What happens when you make hazmat compliance a competitive advantage?

At September’s Dangerous Goods Symposium, Labelmaster VP of Marketing Rob Finn said, “Companies who are best in class at compliance have better on-time rates and fewer surprises for their customers. It’s a competitive advantage, and it grows their business.”

Dangerous Goods compliance as a competitive advantage? That’s kind of a radical concept. Historically, many organizations have viewed compliance as a cost of doing business—important primarily for safety and to avoid the delays and civil penalties of non-compliance.

That viewpoint is evolving, however. In the recently released Global Dangerous Goods Confidence Outlook:

  • 23% of hazmat pros surveyed said their companies viewed compliance as a competitive advantage.
  • Another 54% wished their companies would understand that DG management could be a differentiator.

So what happens when your company works to make compliance a competitive advantage? A deeper dive into the DG Confidence Outlook reveals some illuminating answers.

The advantages of the “competitive advantage” mindset

The DG Confidence Outlook surveyed 500 Dangerous Goods pros on five continents. One key question was, How would you best describe how DG compliance is viewed within your company? Respondents fell into three areas:

  • 28%—My company complies only because the regulations mandate it; we adhere to the minimum requirements.
  • 49%—My company complies because it cares about the safety of the industry; we go beyond the requirements.
  • 23%—My company views compliance as a competitive advantage—an initiative that adds real business value.

We then examined how people in these three groups responded to the other questions on the survey. (For simplicity’s sake, we’ll call the three groups “Minimum Requirements,” “Beyond the Requirements” and “Competitive Advantage.”) It’s not surprising to see that the Competitive Advantage group enjoyed several additional advantages over the other groups.

Here’s how some of those responses shook out:

91% of Competitive Advantage companies “always” keep current on the latest DG regulations, compared to an average of 80%—and just 57% for Minimum Requirements companies.

Staying current with regulations is crucial to avoiding penalties and delays, so even if avoiding penalties and delays is all you care about, you’d be better off treating compliance as a competitive advantage!

87% of Competitive Advantage companies say their DG training adequately prepares people, compared to an average of 75%—and just 56% for Minimum Requirements companies.

When you commit to making compliance a competitive advantage, it only makes sense to upgrade your investment in training. But better-trained teams don’t just improve your compliance—they also help you uncover efficiencies and improve service with your supply chain partners.

52% of Competitive Advantage companies say verifying compliance is time-consuming, compared to an average of 57%—and 61% for Minimum Requirements companies.

No question, compliance measures add time to shipping processes. But companies who work to make compliance a competitive advantage actually find it less time-consuming than other companies.

48% of Competitive Advantage companies use DG-specific software, compared to an average of 36%—and just 24% for Minimum Requirements companies.

One reason Competitive Advantage companies find compliance less time-consuming may be that they use better software. Completing a Dangerous Goods declaration on paper can take up to an hour. With Labelmaster’s DGIS? 13 seconds.

How do you sell the idea upstairs?

54% of hazmat pros at Minimum Requirements organizations say they wished their companies would “understand that supply chain and DG shipping management could be a differentiator.” In other words, they would love to work for companies that saw compliance as a competitive advantage.

How do you get there?

You can change the conversation with your senior leadership by quantitatively demonstrating your company’s total value of compliance. This value includes:

  • The costs of maintaining compliance throughout your supply chain
  • The costs of non-compliance such as civil penalties, carrier refusals and delays, fines, remediation and higher insurance costs
  • The opportunities created by higher-level compliance, such as implementing new products that are aligned with regulatory standards from day one

Download the complete results of the Global Dangerous Goods Confidence Outlook to find the data you need to convince your superiors that they need to make Dangerous Goods compliance a greater priority.

See The Complete Results

Labelmaster is a full-service provider of goods and services for hazardous materials and Dangerous Goods professionals, shippers, transport operators and EH&S providers. See our full line of solutions at labelmaster.com.


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