Dangerous goods survey identifies global compliance challenges
Labelmaster, a leading provider of labels, packaging, and technology for the safe and compliant transport of dangerous goods (DG) and hazardous materials (hazmat), has 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 DG 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 and 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 DG 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.” Key findings from the survey include:
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. 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; and 58 percent feel that even if they follow the regulations perfectly there is a chance their shipments will be stopped. The greatest challenges to compliance were budget constraints, lack of company leadership, insufficient or ineffective training, lack of technology, and difficulty in keeping up with changing regulations.
Compliance technology and training is often inadequate. Those responsible for DG face an uphill battle 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 DG 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 DG shipping regulations. In many cases, the scope of employees being trained needs to be expanded. In fact, 67 percent of respondents believe DG 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 DG 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 DG compliance is not a major priority for their company, 54 percent wish their companies would understand that supply chain and DG shipping management could be a differentiator, 27 percent think their company’s investment to support DG compliance is “not adequate to meet current needs,” 28 percent believe their company complies “only because regulations mandate it, and adhere to minimum requirements,” 48 percent believe their company “goes beyond requirements,” and 23 percent view compliance as a “competitive advantage.”
DG 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); and additional headcount (12 percent) were the top answers.
“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,” said Finn. “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 DG management.”