Staying Mindful of Unexpected Regulations Affecting Supply Chains

Author: T Nguyen
July 20, 2012

There are many factors to constantly check as a supply chain manager or owner, especially in regards to risk management.  These can include natural disasters to international crises, both of which have made headlines in the past year.  One variable that may not be commonly thought of is domestic regulation.  Many may think that regulations are much more steady and less prone to drastic change, making most people pay less attention to them.  When a new announcement causes big changes, businesses are often left scrambling to make sure everything is continues smoothly.  Here, we’ll look into one such legislation and it’s possible ramifications on your shipping and supply chain operations and the importance of staying vigilant.

On January 3rd, 2012, a new federal law passed in which commercial truck drivers are not allowed to use any sort of handheld cell phone device while driving; they are still allowed to use headsets to answer calls.  Fines can go up to $2,500 to the driver and up to $11,000 to the respective businesses.  Although the change doesn’t seem too surprising with states enacting similar laws against individuals driving while on their cellular devices, the fact that the business behind the driver can be highly implicated as well is forcing quick changes to minimize risk in case something does happen with their driver.  For instance, a Coca-Cola driver was involved in a crash and it was proven that she was distracted, even with a headset.  In the end, Coca-Cola had to pay nearly $24 million.  Different analysts suggest that companies be sure to inform their drivers in writing, not only of the new legislation, but also to do their best to prevent such behavior from happening.  This type of preventative action includes not calling the driver if he or she is moving, unless for an emergency.  Another solution would be to give drivers headsets to use to show a potential jury that your company has done their due diligence equipping drivers to minimize risk.

In general, the lesson learned here is that even regulations affecting only a portion of the supply chain can make a big impact on a business without sufficient information and pro-active management.  Source Consulting continues to stay abreast of different changes that come about within shipping and supply chains around the world.  With experienced employees who have worked many years in the shipping industry and continuous up-to-date research, Source provides advice and cost-saving services to companies of all different types of business.

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