Protect Your Company
We know companies lose sales for the following reasons:
- Procurement requirements change
- Best price doesn’t guarantee the sale
- Competitors are better at compliance
- Lack of transparency creates doubt
With trained experts in regulatory compliance, we help you identify the risks to your business from lost sales to stop shipments, fines, and fees at customs. We help you develop the internal processes and documentation needed to manage compliance across your organization and provide you with a go forward plan to achieve compliance for multiple regulations.
We partner with industry leaders in compliance automation and data collection to build a solution tailored to your company’s specific compliance needs.
Ask Yourself …
Are my products safe?
Can I prove it?
The BCA Advantage
- Knowledge experts with over 15 years in the compliance industry
- Managed solutions for compliance program development, training, and data collection
- Short and long term engagements that align with company budgets
- Retainers for consulting hours when you want answers fast
- Alliances with compliance and data collection companies across the United States and Europe
- Strong affiliate relationships with leaders in the compliance software industry
Services – How We Help
Helping you manage continuously changing regulations with industry expertise.
Review product lines, suppliers, and materials at risk and receive a go-forward compliance plan
Acquire material declarations, full material disclosures, and certifications for standard and custom parts
Identify and work with high-risk suppliers to meet compliance requirements
Knowledge and Expertise
- Conflict Minerals
- Prop 65
- China RoHS
- Supplier Code of Conduct
- Export Compliance
- ISO 9001
- Business Continuity
- Risk Management
- EU MDR
- SCIP Notification Duty is Jan 2021May 28, 2020Companies are concerned with the new REACH SCIP notification duty in January 2021. Many are unsure of their obligations and what type of data needs to be reported. In this article, we’ll discuss the basic requirements and how your company can upload sample data to get started. What is SCIP? SCIP stands for Substances of Concern In (articles or complex objects) Products. This database is the newest requirement added to EU REACH compliance. There are three reasons the database was created. Firstly, the database was created to better track chemicals entering the European Union. Secondly, its purpose is to drive the use of less toxic alternates and substitutes, and thirdly, protecting workers in recycling and the waste stream is critical. All three reasons lead to an overarching goal of creating a healthier and safer circular economy. A circular economy in simplistic terms is where safe material inputs become outputs and less waste is produced, continuing the loop until all materials are used completely or to a definitive end. Thus avoiding the waste stream for as long as possible and lessening the burden on raw materials. If you follow this logic, it is easy to understand how the SCIP database ties together tightly with the latest updates to the Waste Framework Directive. When is it in Effect? Producers, importers, assemblers, and distributors placing product on the EU market have a compliance obligation. If the product has an SVHC that exceeds the REACH Candidate list thresholds then a SCIP notification must be submitted. There is a legal obligation to notify the commission. The enforcement of the live SCIP database is January 5, 2021. Does my Company Need to Submit a Notification? Your company is only required to enter data into SCIP if your parts or products, articles, and complex articles are above the specified EU REACH thresholds for a particular SVHC. However, if all of your articles are below the threshold, then no reporting is required. Is There a Practice SCIP Database? Yes. On February 17, 2020 ECHA released the prototype version of the SCIP database. This prototype enables your company to try out the process and submit temporary data for upload. The test data will be cleared during October 2020 and official submittals will begin. We highly recommend you give the prototype database a try. It would be best to get practice submitting data over the summer before the official database is launched beginning October 2020. Remember the SCIP Notification Duty is Jan 2021! Click Here to Go to ECHA SCIP Test Database – Try Adding a Sample Notification for Your Article Getting Advice Moreover, no matter what stage of EU REACH compliance your company is at we can help you build the plan, gather your compliance data, assess your risk, and get the SCIP notifications completed on time. Learn more about BCA product compliance solutions! Contact Us...
