Analyst Insight: Ongoing global supply chain disruptions and the growth of e-commerce have put tremendous pressure on the professionals and companies responsible for shipping dangerous goods (DG) safely and compliantly. It has spotlighted the need for improvements in DG management processes, training and technology in order to keep pace with the changing supply chain landscape.
For years, DG pros have reported key gaps within organizations’ supply chain processes and infrastructure that have made maintaining a compliant and reliable hazmat supply chain challenging. These gaps became especially evident as companies struggled to adapt to shifting customer demands, labor and material shortages, and a host of other supply chain snags. Yet even as organizations struggled to navigate the difficult supply chain landscape, many organizations improved their DG operations over the past year.
A recent Labelmaster global survey of DG professionals found a 35% jump in organizations that increased their DG investment year-over-year. Additionally, large numbers of DG pros reported improvement in key areas: C-suite support (48%), regulatory enforcement (48%) and compliance confidence (46%).
However, more than half of respondents reported no change in several areas: ability to handle reverse logistics (64%), fast and quality responses from regulatory authorities (56%), reliable master data (55%), ability to deploy technology (55%) and ease of applying rules (53%).
There is also still work to do within many organizations to meet the complexities of future needs. In fact, 75% believe their infrastructure isn’t ready to meet future needs, and 82% say their organization’s DG investment can’t support future regulations or supply chain changes.
Compliance Challenges Remain
While organizations improved in some areas, challenges still exist across many aspects of DG management. The areas that are the most problematic:
Getting accurate and reliable data can also be difficult, as barely one quarter of respondents said they received accurate, complete safety data sheets from partners. And almost one-third (30%) don’t trust most of their locations to ship DG efficiently and reliably.
Building a Better DG Supply Chain
The survey underscores the need for organizations to assess their DG operations and identify processes and infrastructure gaps and areas of opportunities. The good news is that making meaningful improvements doesn’t have to be difficult or require significant investment. Following are four practical steps to creating a better DG supply chain.
Outlook: The growth of e-commerce and proliferation of lithium batteries in global supply chains are two indicators that the number of DG shipments will grow. This, combined with new and changing regulations, will only make shipping and handling DG compliantly and efficiently more difficult. To keep pace, it’s critical for organizations to continuously assess their DG operations and identify opportunities to improve compliance, safety and efficiency through better technology, training and processes.
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