There are several questions companies can ask to determine which software solution will best meet its needs.
What is available for free?
The Dashboard can be downloaded free of charge from the EICC-GeSI website here. The dashboard is a desktop tool that assists companies and their suppliers to consolidate information from multiple templates, enables data analysis, and aggregates data from various smelters.
Where is the company located in the supply chain?
Companies should determine what systems its customers or suppliers are using. Is the chosen software system compatible with its customers’ and/or suppliers’ systems? Do either its customers or suppliers have to disclose to the SEC?
What is the industry sector doing?
Each industry is different. Factors like how consolidated an industry is or the number of steps between assembly and smelter must be taken into account. In some cases, an industry-wide approach makes the most sense and a company may want to encourage its industry association to take the lead.
The Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) for example, has developed and adopted a Conflict Minerals Platform, which is a web-based tool that enables companies to aggregate data from the EICC-GeSI Template. Automotive companies are encouraging their supply chain participants to adopt this tool to improve efficiency, lessen the burden of having to use different tools for each customer, and to standardize the reporting mechanism.
How complicated is the supplier base?
How broad are the industries that the company interacts with? Companies like GE, for example, manufacture everything from airplane engines to appliances to light bulbs. Such companies may buy directly from a smelter for some of their products and for others the smelters may be buried many tiers down in their supply chain. In this case, it may make more sense to use a software system that is tailored to meet the specific needs of the parent company since it is managing so many diverse suppliers at different levels of the manufacturing process.
Companies don’t have to reinvent the wheel and they don’t have to “go it alone.” Several online tools are already available and industry associations with an eye to minimizing costs are willing to promote systems all of their members can use.
Next page: Software solutions
Ready to take the next step? Here's some good resources to investigate:
Assent Compliance: http://www.assentcompliance.com/Conflict-Minerals-Services/
Foresite Systems: http://www.foresitesystems.com/
Greensoft Technology: http://www.
iPoint Systems: http://www.conflict-minerals.com/en/start-page/
Source 44: http://source-44.com/cm