International Material Data System (IMDS)

The International Material Data System (IMDS) is an up-to-date, computer-based archive allowing suppliers to record material data for all components used by the automotive industry. The system helps suppliers and OEMs track materials as they move down the supply chain, making it easier to comply with mandatory reporting requirements, restrictions, recycling laws, other various regulations around the world.

IMDS was introduced in 2000 by a collaboration of major vehicle manufacturers and has since become the standard in the automotive industry -- noted as the “common automotive communication system for material data along the supply chain.”

How does IMDS work?

Anyone with a computer and access to the internet can log onto the Material Data System and submit data. In order to utilize this system, companies need to register on the site and are then assigned a unique identification number, logging their data under a company ID. When suppliers submit a material data sheet (MDS) to a customer, it establishes a permanent link between the supplier and the recipient and by the time the vehicle is finished, the IMDS should be reflective of the supply chain flow.

The first step is to group the Bill of Materials and determine each subcomponent. From there, list the material(s) each is composed of, further specifying material composition by identifying the basic substances. Each component is catalogued with weight and size and the entry in the database is organized using the product structure key.

Every part in every automobile produced by a participating international automobile manufacturer is listed in the International Material Data System, and it’s only growing! Even if you are not required by law to create an IMDS, getting into the habit of accurately recording data will improve your supply chain and prepare your company for any regulatory changes.


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