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The Future of IMDS: Part Two

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This is part of a series in which we recap sessions from the 2023 IMDS & Product Chemical Compliance Conference. The previous newsletter covered part one of The Future of IMDS, which can be read here. Here’s part two.

Chemical and sustainability information demands are increasing, and while IMDS is the tool to supply this information, a more dynamic approach and a more refined release process are needed and are in the works.

These were the key takeaways from the IMDS Steering Committee Update during the 2023 IMDS & Product Chemical Compliance Conference.

Committee chairperson Matt Griffin gave the presentation virtually from the United Kingdom. Griffin is also the senior technical specialist in hazardous materials compliance at Jaguar Land Rover Limited. He looked at IMDS future challenges and the strategic approach that the IMDS Steering Committee is adopting to be able to address them. The previous newsletter covered part one of his presentation, which can be read here. Let’s dive into part two.

Future Enhancements
Griffin gave an overview of the latest release states and what’s on deck.

Release 14.1 came out on Aug. 9. To recap, 14.1 puts a rejection in the inbox, has a default assignment of the organization unit when the user logs on, adds SCIP material category by ID, checks changes in hidden data, has application code changes for ELV Annex II, and adds a default contact to legacy data.

Release 14.2 went into the model office for testing Oct. 17 and was slated for production on Nov. 15. It adds a new search parameter “valid MDSs” if searching for published MDSs, allows a high concentration of gold in classification 7.2, and ignores pre-release 14.0 materials with “filler (dual use)” substances in the check for filled thermoplastics.

Release notes for 14.1 and 14.2 are available in IMDS here.

A possible Release 14.3 is also being considered. The IMDS Steering Committee had its biannual meeting with suppliers earlier in October in Germany, and suppliers shared recommendations for enhancements, the easiest of which the committee is considering expediting in a 14.3 release, as opposed to waiting for Release 15. That would be expected in the first or second quarter of 2024.

For Release 15, enhancements are currently being prioritized, and the product carbon footprint has entered the refinement phase, with an expected release in the second half of 2024.

IMDS Release Process
Griffin also went over the release process. Currently, there’s a lot of upfront planning, creating huge releases, long release cycles, and mainly focusing on agile development practices.

“We are looking at opportunities to improve this, which will help us find some of the issues and bugs a lot quicker,” Griffin said. “The quicker that we can get something into the model office and get it tested — that’s where we find most of our bugs, and the supplier organizations do a lot of testing for us as well and get feedback to us, and it's really helpful in improving the quality of those releases.”

The goal is to get to a more agile, customer-centric, end-to-end approach. This would be a DevOps approach with development and operations in one cross-functional team. It would allow for continuous delivery, delivering functionalities to the test environment earlier, continuous deployment into the model office, release on demand, and flexible releases.

The improved approach would allow for more and smaller releases, a more flexible enhancement list, and a more detailed upfront release documentation. The latter will help users understand how the application is meant to work. “It will help them in the testing environment, and it will help the integrators have better planning for their own software changes for their third-party software,” Griffin noted.

In summary, chemical and sustainability information demands are increasing, and IMDs is the tool to supply this information. “The whole supply chain is using it,” Griffin said. “We are in a very unique position to get all that information added to a system that we're already using, but we do need a more dynamic approach.” The IMDS Steering Committee is refining the release process to deliver more manageable releases. He concluded, “So, when you first see these releases, they should be better planned and better tested than previously because there's more opportunity to do the testing as smaller releases are placed into the model office.”

These topics and more will be covered at the 2024 Hybrid IMDS & Product Chemical Compliance Conference at Laurel Manor in Livonia, Michigan. Save the dates October 15-16, and stay tuned for announcements. Registration will open in April.

About the Presenter
Matt Griffin is the senior technical specialist for hazardous materials compliance at Jaguar Land Rover Limited. He is the current chairperson of the IMDS Steering Committee and an active member of the ACEA Materials and Substance Work Group, working on REACH, ELV legislation, and vehicle interior air quality. Griffin was also part of the ISO team that developed the ISO 12219 vehicle interior air quality and component emission standards.



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