- COVID-19 Business Continuity StrategiesApril 27, 2020Where are we Now COVID-19 business continuity strategies are on the minds of all managers. As we move through the crisis, we continue to help new and existing customers get the compliance training, consulting, and risk analysis they need to sell their products around the world. Many clients want to talk about preparing for the future and reducing business risks. Business continuity is once again on many manager’s minds. Risk management is once again a very relevant topic. This week I had the chance to read several articles by Patrick Ow. Mr. Ow is an international risk management writer with over 25 years of experience across a variety of industries and companies. He wrote several books on risk management and most recently articles on practical COVID-19 business continuity strategies. Risk Management & Business Continuity With his permission, I am republishing excerpts from three of his articles over the next weeks. He will also be our next guest on the next BlueCircle Advisors Compliance Hour podcast. The podcast will be produced and ready early next week. This first excerpt focuses on planning for your work, workforce, and workplace during the current COVID-19 crisis. Ideas like building a threat map dashboard and employee deployment and mobility database are worth noting. Excerpt from “Checklist to develop your practical COVID-19 business continuity strategies (and next steps) by Patrick Ow. “Here are some practical considerations you need to make in developing and implementing your COVID-19 business continuity strategies for your organization or business, or even for yourself. If you already have some form of business continuity plans already developed, execute them. Otherwise, you have to take a practical short-cut and use the information below to flexibly develop your next steps as you go. COVID-19 has fundamentally changed the culture of workplaces, how people distribute work and deploy workforces, and how employers engage with their employees. In a time of crisis, trust is paramount This simple formula emphasizes the key elements of trust for individuals and for organizations in times of COVID-19 crisis: Trust = Transparency + Relationship + Experience The first priority should be safeguarding your employees — their immediate health and safety — followed by their economic well-being. This includes focusing on addressing employees’ psychological stress. Focus on your work, your workforce, and your workplace. Directors’ duties Directors need to constantly assess the foreseeable risk of harm to employees and their business including non-financial risks such as reputational harm and compliance with laws, to satisfy their directors’ duties. Boards and management teams will need to understand the impact of COVID-19 risks on their business and, where relevant, develop and implement contingency plans. Directors of listed companies will also need to consider the continuous disclosure ramifications of COVID-19. Identify members of your management response team for COVID-19 Apart from the CEO, select/nominate members from your senior management team to be part of the COVID-19 management response team. Then assign clear responsibilities. Establish emergency response teams right away in order to assess the risks and formulate response strategies after conducting robust scenario planning, which significantly improved the epidemic response mechanisms and toolkits. Create subteams to manage specific work streams such as communications, legal, finance, and operations. The team’s responsibilities can be summarized as follows: Acting as the single source of truth for issue resolution.Ensuring that sufficient resources are deployed where and when needed.Coordinating actions across the work streams of all teams, based on scenarios and triggers.Aligning team leaders on scenarios, with the help of round-tables and other exercises as needed. Establish a COVID-19 Response Coordinating Group The group will comprise of key operational representatives from IT, finance, operations, customer service, etc. The purpose of this coordinating group is to steer your organization operationally, serving as an important central information center, managing risks, issues and responses, and aligning all internal stakeholders by centrally coordinating all internal COVID-19 responses and projects. This will give a coordinated and integrated approach to your organization’s internal COVID-19 response, thus avoiding duplication of work and efforts across the department. The coordinating group can serve as the main source of information and a single source of truth where members discuss matters, creating communication and action plans, and aligning with key messages. The coordinating group could focus on the following deliverables: Creating a threat-map dashboard — using digital tools to create threat maps with real-time data imported from internal and public sources. For instance, location and numbers of employees working from home, list of critical services/functions/activities, critical employees required to perform critical services, and non-critical employee availability and mobility.Establishing an employee deployment and mobility database — Linked to (a) above, this database will capture skills and availability data from employees across the organization to facilitate a centrally coordinated staff deployment approach.Developing an integrated COVID-19 response plan — the coordinating group will get updates from key internal stakeholders — ideally, at least twice a week. Its members can then integrate these reports into a plan to ensure that all groups coordinate their efforts and follow best practices.Establishing a risk and issues log — while a threat map will make many risks visible, it will not capture every important development. If employees, teams or functions become aware of any additional threats, issues, and risks, they can immediately log the information in a database accessible to all employees, allowing the coordinating group to respond quickly with interventions.Establishing a ‘self-declaration’ work from home database — this database will discharge the organization’s responsibility under the applicable OSH requirements and employer’s duty of care for the provision of a safe working environment, even whilst working from home. Employees have an avenue to provide a ‘self-declaration’ that they have complied with all working from home policies and requirements, whilst ensuring that their homes are safe for carrying out the organization’s work.” Here is the link to the Medium.com article if you’d like to read more: https://medium.com/@patrickow/checklist-to-develop-your-practical-covid-19-business-continuity-strategies-8902e339d1c0 As always, you can reach the BlueCircle Advisors’ team by going to our contact page and dropping us a message: Contact Us! Stay safe!...
