With this information in mind, i2 said it understood that any approach to addressing the environmental requirements must encompass a combination of content, application software and business process. Therefore, its Hazardous Materials Management solution begins with content, which provides the information core for the hazardous materials management environment, including material and substance data, manufacturability data, and the information requirements for item, supplier and product data.
The application software is then used for information management and product decision support. i2 said HMM is being developed with capabilities for content management, component and supplier management, design for environment, product analysis, and reporting. The solution will be designed to extend to include strategic sourcing and supplier management.
According to Peter Lachapelle, i2 vice president, Content, "These new regulations force companies to review items included in all bills of materials for both existing and new products. To truly 'go green,' the industry is going to need detailed information on millions of items from thousands of suppliers. Many clients are underestimating the time or effort required to create standardized HAZMAT information for each item."
The impact on information technology (IT) is perhaps as great as any other part of the company, added Tony Grzesik, i2 vice president, SRM. But, generally speaking, IT has been slow to react. This is partly due to the economic realities of the past few years, wherein IT budgets have been significantly reduced from prior levels. Another contributing factor is a lack of education on the topic.
"Companies are now scrambling to make up for lost time, and they need third party help," Grzesik said. "Most companies don't have the luxury of resources, time or expertise to do this on their own."
That why, he said, i2's ability to address the problem makes sense, given the company's content and sourcing solution heritage. "We are building the solution based on our technology and best-practices experience in the areas of content, product sourcing and supply management, which should allow us to offer customers shorter time-to-compliance and lower total cost of ownership."
Grzesik concluded: "The next two years will be challenging times for product development, supply management, manufacturing operations and IT. They will need to deal with product re-designs, supply shortages, manufacturing line changes, regulatory compliance reporting, and new information management requirements."