The Value of an Online SDS Management System: A Client’s Perspective

DECA’s Online SDS Management System is designed to reduce costs and centralize information that would have otherwise been housed via paper systems across multiple departments. One of our online SDS management system clients is John Bawcum, of BraunAbility, which sells mobility products, such as vans with wheelchair lifts. BraunAbility, started in 1972, now employs 1,000 and is housed across 7 buildings on one site. Bawcum describes the unique advantages he has found since switching to an online SDS system:

“All of the chemicals and paint-related products we use throughout the shop require an updated safety data sheet. We have about 350 SDSs which we now manage with DECA’s online SDS management system. This system allows easy access to all our SDSs and helps us keep updated records.

“Before we adopted DECA’s online system, we kept paper SDSs in 3-ring binders. Regularly updating our SDSs across all departments was a time-consuming task. Daily access was also more difficult and our paper SDSs were being torn, getting dirty and being misplaced.

“Now our employees can access all our SDSs directly from their mobile device, or from desktop terminals we have in our shops. We can custom organize the system for how we work.  We give our chemicals a “Braun common street name”, such as “glass cleaner”, making it easy for our employees to find an SDS based on categories. We also load the brand name, part number, and an image of the packaging or part so the item they are looking for is easily recognizable.

“Updates are also much easier to handle. We do not have to go to each department to replace one chemical’s SDS. For example, we use glass cleaner in almost every department, and whenever we updated this chemical, we had to replace each copy of its SDS in each department. With the online system, we don’t have those extra steps—all our SDSs are updated automatically across the company.

“Another useful feature of the DECA online SDS system is its ability to review our SDS activity. If we have not ordered a chemical for more than 12 months, the associated SDS sheet is archived in the system, which pulls it out of our billing. We can access it later if need be, but while we aren’t using it, we don’t have to pay for it.

“We also manage product development through the online system. Every time we test a new product, we log its information in a chemical review form. We review this form against the SDS sheet information and upload all the data to the online system. If we decide against using the new chemical, the associated SDS can be completely deleted from the system, so we are always up-to-date on what is actually being used in our company.

“Our process for ensuring the safety of our employees is rigorous, but it is now easier to implement with the online SDS system. Every new product brought into the company must be reviewed for environmental impact and employee health and safety. Once it crosses these two hurdles, it is entered into the online system. We meet once a week to review this information, randomly pulling products and checking the system for its SDS. We had to perform this safety check with our paper system, but moving from department to department and dealing with messy papers was difficult and time-consuming. With the centralized system, incorrect information is more quickly updated.

“Seeing the cost-effective benefits of DECA’s online SDS system, it is easy to recommend making this move from paper to digital.”

We at DECA design each program around a company’s specific requirements, taking into account the number and locations of departments, as well as SDS organizational structures. For more information about how our online SDS management system can keep your business compliant and more organized, visit or call our office at 317-575-0095.