- COVID-19 & Product ComplianceMarch 18, 2020With the widespread appearance of COVID-19 around the globe, product compliance is more important than ever. First and above all, we hope that you and your loved ones are safe, healthy, and can do everything in your power to avoid contracting COVID-19. Now is the time to review the facts, listen to medical experts, and follow directions. We will make it through this tough time. Over the last four to six weeks, we have been on the road with little down time. We have been actively engaged in helping companies get products out the door to regions of the world that need it most. Our number one priority is to work with supply chains and tier 1 companies to get valuable supplies to those who need it. In addition to critical products, it is also important that we do what we can to stabilize the world’s economies. Everyone together can do this by keeping companies in business, people in jobs, and parts and products moving to where they are needed. Part of moving products around the world is understanding and complying with global product regulations. How have we helped? We are helping our clients by quickly training employees on material compliance regulations, starting compliance programs and data collection, as well as providing a gap assessment of where they are now and where they need to be. With travel limited and in some places shut down, we are being asked to provide compliance training and consulting via online sources. Currently, we offer training, consulting, and data collection services via our Zoom audio/video platform and through conference calls. We are in the process of building out online training to further reduce the need for global travel. Although we love being on site with customers and touring their facilities to better understand how products are made, now is not the time. If your company needs help with any of the global product regulations, whether it be training, consulting, and/or data collection – contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to our contact page and submit a request. We will respond quickly and help in whatever way we can. For up to date information on COVID-19, please check the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html Stay safe, stay healthy. We hope to talk with you soon....
- Brexit 2020 and Product ComplianceFebruary 4, 2020Many readers are asking if Brexit 2020 affects their product compliance programs. Here’s what the research tells us: On 31 January 2020 the UK exited the EU as a member state. The UK and EU are in the implementation period in which the “Withdrawal Act” by virtue of the European Union Act of 2020 is in effect. The act defines the operating parameters for the year 2020 regarding trade, regulations, and cross border provisions. The UK will continue to align with the EU regulations and enforce compliance to the existing laws until 31 December 2020. This transition affects EU RoHS and EU REACH. Both regulations will be recreated in the UK under the UK’s authority and guidelines by the end of 2020. In addition, the UK will have its own testing, customs, and enforcement bodies to monitor and control compliance to the new regulations. Companies placing products on the market in the UK and/or the EU will need to maintain two distinct compliance programs, as well as poll suppliers for declarations to both the UK and EU laws. Impacts to CE Marking During the implementation phase, the CE marking remains the same. A new set of processes and CE documentation will be developed for the UK during 2020. The CE marking for the EU will not apply to the UK in 2021. If your company relies on third party conformity assessments carried out by UK notified bodies, you’ll need to develop a new process for both the EU and the UK. This also applies to companies that self-certify. Free Movement of Goods Companies are concerned about the free movement of goods during this transition. This will remain as is until the implementation period is complete. At that time, companies will need to align with the new requirements set forth by the UK government. The free movement of people and goods will cease in 2021 as the UK sets forth its new trade and customs requirements. Contingency planning for inventories is a must for companies that frequently move materials, parts, or products freely across these borders today. Remember, product compliance is not only about obeying the laws, it is about sourcing, managing your supply chain, and defining competitive advantage. All of which leads to revenue protection. EU Commission Provides Guidance Doing business in the EU will change in this post-Brexit world. As such, the European Commission has developed a “Brexit Preparedness Checklist.” The downloadable guide is available at https://www.eubusiness.com/topics/sme/brexit-preparedness/. This checklist provides a list of topics to consider with regard to placing product on the market in the EU and UK moving forward. In Summary Brexit 2020 and product compliance need to be taken seriously. Businesses that place their products on the UK or the EU markets need to consider what steps to take in order to remain compliant. If your company uses a third party or notified body likely a re-assessment will need to be completed for the new UK requirements. Keep in mind, these organizations will be quite busy during this transition year. Plan ahead and get this completed as early as possible. Contact BlueCircle Advisors for Guidance on Brexit 2020 If you have any questions regarding what to do next, contact us! https://www.bluecircleadvisors.com/contact/...
