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Top 2023 IMDS Helpdesk Recap

helpdesk - blog

This is part of a series in which we recap sessions from the 2023 IMDS & Product Chemical Compliance Conference.

Have you ever wondered what comes through the IMDS Helpdesk? It's quite busy, and there is plenty of knowledge to gain from learning about it. A session at the 2023 IMDS & Product Chemical Compliance Conference titled “Top 2023 IMDS Helpdesk Issues, Escalations, & Rejections” offered interesting insights.

The presentation was given by Chuck LePard, an Environmental, Social & Governance Senior Consultant at DXC Technology and the Americas Representative for the International Material Data System & Compliance Data Exchange. He reviewed the top helpdesk escalations/customer rejection concerns provided to the English-speaking automotive supply chain by the IMDS Helpdesk during the prior 12 months. We’re bringing you the highlights.

LePard noted that the number of IMDS registered companies has grown steadily since 2002, with almost 700,000 IMDS users as of fall 2023. “IMDS isn’t going anywhere, and the amount of information it contains is quite amazing,” LePard said.

One thing that has changed is where the top IMDS users are located. When IMDS started, Germany was No. 1, and the U.S. was No. 2. Today, China is No. 1 and Germany is No. 2, with Japan t No. 3, and the U.S. having dropped to No. 4.

Another thing to observe about IMDS is that updates have been coming out more frequently lately. Release 14 was in May 2023, 14.1 in August 2023, and 14.2 in October 2023. “This is the first time in my career with IMDS that we’ve had three releases ... all in the course of about five months. That’s huge,” he noted. While some of the changes that came in 14.0 were significant, those of 14.1 and 14.2 are minor, LePard said.

LePard expected to have a lot of helpdesk calls about the 14.0 and 14.1 releases since they were new, and he was correct. (14.2 was being released around the time of his presentation, so he didn’t have a report on that yet.) Here was his summary of the 2023 IMDS releases:

Release 14.0

  • Structure Mix (Mixed Nodes)
  • SC90 for filled/unfilled thermoplastics
  • Extended contact information
  • Revealing confidential declarable substances
  • Check for old MDSs (10-Year Rule)
  • Chemical recycling and bio-based materials

Release 14.1

  • Inbox/Outbox search result rejection reason
  • Search for SCIP Material Category by ID
  • Default selection of Org.-Unit in new MDSs
  • No error sending MDSs with default contact
  • Error for inactive application codes
  • Error for editable references to hidden data
  • Split AC 5(b)
  • Rename AC 8(f)(a) and 8(f)(b)

A pattern LePard has noticed over several years is that contacts to the helpdesk subdivide into three categories:

  1. New or occasional users who need training more than helpdesk support
  2. Users knowledgeable about mature features yet unfamiliar with new changes or supplying to a new/changed client with unfamiliar idiosyncrasies
  3. Users who know the system well, actively study new features, and raise well-considered questions. Most of them are members of AIAG, CLEPA, or JAPIA.

LePard said the new automated tools for regaining account access are working, as 2023 was the first year with nearly as many application cases as access cases.

“I'm thrilled by the fact that the new automated tools have made this the first year ever in the 20-plus years of IMDS operation where we had almost as many questions asking, ‘How do I do this?’ as we did saying, ‘My company administrator left. I'm locked out of my account. How do I get access again?’ That's a big deal for us because that's really what the helpdesk is supposed to be doing,” LePard stated.

LePard shared the following visuals to illustrate the top helpdesk issues and known rejection reasons of 2023:






LePard ended his presentation by encouraging people to join the AIAG Chemical Management and Reporting Workgroup and the Recommendations and Documentation Subgroup. To get involved with either or both, contact Lecedra Welch Jones at LWelch-Jones@AIAG.org or Mark Mroz at MMroz@aiag.org.

These topics and more will be covered at the 2024 Hybrid IMDS, Product Chemical Compliance, & Sustainability Conference from October 15-17, 2024, at Laurel Manor in Livonia, Michigan. Registration is now open.

About the Presenter
Chuck LePard is an Environmental, Social & Governance Senior Consultant at DXC Technology and is the Americas Representative for the International Material Data System & Compliance Data Exchange. LePard works with multiple industry associations and standards bodies. During his career of 40-plus years, he has helped clients in a wide range of industries. He is a U.S. Navy veteran with degrees in electrical and computer engineering and computer science.



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