Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) Management and Audit

EHS.gif

An environmental, health and safety (EHS) management and audit program is now a prerequisite for organizations in various kinds of business. Allied to the emergence of and developing along with the concepts of worker safety and corporate social responsibility; the environmental, health and safety audit is today a major component of an organization. Organizations that need visibility and are desirous of earning a good name should make the environmental, health and safety management and audit a part of their culture.

The practice of companies auditing their environmental, health and safety (EHS) began in the 1970’s, almost contemporaneously with the enactment of OSHA. Around that time, the environmental issue was gaining ground in the corporate circles of the West with the governments and other agencies pitching in with their efforts to create greater awareness of the impact of business activities on the environment. As a result, the thinking that the top management of an organization needs to be viewing this issue more seriously started to develop and got ingrained over the years.

Cannot be glossed over
environmental-health-and-safety-management-and-auditAs a result of various legislations on the issue of environmental safety; the role of the Board of Governors became central in ensuring this aspect of the business. Environmental health and safety was no longer something that needed to be administered superficially, but in formal and designated ways, more specifically in the form of an audit. In order to incentivize corporate entities to implement environmental health and safety (EHS) management and audit; the trend started moving towards making these activities carry value addition to the organization.

Environmental health and safety management and audit is now a more formalized activity that needs to be carried out in a proper, set and well-defined manner. The processes that go into the EHS management and audit are clearly laid out in the form of standards such as the ISO 14001 standard, which is essentially an Environmental Management System (EMS) audit. To strengthen and enrich the audit activity and round it better; a few related and parallel standards such as the relevant parts of the 9000 family of standards, which deals with quality management, and 18000 series audits can be carried out with ease to supplement the environmental, health and safety audit.

Role of environmental health and safety (EHS) management and audit
environmental-health-and-safety-management-and-auditEnvironmental health and safety (EHS) management and audit have now evolved into being a practice that is coupled with and fused into many business-related activities. The practice now is to make an environmental health and safety management and audit an inseparable part of the Quality Management System. Environmental health and safety (EHS) management and audit audits are now a sure means to ensure that the organization has a reputation for corporate social responsibility by implementing this audit.

Aspects of an environmental health and safety management and auditThe aim of environmental health and safety management and audit is to instill the EHS right from the top management down to the line level employee. A properly carried out EHS management and audit system should ideally take these factors into consideration:

environmental-health-and-safety-management-and-audit

Click to Continue Reading

Developing an effective HR compliance program

compliance.png

Organizations need to devote substantial time and effort into developing an effective HR compliance program. Development of an effective HR compliance program is a strong safeguard against unsavory and avoidable legal issues that could result from a shoddy HR compliance program or improper implementation.

Developing an effective HR compliance program is a must for organizations that could be in any business. A basic doubt in the minds of many people could be this: What has HR got to do with compliance? Isn’t compliance for only those in charge of implementing regulatory requirements? Yes, that is true. This is also what answers the question of why developing an effective HR compliance program is necessary: It is a regulatory requirement.

developing-an-effective-hr-compliance-programThere are many regulations pertaining to HR. These regulations have come into existence because of the importance of proper hiring policies. Since HR is tasked with recruitment and everything else following this; HR compliance becomes necessary to ensure that the organization does not face legal hurdles vis-a-vis its hiring, working and firing policies. This is a primary reason for which developing an effective HR compliance program is a must.

Compliance is needed with various lawsOver the past few decades, successive US governments have enacted laws that have had a very major bearing on employment. Compliance with the various laws relating to employment, such as the Equal Employment Opportunities Act, Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is mandatory for organizations that come under their purview. Further, there are laws such as The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which was enacted to ensure that the employee does not get exploited by getting underpaid for the work she does.

developing-an-effective-hr-compliance-programSimilarly, the OSHA standards are meant to ensure that the workplace is free of hazards. Depending on the kind of workplace, many OSHA provisions have to be complied with. In short, there are a host of employment laws that organizations have to comply with.

Developing an effective HR compliance program has to take all these laws into consideration and has to spell out the way in which it will ensure that the organization complies with the laws.

HR compliance is not a fixed or limited action planThe starting point to developing and implementing an effective HR compliance program is the realization that an HR compliance program is a journey, not a destination. This is why: it consists of a set of processes that relate to the various HR laws. There should be process for implementing recruitment laws. Due diligence must go into the recruiting methods to ensure that no wrong step was taken in the recruitment process.

developing-an-effective-hr-compliance-programThen, there should be processes for the implementation of the next set of laws, those pertaining to employment conditions. When developing an effective HR compliance program, anti-discrimination laws, laws on sexual harassment, laws on dealing with violent employees or those who have addiction problems, laws on workplace safety and many others need be taken into consideration and carefully complied with.