- REACH Candidate List Hits 205 SVHCsJanuary 28, 2020On January 15, 2020, ECHA added 4 more substances to the EU REACH Candidate list. Complying with the regulation is critical to preventing stop shipments, fines, and fees in Europe. Any supplier who directly or indirectly supplies parts or products to the European market has the obligation to communicate the existence of SVHCs above the concentration of 0.1% (weight over weight). As a result, this includes communicating with the supply chain and any direct customers. Below are the 4 new SVHCs added to the Candidate List as of 1/15/2020: Perfluorobutane sulfonic acid (PFBS) and its saltsDiisohexyl phthalate (DIHP)2-methyl-1-(4-methylthiophenyl)-2-morpholinopropan-1-one2-benzyl-2-dimethylamino-4′-morpholinobutyrophenone To determine your company’s level of risk, assess the following: coatings, polycarbonates, plasticizers, inks, paints, resins, toners, polymers, and rubber compounds. Here is a link to the official Candidate list as provided by ECHA: https://echa.europa.eu/candidate-list-table Need help creating or managing a REACH compliance program? Reach out to us via the contact form on our website or email email@example.com ....
- REACH RoHS Training – CAJanuary 8, 2020Are you looking for a training course on REACH and RoHS in a sunny location in February? We have partnered with Compliance Online and will deliver a 2 day seminar on February 6-7, 2020 in beautiful San Diego, California. This 2 day seminar will review the specifics of the REACH and RoHS regulations, provide case studies and share lessons learned. You’ll sit beside industry peers who face the same compliance challenges that you do, while having the opportunity to share best practices and common mistakes. Topics covered in this 2 day seminar include: Articles and REACHSubstances of Very High Concerns (SVHC)Supply chain communicationCompliance enforcementBasics of RoHSBackground and content of RoHSResponsibility for RoHSInternational requirements of RoHSWEEE – background and connection to RoHSMaterial testing methodsMaterials regulations, the processes, and the programs neededRoHS 1 and 2 Compliance, plus the new 2019 amendmentREACH Candidate list (201) complianceUS Dodd-Frank Conflict Minerals ReportingImproving data collection by using Jig 101, IEC 62474, IPC 1752Managing suppliers with procurement contractsEffectively using technology for tracking and managing compliance Who should attend? All companies that ship products into the European UnionManufacturing ProfessionalsAnyone new to RoHS and or REACH Anyone responsible for RoHS and REACH complianceQuality professionalsEnvironmental managersPurchasing teamsProduct engineers For more information, sign up on the Compliance Online portal at the link below: https://www.complianceonline.com/rohs-reach-regulations-conflict-mineral-reporting-seminar-training-80428SEM-prdsm If your company is looking for onsite training for multiple team members, go to our contact page and let us know! Group pricing is available for all BCA onsite and remote classes. #saveonthecostofcompliance We look forward to seeing you at the seminar and as always, let’s make safer products, build ethical supply chains, and protect company revenues!...
- Top 5 Compliance Challenges of 2019January 1, 2020Before we (all of us compliance junkies, as well as those forced into this as a new job requirement) get slammed by the onslaught of regulatory changes in 2020, let’s take a look back at the challenges we faced in 2019. Hindsight is 2020! Ok…so let’s recap: 1. Update to RoHS 2 Just when you think you’ve got compliance to RoHS 2 down, an amendment comes along and adds more hazardous substances! Amendment EU 2015/863 references the restriction of the original 6 substances in RoHS. It also added four (4) new substances in the form of the phthalates: Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP)Butyl benzyl phthalate (BBP)Dibutyl phthalate (DBP)Diisobutyl phthalate (DIBP) Many of these substances are used broadly across the electronics industry. Start by looking at your products that contain soft plastics. Parts and products that have flexible tubing, coatings, buttons, lacquers, and PVC, all would be affected. 2. Additions to the EU REACH Candidate list (EU REACH 201) This is one of the most challenging regulations to keep up with as there are new adds every 6-9 months! In 2019, we saw the list add ten (10) new SVHCs. The current candidate list contains two-hundred and one (201) SVHCs. Here is a link to the ECHA website and Candidate list: https://echa.europa.eu/candidate-list-table How does this affect your job? It means you need to poll your suppliers again, making sure that the SVHCs are all below threshold levels. Suppliers need to disclose how much and where used in their parts and products. Ask your suppliers for an updated supplier declaration that references the EU REACH Candidate 201 list and store the new declaration in your records. We’ll keep you updated on developing changes, here on the blog! 3. Safe-Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (Proposition 65) This regulation is confusing to many companies. Companies are unsure whether or not they need to comply due to being part of a supply chain and/or not selling directly to consumers in California. This includes online sales. If your company places products on the market in California or has operations in California, you have an obligation to notify consumers and workers of any potential exposure. If your company is part of a supply chain and does not sell to a consumer or have operations in California, you do not have a legal obligation to comply. If your company sells to another company that incorporates your part or product into their product and then sells the product in California, there is a high likelihood one of your customers will expect you to comply. They will ask you for Prop 65 declarations and about your labeling program. Keep in mind, there are a little over one thousand (1,000) substances and materials on the Prop65 list as of September 13, 2019. Below is a link to the OEHHA website, where the list is maintained and managed: https://oehha.ca.gov/proposition-65/proposition-65-list Be prepared and be aware of Prop65 lawyers acting as bounty hunters! According to the state of California, there were over 843 settlements, totaling almost $26 million through the end of 2019. If you need help with building a Prop 65 program, drop us an email! 