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August 18, 2020 | Insights

Safety & Your Supply Chain: Creating the New Normal

August 18, 2020 | Insights

Working with companies across a diverse set of industries means that we have seen the global pandemic affect business in an equally diverse set of ways. Retailers with strong online presences fought to maintain, grocers galvanized their operations to fulfill increased demand, and some companies unfortunately saw sales grind to a screeching halt. Now, with restrictions continuing to lift on economies across North America, businesses are resuming more activities…but this is not business as usual.

 

Just like you and your company, we are working hard at NSSL to create a new normal that keeps our employees and our customers safe while ensuring the continuity and efficiency of the supply chain – especially those essential supply chains in the food, medical, and manufacturing sectors. This article shows how we’re helping our customers conduct their operations (and do business with us) safely and with confidence.

It’s a Whole New (Virtual) World

 

We haven’t figured out a way to make shunt trucks drive themselves (and we wouldn’t want to – our drivers are our favorite people), so we have made adjustments to the way we work in the yard – physical distancing, stringent cleaning of cabs and high-touch surfaces – that enable them to do their jobs for you safely.

 

But our efforts haven’t stopped at the distribution center gates. We’ve learned through the crisis that we can leverage technology more than ever to provide support in a variety of ways.

 

Virtual Yard Audits

Every yard management program we deploy is different because every yard is unique. We find that gaining a first-hand experience by walking the yard shoulder-to-shoulder with logistics professionals is a best practice—but when that’s not an option, we have a structured process to gain insights virtually.

 

We ship a kit that contains video equipment and a detailed list of what we typically look at when we conduct an in-person yard audit. We also look at data provided by our potential customers in conjunction with our observations of the yard—and together, that begins to create a clearer picture of how NSSL can potentially help. One of the benefits of conducting these audits virtually is that we’re often able to complete them in a shorter time and leverage expertise from many members of NSSL’s team, where before, timing and team involvement were sometimes restricted by travel capabilities and schedules. 

 

Digital Tracking with Shuntware

Shuntware isn’t a new offering at NSSL, but its features have proven invaluable during times when management is increasingly done from a distance. Tasks are delegated systematically, eliminating the need for human contact. NSSL sites that utilize Shuntware capture real-time data, so our field supervisors, operations managers, and customers can see what is going on in the operation at any time. 

 

Shuntware is the only yard management software designed by yard management professionals, for yard management professionals. It can easily integrate with other digital tools to provide a clear, easy-to-read picture of the most meaningful KPI’s in any yard. NSSL leaders use historical Shuntware data to drive coaching conversations for drivers and to determine which strategic priorities they need to focus on to make yard operations more profitable for our customers.

 

Remote Camera Audits

A new technology we’re incorporating into our sites is our shunt vehicle cameras. Equipped vehicles have four cameras installed that display a video feed of the front and rear of the vehicle. 

 

Periodically, our quality and safety team performs an audit on the camera-equipped vehicles. The cameras enable us to ensure drivers are following our SOP’s, and the data can be loaded into our quality audit software for performance tracking. 

 

Also, while these vehicles have operated without incident since the technology was implemented, the cameras provide us a valuable resource if we ever needed to investigate any accident or damage claims.

 

Data-Driven Safety and Quality Programs

Our safety program, SEE ME (Safe + Efficient + Execution = Maintaining Excellence) takes the same data-driven approach to safety as Shuntware allows us to do with yard management. Powered by I-Auditor software, yard managers can verify that drivers are adhering to NSSL and customer SOP’s on a daily basis, even if they aren’t physically on site to verify. SEE ME allows NSSL to take full, proactive ownership of the safety practices in your yard no matter how far apart our facilities may be. 

 

To ensure quality and efficiency, we also use I-Auditor software to support the time studies we conduct for our clients. During these time studies, we perform over 100 observations throughout the course of a week and calculate the average time per move in the yard. This helps us identify drivers who may need additional training to bring their performance up to speed. These metrics are provided to our client to show progress, and also assigned to individual drivers to measure their overall performance and track development of their skills.

 

Evolving With the Times, Evolving With You

As recent events have demonstrated, agility in logistics is critical to success in the face of supply chain disruption. Our team at NSSL is always looking for ways to flex our capabilities to make your yard operation a safer, healthier place for both people and the bottom line. If you’re facing logistics challenges in your yard and beyond, we want to help. Contact NSSL today and let’s start a conversation!