< Back to overview

What does transporting dangerous goods have to do with delivering on your promises?

You made every effort to deliver a particular product quickly. Yet the shipment fails. The transport did not comply with regulations for the transport of hazardous materials. Your reputation suffers a dent. You must incur additional costs. And you also run the risk of being fined. And you have just implemented a solution that should solve that problem. Sander van der Veen, an expert on the transportation of dangerous goods, knows what’s going on.

International regulations for hazardous materials and goods are constantly changing. Transportation of dangerous goods, restrictions on use, product notification, waste, storage; it is not easy to keep up and assess the impact of certain regulations on a business process. Especially if these regulations are not your primary focus, but you as a company must comply with them.

Impact on all related business processes

For years, I have been meeting with clients who need to comply with Safety, Health and Environmental regulations and want to make improvements or prepare for new regulations. With regularity, I see that a quick-fix standalone solution is initially chosen to meet an acute need. For example, consider an application for creating transport documents for transportation of dangerous goods. What not everyone considers is the integration of such a new solution into the existing application landscape and the impact on all related business processes. This can lead to (hidden) costs due to inefficiency, inconsistency, non-compliance and possibly fines.

Take, for example, creating transport documents for transportation of dangerous goods. This requires data on the sender, receiver and quantities, among other things. That information comes from the logistics process. Also important is the corresponding dangerous goods information, such as UN numbers and proper shipping names (Proper Shipping Names).

The overall picture is missing

When users of the systems submit an improvement suggestion for creating a transport document, they tend to look at a limited part of the solution. They miss the big picture. This creates challenges because quick-fix solutions almost always have to be fed with a combination of information from other systems. How does the relevant information get into the standalone system? Where is this information stored and used? And how do we ensure that the information in the application landscape remains reliable and consistent?

Transporting dangerous goods involves even more than just the transport document. The process begins much earlier in the supply chain. Is the product classified as hazardous under applicable regulations? Is the product packaged correctly? And is transportation of the quantity of dangerous goods per package allowed with the requested modality? What hazard labels must be present on the package? Which carrier is eligible to perform the transportation? How do choices affect delivery time and cost?

Sorry, it will be a little later after all….

All of these questions are decisive in making the right choices. The information is essential to the fluidity of the process. However, these questions can only be answered by combining the available information. This is quite difficult when that information is in different systems and not all the necessary specialized knowledge is available among employees. Failure to use and correctly apply certain information at the right time can result in significant delays or non-compliance.

For example, consider a customer ordering a product that needs to be delivered urgently. Normally, the product is transported by road to this customer. There is no time for that now. Having the product flown in is the only way to deliver on time. However, the rules for transporting dangerous goods by air are not the same as transport by road. The amount allowed per package is usually smaller, just think of the rules for liquid in your carry-on luggage or lithium batteries. In addition, different labeling requirements apply to air shipments. After all, it would be a shame if the customer is promised that they can expect the goods tomorrow morning and the shipment is refused for shipment due to non-compliance.

In this example, delivery of the same product in smaller package quantities might have been a solution. If this was already known at order entry, there would have been nothing to worry about.

What benefits can you gain?

The transportation of dangerous goods involves a host of factors. It essential that this information be combined at the right time. To avoid unpleasant surprises such as delays and fines and improve your delivery reliability. For this reason, all of these factors should be considered as early as possible in the design of your business processes and application landscape.

Want to know what benefits can be gained for you through optimization? Then contact us to see how you can benefit from smart integration of SAP EHS into your SAP landscape.


Solutions in this article

Environment, Health and Safety

Your ERP system also affects your entrepreneurial activities in the areas of sustainability, health and safety.