New direction for Kuehne+Nagel's DG visibility in place
In its recent Sustainability 2021 report, Kuehne+Nagel cited seven dangerous goods (DG) incidents that were reported but none are believed to have caused personal, environmental, or asset damage. The company will however be focussing on rolling out a dangerous goods training programme this year, while it has already undertaken a full risk assessment of each branch, its DG inventories, and spruced up internal procedures, as per the 'Management of 'Dangerous Goods' section in the report. Improvements were made to the incident reporting system for DG and further, the Corporate DG Incident tools were enhanced to accommodate minor occurrences and near misses as well.
Juerg R. Meier Senior Vice President, Global Head of Quality & Sustainability at Kuehne + Nagel Management Ltd. spoke to Lakshmi Ajay from The STAT Trade Times, about the new changes that are slated to improve visibility and safety in the Kuehne+Nagel network
Could you explain some of the salient features of the DG Assessment programme which is mentioned in the Sustainability Report of 2021? The report also cited how a DG training programmes flagged off in 2020 was underway and being conducted this year. Could you share some of the outcomes of the same?
The DG Assessment focused on a full review of all relevant aspects of the DG management, in order to ensure that all processes were fully compliant with applicable laws, as well as safety best practices. Key points that can be mentioned are:
- Review of rental agreements and insurance policies
- Reassessment of compliance with all applicable international, national and local legislation
- Review of current inventories and quantities of DG stored/handled
- Review of facilities risk assessments with particular focus on DG
- Mapping and alignment of carriers and suppliers (compliance, standards, requirements, training)
- Review of employee's training requirements
- Compliance with internal KN DG guidelines
The full training structure of Kuehne+Nagel's DG specialists was reviewed and adapted to the actual needs and requirements of the DG operations. A special effort was conducted in regard to the storage requirements of DG. Since the storage of hazardous materials mainly relies on national legislation, a dedicated programme was created for each affected country, partnering with local DG senior experts and external consultants. Under the umbrella of the programme, more than 500 DG Experts in 67 countries have been trained or retrained based on the new requirements.
Could you specifically mention any changes or improvements that were made to the incident reporting system for dangerous goods? Also do talk about how the Dangerous Goods Incident Tool functions? Do explain what changes have been made and why?
In the past, the Incident Reporting Tool was used to report severe DG incidents (i.e. those causing injuries or environmental damage). Those incidents were then subject to deep investigation and corrective actions. In 2021 an upgrade was conducted so that minor incidents also could be reported, particularly near misses that ended without consequences. This now allows us to conduct a full investigation on each incident, no matter the severity, and to avoid similar occurrences from happening in the future. The impact is meaningful, more transparency created improvements by the staff, changed handling behaviors, augurs fewer mistakes, and improved fulfillment rate in terms of timely loading/shipping.
In 2021, seven incidents related to DG were reported as per the report. What was the nature of these incidents? And what learnings or insights have been gained so as to achieve greater visibility of the entire supply chain and spur preventive actions?
As a result of the incident investigation, it could be determined that most incidents were caused by packages punctured by forklifts during the loading or unloading process. Preventive actions were conducted focusing on two main aspects:- Enhancement of DG training for warehouse operators- Evaluation to implement shorter forks on forklifts to reduce the risk of affecting other nearby cargo
Is K+N getting into any specialty business related to the handling of DG or its visibility?
As a global service provider, Kuehne+Nagel recognized that it is crucial to attend to all our customer's demands, which includes the safe and professional handling of any kind of DG. Kuehne+Nagel is handling e.g. customer solution called KN BatteryChain that is separately audited and internally certified. This solution to date had no incidents reported and proves the concept of transparency, training, customer trust, and is fully compliant with regulatory requirements and customer satisfaction. There are other DG areas of interest in project logistics, aerospace, etc.
Is any kind of technological advancement or tech or AI tools aiding Kuehne+Nagel in mitigating the risk associated with DG shipments and their overall visibility and corrective/preventive action. If so, do mention the same and explain how it aids the supply chain?
Yes, most of our Transport Management and Warehousing systems are connected to DG databases which perform a pre-validation of all DG consignments. However, in addition, each shipment is still reviewed by a trained DG expert for further peace of mind. It is the policy of Kuehne+Nagel not to compromise when it comes to safety and security as even sophisticated software cannot detect every risk.