4. Companies Disclosing Conflict Minerals and the Use of Cobalt Companies have been bombarded with requests for U.S. Conflict Minerals disclosures since 2012. The U.S. Conflict Minerals regulation focuses on tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold (3TG) from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Complying with this regulation has been an enormous challenge for years. It requires companies to poll their supply chains for data that in many cases the company has not tracked in the past. It requires companies to determine the country of origin for 3TG materials as far back in the supply chain as the smelter. Thankfully the Responsible Business Alliance (formerly EICC-GeSi) has worked on a software polling tool the last 8 years. This tool is the de facto industry standard and it is also integrated into the major compliance software available today. Download the CMRT 5.12 template here: http://www.responsiblemineralsinitiative.org/reporting-templates/cmrt/ Another danger that was in the spotlight in 2019 was Cobalt. The processing involved in cobalt production has been proven to have serious toxic consequences for workers and those involved along the supply chain. In an effort to better identify and manage the dangers, the Responsible Minerals Initiative launched a new tool to help poll suppliers for information. Download the Cobalt (CRT) version 2.0 template here: http://www.responsiblemineralsinitiative.org/reporting-templates/cobalt-reporting-template/ We see more attention being paid to the dangers of cobalt in 2020. Reach out if you have questions or need help. 5. China RoHS2 Deadline China RoHS has been a challenge for many companies since its inception. It requires companies importing materials, parts, or products into China to apply specific labeling called an EFUP (Environmentally Friendly Use Period) on all products listed in the regulations categories. Additional labeling requirements were added in 2019. Compliance requires that you fill out a risk matrix and supply technical data to Chinese customs. Be careful what type of intellectual property is released. Protect your company. Although the new regulation changes became effective July 2019, most companies worried about the November 1st requirement. The new requirement is to provide a completed conformity assessment. There is also a reference document called the “China RoHS 2: Qualification Management Catalogue (First Batch)” which specifies the twelve product types considered in scope. Those product types include: RefrigeratorsAir conditionersWashing machinesElectric water heatersPrintersCopiersFax machinesTVsMonitorsMicro-computersHandheld phones for mobile communicationTelephone sets Needless to say, China RoHS 2 is complex and requires a solid plan for managing and collecting data, as well as determining what level of data is safe, low-risk, and acceptable to share with foreign companies and governments. If you’re new to product compliance, if you need help getting started, or if you’ve already got a program and just need a second set of eyes – we’re here to help. Remember – Make safe products, sell globally, and stay out of compliance trouble!...
- Happy New Year and New Website!January 1, 2020Hi Everyone, Welcome back from the holiday season! As we jump into 2020, we want to share with you a few BlueCircle Advisors (BCA) updates and let you know some of the new ways in which we will share product compliance information in 2020. As you can tell, we brought our new website online. This provides a platform for our company to share the latest developments in product compliance – hot off the press. We’ve got a new blog called Product Compliance Weekly, a new podcast called The Product Compliance Hour, and a new quarterly newsletter called Product Compliance Quarterly. All will be accessible directly from our site and if you’re a podcast junkie like me then you can also download the podcasts via your favorite podcast app. We’re in all the major podcast apps – over 500! In addition, we are revamping our social media on LinkedIn and Twitter and working on a 6 part YouTube series on compliance. We realize that no one has time for long white papers and eBooks, so we are in development now with bite size, digestible ideas for communicating new compliance changes quickly and simply. Watch for new products, services, and online courses this year. We are in the finishing stages of our Product Compliance Masterclass. It will be a 7 module class that teaches the basics for building any product compliance program. Anyone who finishes the class will receive a Certificate of Completion and the opportunity to join two new BCA groups – the compliance subscription service and membership community. We want to thank all of our existing clients, partners, and affiliates for a great 2019 and we look forward to expanding the circle in 2020!...