighted in corporate videos produced by Siemens and Philips and is currently used by over 560 manufacturers to gather materials declarations from over 3,500 suppliers worldwide for more than 1.6-million parts. The system is supported by SGS which uses BOMcheck to provide EN 50581 RoHS compliance assessment services.
BOMcheck benefits manufacturers because they don’t need to spend time and money building their own declaration collection systems, training suppliers to use them, or keeping them up-to-date with constantly changing regulations. Manufacturers also achieve increased quality and response rate for supplier materials declarations. BOMcheck benefits suppliers because they only have one list of regulated substances to create material declarations against, and only need to learn to use one system to provide material declarations and conflict minerals information to their manufacturer customers. Suppliers also receive expert chemicals guidance on regulated substances.
Without using the database, manufacturers face alternatives such as purchasing data from resellers who collect “full material disclosure” data from suppliers, for example by copying data from the supplier’s website or asking them to provide their data by email. Suppliers use a wide range of tools to provide data in different formats including PDF, Excel, Word, XML. Some low-to-medium cost data resellers may resell the supplier’s data in the original format provided by the supplier. Other higher cost data resellers may carry out a basic review of data quality and offer to convert the supplier’s data into industry standard formats. In both cases the reseller is limited by the quality of the data that the supplier is willing to share. Comparison with leading data resellers confirms that the standardized tools which suppliers use in BOMcheck provide higher quality materials declarations at lower cost to manufacturers.
BOMcheck also helps manufacturers to manage compliance to the SEC’s conflict mineral rule which requires US-listed companies to disclose whether their products contain certain metals (tin, tantalum, tungsten, or gold) and whether these metals originate from rebel-held mines which are funding armed conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) region.
BOMcheck is the first web database system to work with the Conflict-Free Sourcing Initiative to validate any new smelters that suppliers identify so that they can be added to the smelter list and invited to join the Conflict-Free Smelter Program. Other web platforms allow suppliers to submit smelter lists containing incorrect entries for organizations that are not smelters (for example, London Bullion Market Association). If these incorrect entries are included by first tier suppliers then the manufacturer can leverage their contractual relationships to ask these suppliers to investigate. However, if the incorrect entries are rolled-up from second tier suppliers’ smelters lists then it is virtually impossible for the manufacturer to get them investigated and corrected. These incorrect entries represent data gaps in the manufacturer’s due diligence program which prevents them from working towards “DRC conflict free” status.