Over the past several years, Tord Dennis has been volunteering his time with IPC, a global trade association, to establish standards that help manufacturers keep pace with regulatory changes and manage risks in the supply chain.
IPC, which publishes a family of standards that establishes a standard reporting format for data exchange between supply chain participants, honored Dennis with its Distinguished Committee Service Award at the IPC APEX EXPO in San Diego on Feb. 28 for his contributions to the development of the new IPC-1752A Amendment 3 Materials Declaration Management Standard. He is also chairman of the organization’s 2-18 supplier declaration subcommittee which manages the 1751 standard and a member of three other subcommittees.
“This award caught me by surprise,” said Dennis, integrated product compliance management practice leader for WSP USA. “My motivation throughout this process has been the creation of improved data collection standards that will benefit the industry.”
Dennis said following data exchange standards will ultimately save manufacturers and their suppliers considerable money. “It cuts down the time to takes to receive and process data,” he said. “It also helps companies protect the environment from hazardous materials and substances because they can identify risks and data exchange is no longer a painful, costly process.”
Collaboration between WSP and IPC has proven to be a perfect fit for establishing these standards.
“WSP works with this standard in our daily jobs with clients, so naturally it didn’t take too much effort to extend our view to help IPC oversee how the standard can best be implemented,” Dennis said.
One of the biggest challenges manufacturers face – and one area Dennis helps WSP clients manage – is keeping up with changes to regulations and understanding the risks present in the supply chain due to the presence of restricted substances.
“Given the size of a typical high-tech supply chain, this can be a very costly endeavor,” Dennis said. “Most regions of the world have or are considering legislation restricting the use of specific substances believed to pose a harm to humans and/or the environment.”
New substances are constantly being added to the restricted lists. Regulations such as the European Union’s REACH directive require the registration, evaluation, authorization and restriction of certain chemicals used in the manufacture of a product. REACH currently restricts the use of over 170 substances and adds an average of five to seven new substances to this list every six months. In addition, new regulations emerge yearly that cover new areas, such as energy efficiency and waste reclamation.
“This is also a way that companies can demonstrate that they are responsible corporate citizens who care about their customers and the environment,” Dennis said.
Dennis, who works in the Los Angeles office, was born and raised in Monrovia, Liberia, and graduated with a master’s degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta.
“From childhood, I’ve always been fascinated with how things go together and how they come apart,” he said. “The love of discovery led me down the path to engineering.”
In addition to his work on several IPC committees, Dennis volunteers as a mentor at McBride High School in Long Beach, California, where he has helped students and instructors learn how to use computer-aided design programs to create projects for the Greenpower Electric Car Challenge.
At WSP, he is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the product compliance management practice. His team of four project managers and 20 data analysts in WSP offices in Hong Kong and the Philipines provides turnkey data collection services to help clients understand the sources and safety of materials used in their supply chains.
Dennis currently serves as a subject matter expert and environmental consultant on several projects for WSP clients, including Seagate Technology’s product stewardship program.
“Seagate is using the amended IPC materials declaration standard to collect material and substance data from its suppliers,” he said.
Dennis continues to enjoy helping WSP clients stay ahead of the changing regulatory landscape and help define new areas where they can benefit, such as process chemistry and green chemistry.
“With the breath of WSP’s offerings – from buildings, to transportation, to our environmental offerings – I truly feel like I’m making an impact in the world,” he said.
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