Actio Readies ASP Service for MSDS Authoring

Chemical supply chain specialist Actio plans to add an online authoring offering to its MSDS Vault service for manufacturing firms.

After rolling out a new edition of its core service, plus a pact with SciQuest last month, chemical supply chain ASP Actio now plans to introduce a new offering called MSDS Author on Nov. 14.

Actios current customer list revolves around industrial product makers such as Silpro Corp., Bauer Compressors and Fastenal Inc., said Russ McCann, Actios CEO, during an interview.

But Hampton, N.H.-based ASP is also working on broadening out to serve more types of organizations that use chemicals and other hazardous substances.

Essentially, Actio specializes in helping customers to manage the huge and potentially overwhelming numbers of MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets) documents that are being mandated in the United States and other countries.

By law, manufacturers are required to prepare these documents for all industrial products containing chemicals or other hazardous substances, as well as for any consumer products containing these substances that are used in the workplace.

Product manufacturers are also mandated to revise MSDSes whenever new health or safety effects are discovered around the substances.

"Wed never have time to deal with MSDSes without a service such as Actios," said Jim Mendell, a technician at Fastenal, during another interview.

Before signing on with Actio four years ago, the paint manufacturer tried hosting MSDSes on its own Web site, according to Mendell.

"But there were so many of them that we just couldnt keep up," the technician said.

MSDS Author, the new offering planned for mid-November, will add online MSDS authoring capabilities to Actios already-available online library of MSDS documents, according to McCann.

Instead of sending out MSDSes to customers by fax or e-mail, chemical manufacturers will be able to write the documents in a collaborative, template-based electronic environment.

Customers will simply insert data into standard fields, for quicker creation of MSDSes, he said.

Meanwhile, an earlier deal between Actio and SciQuest, announced Oct. 4, was spurred by customers such as Bauer and concrete manufacturer Silpro, which wanted easier access to a "total supply chain solution," McCann said.

/zimages/6/28571.gifClick here to read more about Actios upgrades to its MSDS Vault software.

Under the agreement, Actio will resell SciQuests Chemical Manager, for centralized management of chemicals and other hazardous substances from purchase through disposal.

In turn, SciQuest will resell Actios subscription-based MSDS archiving service.

Outside of the new pact with SciQuest, Actio sells all its ASP services direct.

McCann said he expects the pact will also draw new a new market segment of universities to Actios customer base.

The CEO also pointed to several features in the latest edition of its MSDS Vault offering, also announced in October.

As McCann sees it, the new dashboard in the latest edition will also help broaden the appeal of the companys ASP service, by assisting companies to keep track of multiple versions of MSDSes for the same products.

Actios forthcoming authoring offering, expected to be announced later this month, will let customers choose from among several different authoring formats: ANSI/OSHA for the United States; WSMIS for Canada; CHIPS for Great Britain; and ISO for countries complying with the EC Directive for MSDS.

The new service will also feature a phrase library for quick translation between English, French and Spanish.

Pricing will vary according to specific customer requirements, according to the CEO.

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