Problem: A potential client approached HSC in a bit of a panic to figure out why their packages are being rejected by their air carrier. Over the past year, they have introduced a few lithium-battery powered products to their inventory and have had zero shipping issues until last week. Their carrier is now holding their packages at the airport terminal and, when asked why, simply say that the packages don’t have the right labels. Being new to lithium battery shipping, this customer was referred to HSC to straighten this situation out.
Solution: Though HSC deals with lithium battery transportation regulations daily, it’s important to remember there are a lot of professionals that are unaware of the existence of these rules. When packages are rejected it often comes as a surprise to the company making the shipment. And, while carriers train employees on proper acceptance procedures, the carriers themselves are often not in a position to fully explain the complicated regulations that apply to lithium battery shipments. The result is rejected shipments and confused shippers.
Once in contact, HSC set up an introductory call with the client’s logistics team to understand the items shipped, modes of transport, and current packaging processes. Based on that information, HSC realized that this client was starting from scratch. Because these lithium batteries were new to their product line, they had no dangerous goods training, were unaware of required marks/labels, and had no procedures in place to ensure compliance. In short, they needed our help to build the program from the ground up.
Going from zero to compliant shipping can seem daunting at first to any shipper. Realizing this, HSC drew up a road map for the client and reviewed it with the logistics team and their senior leadership. It was crucial that HSC not only detailed how to get in compliance with dangerous goods regulations but drove home the importance of why compliance matters. Oftentimes the logistics team is focused on the “how,” while the senior leadership – a group that is not involved in completing these shipments – demands the “why” in order to better understand why resources are needed for such a project. Once aligned, HSC created Standard Operating Procedures and job aids for the pick and pack crew as well as developed and delivered a custom lithium battery transportation training course. Armed with this new information, the client re-formatted their outbound shipping operation to ensure proper packaging, marks, labels, and documentation. Within a few weeks, the client went from company-wide panic because they were unable to fulfill orders to an efficient and compliant lithium battery shipping operation.