The Client: One of the largest data storage device manufacturers in the world

Overview

With over one million data records to process and filter, the client found it increasingly challenging to accurately track and report their use of conflict minerals to customers. The MetricStream Conflict Minerals Compliance Management App enabled the client to automate data capturing, processing, filtering, and reporting, as well as supplier survey management. Thus, the client was able to save time and effort, while strengthening conflict minerals traceability and customer reporting.

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Solution

Among the conflict minerals solution providers evaluated by the client, MetricStream emerged as the preferred choice because of their scalable, automated, and integrated app for conflict minerals management which simplifies compliance with the conflict minerals rule.

Since its implementation at the client organization, the MetricStream Conflict Minerals Compliance Management App has enabled the client to consolidate, map, and report their conflict minerals processes and data much more quickly and efficiently than before. The app streamlines and automates conflict minerals management – right from capturing product, supplier, and smelter information, to triggering supplier surveys. It also strengthens customer reporting through powerful data filtering capabilities.

Built on a scalable platform that extends across the enterprise, the MetricStream Conflict Minerals Compliance Management App supports and enables the following processes at the client organization:

Conflict Minerals Information Mapping

The app captures and links together data on products, suppliers, and conflict minerals in a centralized, tightly integrated structure and hierarchy. For each finished product, the app helps create a BoM with comprehensive information on the product materials, suppliers and sub-suppliers, 3TG elements, and smelters. This highly detailed data hierarchy enables the client to not only enhance conflict minerals traceability, but also filter through the data easily, and quickly generate customer-specific reports.

Integration of Conflict Minerals Data from External Systems

Much of the client’s product and supplier data is distributed across various systems. Earlier, this siloed approach made it difficult to identify when changes occurred to products, components, or supplier details. Some of these changes would result in new conflict minerals risks. Therefore, it was essential to identify these changes in time, and then conduct a risk assessment survey on the corresponding suppliers.

The MetricStream app overcomes this hurdle by providing a single, centralized repository to integrate and process conflict minerals related data from multiple systems. At regular intervals, the client gathers information on suppliers, associated products, and components with 3TG elements from three different systems in the organization. This data is then fed into the MetricStream app as flat files.

The app automatically processes the data based on pre-defined rules and algorithms, and highlights changes in BoMs, products, suppliers, and components. For instance, if a memory chip has changed, the app identifies the finished product (laptop), maps it to the new memory chip, identifies the new supplier, and then determines if a conflict minerals survey needs to be sent out to that supplier. If so, it automatically triggers the survey.

Supplier Survey Management

The MetricStream app streamlines the complete process of planning, scheduling, managing, distributing, and tracking supplier surveys and declarations. The client’s suppliers from across the globe can easily log into the app’s cloud-delivered portal to complete the surveys, or they can fill in their responses offline and upload the data.

A central repository stores all supplier responses with version-control capabilities and accurate audit trails. Meanwhile, automated supplier alerts, notifications, and escalation mechanisms help ensure that suppliers complete the surveys in a timely manner. Built-in business rules strengthen survey data validation, and automatically raise red flags for incongruous supplier responses.

Reporting

The MetricStream app provides interactive info-centers and reports that efficiently track changes in suppliers, products, or components. The app also monitors the status of supplier surveys to evaluate conflict minerals risks.

BoMs created in the solution provide detailed information on products, components, 3TG elements, suppliers, declarations, and smelters. The client can easily sift through this data to create customer reports. For instance, they can filter product lines by smelters, or finished products by 3TG elements, or 3TG elements by smelters. This dynamic data sifting has made it simple to generate reports for customers based on their unique data requirements.

 

Challenges

In compliance with the Conflict Minerals Rule, the client has a strong due diligence process to ensure that the metals and minerals used to manufacture their data storage devices do not directly or indirectly contribute to human rights violations in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The client also generates comprehensive reports that detail the use of conflict minerals in their products. This information is needed by the company’s downstream customers to file their own conflict minerals reports with the SEC.

Earlier, the client’s conflict minerals compliance and reporting processes were managed in a manner that was highly manual and cumbersome. Depending on the type of report required by each customer, the client had to scour through over one million records to identify the products supplied to that customer, the materials in each product, the presence of 3TG (tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold), the associated suppliers, and the smelters from where the 3TG elements were obtained.

All this information had to be captured, organized and mapped together in a structured hierarchy leveraging the Bill of Materials (BOM) data. This information was then used to create reports for the customer, and file the client’s own conflict minerals reports with the SEC.

Given the scale of the effort - the client has over 1,000 suppliers, hundreds of thousands of materials, and more than a million records – it often took weeks to prepare a single customer report. This, in turn, made it difficult to meet reporting deadlines. Since there was so much data that had to be manually managed and processed, it wasn’t uncommon to end up with data redundancies or multiple versions of the same customer or supplier report. Most of the data was maintained on large, bulky spreadsheets that were complex to navigate and filter.

The other challenge was managing changes to the BoM, supplier database, or product details. Every time a change occurred, it had to be manually identified and tracked, mapped to the existing data, and then used to identify if a new conflict minerals survey had to be sent out to the suppliers. This process was often tedious, time-consuming, and complex.

The client needed a way to automate and accelerate their conflict minerals data processing, filtering, reporting, and change management. That would allow them to generate customer reports swiftly and efficiently, while saving time and costs, minimizing data redundancies and duplication of effort, and also strengthening visibility into conflict minerals data.

Benefits

  • Quicker, Easier Conflict Minerals Reporting
    By automating conflict minerals data processing, filtering, and reporting, the MetricStream app has saved the client a significant amount of time and effort, and accelerated the creation of customer reports. It has also helped the client strengthen their own efforts to comply with the conflict minerals rule.
  • Improved Conflict Minerals Traceability
    The MetricStream app provides comprehensive visibility into the client’s products, BoMs, components, 3TG elements, suppliers, and smelters. All this data is mapped together, enabling the client to easily determine where their conflict minerals lie, and what the associated risks are.
  • Automatic Identification of Changes in Data
    Instead of struggling to manually identify changes in products, suppliers, or components, the client lets the MetricStream app do the work of integrating the data from multiple systems, and then processing that data based on advanced algorithms to highlight changes that need to be addressed.
  • Streamlined Supplier Survey Management
    Survey management has become highly systematic, consistent, and automated. Whenever there is a change or gap in product or supplier data, the MetricStream app automatically triggers a survey to the relevant suppliers, and follows up through alerts. All survey responses are housed in a central system for optimal visibility.

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