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Staying in Compliance with Dangerous Goods Regulations Is Quite Challenging

Challenges include budget constraints, company leadership not aware of risk, insufficient or ineffective training, and lack of technology.

Shipping dangerous goods is complex, high-risk and full of regulations. That much you probably already knew. But according to a recent study, “2018 Global Dangerous Goods Confidence Outlook” by Labelmaster, the level of difficulty in staying current with the regulations is not just complex; it's downright daunting.

For instance, the survey found that 51% of professionals in the industry find it challenging to keep up with the latest regulations. Furthermore, 15% were not confident that they can ensure DG regulatory compliance across their entire organization, and 13% were unsure.

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

“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,” says Rob Finn, vice president of marketing & product management, Labelmaster. “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.”

Changing the conversation means reframing the overall view of DG management within an organization. This begins with DG 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 DG 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.

 Key findings from the survey include:

 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% of DG professionals are still doing everything manually. Furthermore, 15% believe their company’s infrastructure ability to quickly adapt to regulatory and supply chain changes is “lagging behind the industry,” 65% said it is “current, but need updating” and 21% 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% 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% indicated that DG compliance is not a major priority for their company.

-- 54% wish their companies would understand that supply chain and DG shipping management could be a differentiator.

-- 27% think their company’s investment to support DG compliance is “not adequate to meet current needs.”

-- 28% believe their company complies “only because regulations mandate it, and adhere to minimum requirements,” while 48% believe their company “goes beyond requirements,” and 23% 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%); technology for better supply chain efficiency and compliance (29%); wider access to the latest regulatory resources and manuals (18%); additional headcount (12%).

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