Finally, there should be those dealing with legally tenable terminations.

Prerequisites for implementing an effective HR compliance programGiven the importance of developing an effective HR compliance program, the following are some of the conditions that will help to make it effective:

developing-an-effective-hr-compliance-program

Click to Continue Reading

How to choose a supply chain management solution

supply chain management solution

Any business that opts for a supply chain management solution has to have clarity on how to choose a supply chain management solution. This is because the supply chain management solution is expected to carry out a number of very important functions. Choosing the wrong or inappropriate one can backfire on the business and derail and impede, rather than ease its work.

Businesses have to take a few important factors into consideration when they have to choose a supply chain management solution. For the supply chain management solution to perform its function of facilitating the supply chain for the business, it needs to perform its functions smoothly without causing hiccups to the business. This is where the decision-making ability of the business owner comes into picture.

supply-chain-management-solutionSo, what factors need to be taken into consideration when a business has to choose a supply chain management solution? Try considering these:

1. Choose by industryThis is obviously a no brainer, but it is an important first consideration nevertheless in choosing a supply chain management solution. Many supply chain management solution providers sell the idea that these are one-size-fits-all solutions that work across a number of industries since the core functions are essentially the same.

This may be true to an extent, but while a number of functionalities are common across a few industries; it is important to get down to the one that is built for your business. A supply chain management solution that works best for retail, for example, may not be as effective for an automobile store. Getting down to the details and dissecting the functionality that the supply chain management solution performs for your particular industry is an important first step in choosing a supply chain management solution.

supply-chain-management-solution

2. Define your needThis is the next important consideration when choosing a supply chain management solution. A number of supply chain management solutions are available in the market. Choose the one that suits your need the best. In order to do this, the business has to define its need to the fullest extent. It could take a few factors such as this into consideration:

supply-chain-management-solution

3. Understand the integration function of the supply chain management solutionIntegration is, well, the very soul of a supply chain management solution. The business should have clarity on what functions need to be integrated into the supply chain management solution. The reason for which the integration function is built into a supply chain management solution is to facilitate synchronization of the whole chain. This makes it one of the core factors that determined how to choose a supply chain management solution.

supply-chain-management-solution

4. Insist on the visibility featureVisibility is a great means for the business to have control over its sales, inventory, logistics, and a host of other functions. The supply chain management solution has to offer visibility on all these functions.

supply-chain-management-solution

5. Customer relationship management (CRM)A supply chain management solution is incomplete if it does not come equipped with a strong CRM feature. The CRM is the determinant in helping to establish a good relationship with the customer. The CRM feature should enable the business to completely understand the nature of the orders and their status, plus, more importantly, help in customer query responses and other important customer-related features.

 

Click to Continue Reading

The Challenges before the Supply Chain Management and Logistics Industry

Supply Chain Management.gif

A look at the challenges before the supply chain management and logistics industry is instructive. Huge figures sit rather incongruously with the reality of the industry, which is that while from a universal point of view, the industry has been growing at a steady rate and is set to continue the upward trend; it has its own set of challenges and inequalities, depending on the market one is analyzing. The challenges before the supply chain management and logistics industry need to be looked at, if one were to analyze the supply chain management and logistics industry.

Let us start with a look at the size of the supply chain management and logistics industry.

supply-chain-management-and-logistics-challenges
Impressive overall figuresThe supply chain management and logistics industry employs over six million workers of various cadres in the US alone, again a fair indication of its enormous size. The good news is that by 2018, the industry is expected to need nearly a million and a half jobs. What factors have pushed this industry into such growth figures?

From almost a decade, the supply chain management and logistics industry has been seeing new and rapid changes and developments. These developments have mostly been in high-specialty areas such as marketing, data analytics, management and human resources, are involved. The reason for which the industry is in need of such high specialization jobs is that technology has made such forays into the segment that models on which most supply chain-dependent businesses were built are no longer viable.

What are the challenges before the supply chain management and logistics industry?The challenges before the supply chain management and logistics industry are dispersed based on the market one is looking at. The major challenge for the mature markets such as the US and the other markets in the west is in finding new recruits despite its being an industry that is in need of workers. The main challenges before the supply chain management and logistics industry in advanced countries are:

supply-chain-management-and-logistics-challenges

Challenges before the supply chain management and logistics industry in developing economiesOn the other hand, the problems of developing markets such India, where the retail industry is growing at a rapid pace, entertaining hopes of fueling the growth prospects of the supply chain and logistics industry, are of a different nature. In developing countries, despite the recent high rate of growth in this industry; the problems concern lack of good infrastructure, lack of governmental regulation for an industry that largely is seen as belonging to the unorganized sector, and challenges to warehousing, all of which are directly related to the supply chain and logistics industry.

supply-chain-management-and-logistics-challengesA country like India has a long way to go before it can build the kind of infrastructure of the kind seen in the developed countries. Although it has a huge network of railroads and roads; the quality is pathetically low, affecting the efficiency of the supply chain. Delivery gets affected in an environment of poor infrastructure and low implementation of technology, although India is relatively stronger in the latter area. Logistics and warehousing need to improve in a large measure if the demand for growth in this sector has to be matched by the requisite infrastructure.

