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Responding to Supplier Surveys
Responding to Supplier Surveys

A walk-through for responding to and submitting supplier surveys

Joe Marino avatar
Written by Joe Marino
Updated over a week ago

Wondering how to respond to a supplier survey? You're in just the right place! In this article, we will walk you through the steps and best practices for responding to supplier surveys.

When responding to a survey, you can do the following:

  • Sign up for a free 3E Exchange account and accept your survey request

  • Respond to questionnaires about your company and material(s)

  • Fill out substance data for your material, all while protecting your proprietary data

  • Import an Existing Passport to complete a survey

Activation and Signup

The survey process begins with an activation email through which you or a colleague can accept the survey request. Keep in mind, only a single user can respond to a survey on behalf of your company (you can forward response to a new owner later on if needed).

Once you've followed the activation link for the first time, you'll be asked to sign up for a free Toxnot account if you have not already. This will give you access to our free chemical hazard database and will allow you to respond to the survey request. *After you sign up, be sure to check your email and follow the activation link to complete your account, login, and accept the survey request.

After accepting the survey request, you can view all the surveys you are being asked to fill out via the "Fill out Surveys" tab in your toolbar:

Survey Response

Now that you've accepted the survey request, you're ready to start entering your data! Keep in mind, that the surveys you receive from your customers may vary, but this will give you a good idea of how to complete the survey.

The first page you see after accepting a survey will look something like this. To continue through the survey, you should select "Next" or click through the toolbar on the left. Note: it is important to mention only one person can be working on a survey at a time; when accepting the survey, it is now in your control. If you believe someone in your company or supply chain is a better fit to respond to this survey, you can forward it to them with the "Forward to New Owner" button at the top right of the page.


Bulk Inputs

The first page will be "Bulk Inputs" which will allow you to mass import SDSs and Excel Spreadsheets for the products being asked about; alternatively, if you already have these materials in your library, you can use that data to fill in responses later in the process.

Within the Bulk Inputs page, there is also the option for batch-answering questionnaires', this makes it easy to mark multiple answers at the same time for various materials.

after doing a bulk SDS import, you can see that we have the option to choose which material to save that data to.

Material Groups

The next section is "Material Groups" which allows you to group similar materials and combine them for the remainder of the survey.

In the picture below, you can see I have two materials that appear to be similar products, these can be merged to help reduce the number of answers you are required to provide.

By selecting the checkboxes next to similar materials, and then clicking the "Add Selected Materials to a Group" button, you will see the workflow simplifies:

The next sections will ask a set of questions per each material or group. Some of the questions asked may include:

-Bill of Materials Disclosure

-Regulatory questions (CalProp65, EU Reach, RoHS)

-Custom Questionnaires

Ingredient Disclosure

Depending on the type of survey you receive, you may be directed to the Ingredient Disclosure Data page. This is where you will find substance data requests for specific details about one or more of your materials.

To make changes to the material name, description, or photo for your material, you will need to navigate to the Product overview by clicking on the product name. This will be seen by your customers when selecting and incorporating your material.

If you have your data stored in SDS or spreadsheets, you may import the information directly into the survey by clicking the "Import Single BOM" or "Import Single SDS File" buttons. If you have previously imported your data into your 3E Exchange materials library, you can also pull the data directly from there with the "Import Data From Existing Material" button.

You may manually edit the BOM by clicking on any of the white cells, grey cells are blocked out for various reasons, typically in relation to the summary row or linked materials, and thus cannot be edited.

To add or delete rows and change the hierarchy of the products you can use the options highlighted below:

1) Add a row

2) Delete selected row(s)

3) Quick option to De-indent selected row (Level 2 -> Level 1)

4) Quick option to indent the selected row (Level 1 -> Level 2)

5) Extension Request: Inform your supplier that you do not have the requested data, but intend to respond with the information by X date.

All required fields will be denoted with a red asterisk.

An example of a BOM with hierarchy:

Marking Ingredients as Proprietary

3E Exchange makes it very easy to keep your IP safe while still disclosing hazard and compliance information to your customers. Simply press on the eyeball in the "Chemical Registry Number" column to mark this substance as proprietary.

You won't see any changes on your end, however, when sent to your customers or uploaded to the Digital Product Passport Library the chemical information will be hidden while still displaying compliance information:

Add a Custom Chemical or Custom Substance to your Content Data

Sometimes, you will have a custom substance that's not in 3E Exchange. In that case, you can search and if there are no results, click "Add to My Substances".

At that point, you will be taken to your custom substances area. Add a new substance via the add substance button.

If you are adding a biological substance that doesn't have a Chemical Registry Number (i.e. wood), you should leave the CAS# blank in the Chemical Registry Number field.

You will need to navigate back to the survey after creating your custom substance, this can be done via "Fill out Surveys" in your toolbar. After you are back in your survey, you may now search for this substance.

Alternatively, you can add custom substances by using the navigation bar "Lists & Substances" > "My substances" before answering the survey:

Regulatory Compliance Questionnaires

You may be asked to answer questions about regulations such as California Prop 65, these are very straightforward and will ask a few questions about your product and may require some supporting documentation. To make this process easier, we have included validation logic, intelligent answer suggestions, and supporting regulatory links to aid suppliers in their response.

Custom Questions

Lastly, your customer may request information on materials or your company built out via their own custom questionnaires. If you are confused about how to answer any of these questions, please reach out to the survey creator for clarification on questions.

Submitting Response

After you have answered all required fields, the "Finalize" button will now fill in and allow you to click on it to proceed with submitting your survey!

When responding to a supplier survey, you will also be creating a Digital Product Passport for the materials in the survey that will be hosted on our Digital Product Passport Library (DPPL) and can be shared with many levels of privacy customization.

This means when publishing a passport, you can mark it as either "Public", "Restricted", or "Private". The public option will allow anyone to search for this product on the DPPL. The Restricted view can be found on the DPPL, but the information will be hidden until someone requests access and is granted access by you or your team. Lastly, the private view cannot be found on the DPPL, but will still live in your DPPL and allow you to send it to anyone who might need it.

Import an Existing Passport to complete a survey

Suppliers can now select to import one of their existing Digital Product Passports to directly populate answers to a survey request. If any data is missing from the existing passport, they can complete those answers and the DPP will be updated.

When starting to respond to the Survey, on the Ingredient Disclosure Data, you will have the 'Import' button available:

Choose the option that suits you and if any data is missing from the imported file, you can complete it and then the DPP will be updated at the end of the survey.

Getting Help

Do you have a question about the workflow or issues you've found?

Use the Intercom chat service in the bottom-right of your screen to connect to 3E Exchange Support, and we'll get back to you with the information or help you need.

Going Further

3E Exchange Subscriptions make it possible for you to save and share material and product information, generate product reports, summarize hazard information across your catalog, send your own surveys, and much more!

Check out a Free Account to see what 3E Exchange has to offer.

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