Supply-chain management is becoming increasingly data-driven, but data accuracy, completeness and reliability remain challenges. Nearly half (45%) of professionals in the dangerous goods (DG) and hazmat industry say that data collection is “sporadic, inconsistent or not done at all” within their organizations, according to a survey by hazmat shipping company Labelmaster Inc. Many are also missing access to critical “master data.”
What Is Master Data?
Master data is complete, detailed information about a product’s components, makeup, dimensions and origins. It’s the difference between knowing what you’re shipping and knowing exactly what you’re shipping — and it’s key for compliant DG transportation.
Knowing what you’re shipping: “We’re shipping a large lithium battery for a cordless lawn mower.”
Knowing exactly what you’re shipping: “We’re shipping a lithium-ion battery with the following characteristics:
Why Is It Hard to Collect?
Master data can be difficult to come by for several reasons:
Compliant Hazmat Transport
Not having important information is especially difficult when shipping DG, which is increasingly complicated due to ever-changing regulations that can vary by country, transportation mode, item type and more. Because a product’s components, makeup, dimensions and origins impact every process required for safe and compliant DG shipping — including packaging, labeling, documentation, permits and transport of goods — access to master data is critical.
Effective DG management begins with knowing what kind of DG shipments a company is processing and making sure that personnel throughout the supply chain have access to that information. Don’t just assume that the warehouse will automatically know how to handle DG shipments, even if you have warehousing or shipping software in place. Without proper data, no technology can work to its fullest potential.
Also look to better absorb data into your organization — from suppliers, logistics providers or other departments within your organization such as product management or procurement.
Access to complete and accurate master data will be increasingly critical to streamlining compliant hazmat transport — and unlocking efficiencies across supply chains.
Mario Sagastume is vice president of software and customer success at Labelmaster.
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