Infrastructure is the very backbone of this industry, and this is one of the biggest areas of weaknesses in India. This places major handicaps and hurdles right at the very heart of the industry that is poised for huge growth. A number of steps need to be taken if the challenges before the supply chain management and logistics industry have to be overcome.

 

Click to Continue Reading

Trends that will shape Supply Chain and Logistics in 2017

Trends that will shape Supply Chain and Logistics in 2017.gif

Trends that will shape Supply Chain and Logistics in 2017 is an interesting topic to think about. Though most of the trends are a takeoff from the previous years, unless something really disrupting happens out of the blue at some point of time in the year; the signals are strong that the trends that emerged in the previous few years are set to solidify and get reinforced.

What are the trends that will shape supply chain and logistics in 2017?

For a sector that is dependent heavily on infrastructure for its working; there has been little of path breaking significance in terms of what has been added to the existing infrastructure in any country of significance in the world, at least not to the extent that it can impact the industry in a significant way. The Chinese hobbyhorse, the One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative, is not slated for completion in this year. The completion of this grand project could spell a major change for the shape supply chain and logistics, but nothing of such drastic significance is set to take place in 2017.

trends-will-shape-supply-chain-and-logistics-2017In the other “happening” countries – for the supply chain and logistics industry that is – 2017 is not likely to see a signal shift. But the developments that have been happening over the past few years are likely to gather pace. Technology is one area in which the change is to be expected. While again, technology itself may not really be new till this point of time in this year; a few trends have been emerging, promising to make some impact on the shape supply chain and logistics industry in 2017.

Big Data as a driver of changeBig Data is the word on everyone’s lips. How can one expect an industry that is so completely data driven as logistics and supply chain to be insulated from its influence?

trends-will-shape-supply-chain-and-logistics-2017

Transition to m-commerceA notable development that is expected in the supply chain and logistics in 2017 is the evolution of ecommerce into m-commerce. This again, is nothing new or defining for 2017, but the year is likely to see a continuation of the trend set earlier.

trends-will-shape-supply-chain-and-logistics-2017

People all over the world are finding it much easier to shop with the help of their mobile devices, and are adapting to this medium, albeit at different levels and speed. The explosion in the number of smartphones being purchased globally has added impetus to m-commerce.

Try-ons as a new trendA new feature of online shopping is the try-on option that consumers are now being given. Online shoppers are given the option of choosing 4-5 varieties of their chosen product. All these pieces are delivered with the order, and the consumer can try out each of them and select the one that she thinks suits her best. The idea is to replicate the actual shopping to the extent possible.

trends-will-shape-supply-chain-and-logistics-2017This trend has its challenges, for sure, because the cost of making it work could be unimaginably high. As with any new trend, it is going to be some time before the economies of scale of such huge logistical operations start kicking in. Yet, this is a very tangible factor that is sure to count among the supply chain and logistics trends of 2017.

 

 

Click to Continue Reading

Global Supply Chain Regulatory Compliance

Global supply chain regulatory compliance has become more important than ever before because of the confluence of a number of factors. As globalization becomes inevitable and inescapable, the global supply chain is one of the core arenas in which it plays out. The outgrowth brought about by globalization, namely outsourcing, has further increased the need for global supply chain regulatory compliance.

Global supply chain regulatory compliance has now become something on which organizations cannot compromise. Any shipment of any item that reaches foreign shores can get rejected if it has not met global supply chain regulatory compliance. Such a consignment could even get labeled as counterfeit. This explains the importance and need for global supply chain regulatory compliance. Being in global supply chain regulatory compliance means adhering to even the local laws of the foreign country into which goods and products are exported.

Governments have become more stringent 

global-supply-chain-regulatory-complianceAs a result of these trade and technological developments; governments all around the world without exception are jumping on the bandwagon to formulate laws that apply to the supply chain industry. For most governments, global supply chain regulatory compliance is a must. They are becoming extremely strict in enforcing these laws and are handing out severe punishments to businesses and organizations that are lax in enforcing global supply chain regulatory compliance. Most countries are legislating laws regarding global supply chains almost exclusively, in a way that other political acts are framed. This has pushed the need for global supply chain regulatory compliance further.

