SDS Authoring in ChemManager®

Safety Data Sheets – the backbone of supply chain hazard communication

The Safety Data Sheet is the most important document for communication in a supply chain involving chemical products containing hazardous substances. The success of the Safety Data Sheet as a tool for communication is underlined by the fact that many companies choose to author Safety Data Sheets even if these are not required by legislation – for example with non-hazardous products or articles, like batteries.

Do I need Safety Data Sheet software?

In one way or another you do. For some Microsoft Word is enough, but rarely the best way to go – especially if you operate in more than one country. Unless you only need to create and maintain a handful of SDS’s, then it will make more sense to outsource the work to specialists like DHI than writing the documents yourself. SDS authoring is a use-it-or-lose-it set of skills. However, you may have several products, in-house competence and/or a special need for direct hands-on control, and for efficient authoring you will need SDS software.

There are numerous SDS authoring software solutions on the market. So why should you choose ChemManager® and SHEdoc?

SHEdoc – an expert authoring tool for regulatory specialists

SHEdoc was originally developed for our own regulatory specialists who could not find a commercial product on the market that met our needs. Below are some of the requirements set by our specialists – if you find that one or more of these match your situation, then ChemManager® / SHEdoc could also be for you!

Market adaptation in addition to translation

Most SDS solutions contain functionality for translation using pre-translated phrase libraries (beware of systems offering machine-translation). But translation in itself is not enough. If you, like us, need the ability to make market-specific changes to the content, then you need the ability to remove, replace or add phrases to the individual markets compared to a master document. This functionality is the defining aspect of SHEdoc.

Flexibility for the individual author

Due to the regulated structure of the Safety Data Sheet, all systems work with formats or templates. It was a key request for our SDS authors to have full control of all the text displayed on the final document. We can live with not changing fonts, text sizes and layout for every new document, but our tasks are so varied from project to project that every author needs the ability to make changes to all the text displayed – also the text that is part of the template – and have the changes affect only one document or group of documents if needed. This is possible in SHEdoc.

Authoring compared to automation

If you work with thousands of similar products, it makes sense to purchase software with full automation capability. In this way effort is spent up front writing rules and tweaking wizards and templates before the first document is even started. For some that is very efficient. But if your tasks are too varied and SDS content is too product or project specific, it makes more sense to spend your time on the individual documents, e.g. by copying from existing or generic template documents and using simple rules that can be activated as needed. SHEdoc is an authoring focused tool with a semi-automatic rule-system. 
Whatever your needs – the perfect SDS system for you is out there. However, keep in mind that prices follow both quality and functionality and if you purchase more functionality than you need, you are overpaying for your solution. If you are very conscious of the cost and value of software and you need:
  • flexibility and control of all the text in your documents 
  • a strong focus on quality of content over quantity of documents, and  
  • a tool for authors (not programmers) 
…then you should look into ChemManager®. See how to get started with ChemManager®.