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Dangerous Goods Industry Survey Identifies Compliance Challenges

Labelmaster (a U.S.-based provider of labels, packaging and technology related to the transport of dangerous goods and hazardous materials), recently announced the results of its annual 2018 Global Dangerous Goods Confidence Outlook. Sponsored by Labelmaster, International Air Transport Association (IATA), and Hazardous Cargo Bulletin, the survey was conducted to gain insight into how organizations around the globe approach dangerous goods shipping and handling, and the challenges they face.

“Shipping dangerous goods is complex and high-risk, and those responsible for compliance have an increasingly critical job,” said Rob Finn, vice president of marketing & product management at Labelmaster. “In an effort to better understand today’s dangerous goods landscape, Labelmaster, IATA and Hazardous Cargo Bulletin partnered to gather insights from dangerous goods professionals across the globe. We found that while many organizations have the necessary infrastructure, training and processes to ensure compliance across their supply chains, a large number do not.”

The survey covered personal profile information, including: respondent location, most common DG hazard class materials handled, contact role, etc.; training and DG enforcement concerns; compliance challenges; use of technology; comparison to the 2017 survey results; and other leading industry concerns.

Here are some of the key results from the survey:

Keeping up with regulations and ensuring compliance is challenging: Regulatory compliance is critical to an organization’s ability to maintain a smooth supply chain. Yet with growing volumes and types of DG, increasingly complex supply chains, and more extensive regulations, many industry professionals find it challenging to do their jobs effectively and efficiently. In fact:

  • 51 percent find it challenging to keep up with the latest regulations.
  • 15 percent were not confident that they can ensure DG regulatory compliance across their entire organization, and 13 percent were unsure.
  • 58 percent feel that even if they follow the regulations perfectly there is a chance their shipments will be stopped.

When asked to rank their greatest challenge to compliance: budget constraints (28 percent); company leadership not aware of risk (21 percent); insufficient or ineffective training (19 percent); lack of technology (17 percent); difficulty in keeping up with changing regulations (15 percent).

Compliance technology and training is often inadequate: Those responsible for DG face an uphill battle – not only in meeting evolving regulations, but also in overcoming inadequate infrastructure and training. Technology is critical to the supply chain, and significantly improves efficiency, speed, accuracy and more. And even with a number of technology resources available, 28 percent of dangerous professionals are still doing everything manually. Furthermore, 15 percent believe their company’s infrastructure ability to quickly adapt to regulatory and supply chain changes is “lagging behind the industry,” 65 percent said it is “current, but need updating” and 21 percent believe it is “advanced – ahead of the industry.”

The need for improvement extends to training as well. One-quarter of respondents feel their company’s training does not adequately prepare people within the organization to comply with dangerous shipping regulations. In many cases, the scope of employees being trained needs to be expanded. In fact, 67 percent of respondents believe dangerous goods training should be extended to other departments across their company.

An organization’s attitude towards compliance impacts its level of investment: An organization’s attitude towards dangerous goods compliance has a direct impact on how much a company invests in compliance resources. Unfortunately, their attitude towards compliance often does not reflect its true value. According to the survey:

  • 16 percent indicated that dangerous goods compliance is not a major priority for their company.
  • 54 percent wish their companies would understand that supply chain and dangerous shipping management could be a differentiator.
  • 27 percent think their company’s investment to support dangerous goods compliance is “not adequate to meet current needs.”
  • 28 percent believe their company complies “only because regulations mandate it, and adhere to minimum requirements,” while 48 percent believe their company “goes beyond requirements,” and 23 percent view compliance as a “competitive advantage.”

    Which Type of Technology Companies Use to Ship Dangerous Goods

Dangerous goods professionals desire additional support: Investment in infrastructure and training is critical to enabling DG professionals to do their jobs effectively and efficiently, and whether their budgets have increased, decreased or stayed the same, DG professionals desire additional support. When asked how they would prioritize financial support from their organization: more effective training (42 percent); technology for better supply chain efficiency and compliance (29 percent); wider access to the latest regulatory resources and manuals (18 percent); additional headcount (12 percent).

Finn added, “The risk associated with shipping and handling dangerous goods is greater than ever and industry professionals responsible for managing it need the proper technology, training and regulatory access to ensure they are moving goods in a secure, safe, compliant and efficient manner. Unfortunately, obtaining the necessary budget and resources likely requires buy-in from executive leadership, which can be an uphill battle. So how do you get that buy-in? It starts with changing the conversation around dangerous goods management.”

Changing the Conversation with Senior Leadership

Changing the conversation means reframing the overall view of dangerous goods management within an organization. This begins with dangerous goods professionals quantitatively demonstrating how their compliance program can reduce costs and increase revenue to make a positive contribution to the company’s bottom line. Simply put, it is defining your company’s “total value of compliance,” which takes into account three factors:

  • The cost of maintaining compliance throughout the supply chain, such as expenses for people, compliance products, software & technology, reporting, training, etc.
  • The cost of non-compliance due to errors and lapses, such as penalties, carrier refusal and delays, fines, remediation, higher insurance costs, etc.
  • The opportunities of higher level compliance-enabling differentiation, revenue growth and faster cash flows, such as faster product deliveries, increased brand equity, the ability to offer a wider range of products, etc.

This Total Value of Compliance (TVC) framework helps dangerous goods  companies make compliance a powerful, revenue-positive aspect of their business. To learn more about the total value of compliance, download a TVC technical brief and schedule a free assessment, visit www.labelmaster.com/tvc.

To read the full report, visit www.labelmaster.com/dg-compliance-outlook.

About Labelmaster

Labelmaster helps companies navigate and comply with the regulations that govern the transport of dangerous goods and hazardous materials. From hazmat labels and UN certified packaging, hazmat placards and regulatory publications, to advanced technology and regulatory training, Labelmaster’s comprehensive offering of i software, products, and services help customers remain compliant with all dangerous goods regulations, mitigate risk and maintain smooth, safe operations.  To learn more, visit www.labelmaster.com.