Other related developmentsAs technologies advance in the global supply chain, many developments in auxiliary and supplementary fields have hastened global the push for supply chain regulatory compliance requirements. For example, heavy paperwork, which used to be hallmark of most merchandising businesses, has made way for automation. Global supply chain regulatory compliance has to take factors such as these into consideration.

global-supply-chain-regulatory-complianceOther developments in allied areas such as intellectual property rights have gone on to strengthen the role of global supply chain regulatory compliance. As countries demand greater protection for their intellectual property products, they use global supply chain regulatory compliance as an instrument to enforce these, when these products concern exports.

In addition, there could also be other critically important issues in global supply chain regulatory compliance that may not be related to any of these, but can play a decisive role in disrupting global businesses. Think of natural disasters such as the Fukushima earthquake or the many natural disruptions such as hurricanes in South and North America. These could throw businesses out of gear. Global supply chain regulatory compliance is a kind of insulation against the uncertainties caused by events such as these.

In other words, global supply chain regulatory compliance should leave no stone unturned. There is no scope for compromise of any kind in implementing global supply chain regulatory compliance provisions.

Items that go into global supply chain regulatory complianceMeeting global supply chain regulatory compliance requirements means having to take care of a number of ingredients. Some of these are:

global-supply-chain-regulatory-compliance

Upcoming crucial global supply chain regulatory compliance regulation in the USSeveral legislations aimed at bringing about global supply chain regulatory compliance are in place. However, at this point of time, a really crucial global supply chain compliance regulation that could play a major role in the US in the coming years is the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE).

global-supply-chain-regulatory-complianceIn a nutshell, this U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)-mandated regulation aims to bring in place a single portal which will make information on imported goods flow electronically from the businesses themselves right to the respective departments or agencies that require and handle them. The ACE is aimed at making import and export related work paperless, while also seeking to become a major facilitator of trade.

 

Click to Continue Reading

Why Trade Compliance and Logistics Must Work Together

Why Trade Compliance and Logistics Must Work Together1

Trade compliance and logistics must work together for a number of important reasons. While on the surface, trade compliance for logistics may seem burdensome for many organizations, the benefits of getting their trade compliance and logistics to work together are multifold and far outweigh the short term effort that goes into it, and that of noncompliance.

Undoubtedly, the most important reason for which trade compliance and logistics must work together is that they ensure that there is compliance with the laws of the countries into which the goods travel. It is a lot easier and a lot uncomplicated to have goods moving within national boundaries, where one can expect familiarity with the rules and the operating environment. In the case of global trade, the story is different.

Need to grapple with multiple laws

why-trade-compliance-and-logistics-must-work-togetherThere is great diversity and complexity of laws that govern trade compliance and logistics. They are now more integrated than at any point of time before because of the advent of new technologies. This brings in a motley mix of the elements of global business, such as currencies, laws, locations, people and so on. Businesses that have a stake in the global trade have to deal with these varieties and diffuse elements. One of the surest ways of ensuring that these are managed rightly is by getting trade compliance and logistics to work together.

Since there is a multitude of international laws that need to be complied with at many stages of the global supply chain; trade compliance and logistics must work together. This is the only sure way of ensuring that the company’s goods and products meet the required international trade guidelines and reach their destination safely.

A way out of the complexity

why-trade-compliance-and-logistics-must-work-togetherFor many in the business of exports, complying with the global supply chain may seem complex. However, knowledge of the laws of respective countries and building a sound logistics and supply chain infrastructure will go a long way in mitigating the problems associated with these. This is why trade compliance and logistics must work together.

Imagine a consignment of textiles originating somewhere in the Middle East headed for North America. This consignment has to pass through a few countries, at each of which it has to be sure it meets the compliance requirements. Finally, even when it reaches its destination, it must ensure that the laws of that country are complied with.

Increased efficiency and enhanced reputation 

why-trade-compliance-and-logistics-must-work-togetherAnother important reason for which trade compliance and logistics must work together is that there are substantial long term gains to be had by doing so. Supply chains that have come about as a result of trade compliance and logistics working together become more reliable and efficient. All these mean reduced costs in the long run, increased customer satisfaction, and enhanced reputation in the business.

Elaborating on the point above, it is also equally true that trade compliance and logistics must work together to pump up nations’ economic growth. A country that ensures that trade and logistics are in accordance with internationally legislated laws on the subject are more likely to be trusted by global businesses. Countries in which trade compliance and logistics work together and result in sound business infrastructure are naturally more preferred by businesses as transit routes or destinations for their products. This brings in substantial revenues to the countries.

 

Click to Continue Reading