Does your product ship as a fully regulated item? (It may not have to!)
Modified on: Wed, 3 Feb, 2021 at 2:52 PM
The WERCSmart transportation registration question streams are designed to get your product on retailer shelves quickly, be compliant – and potentially save time and money.
Hazardous materials and dangerous goods require special packaging, paperwork, markings, and placards while in transit by air, sea, rail, and ground. Specific regulations and protocols govern shipments in the United States (the 49 CFR, maintained by the U.S. Department of Transportation) and internationally (the UN Model Regulations).
It is the shipper’s responsibility to comply with all regulations on shipments containing hazardous materials or dangerous goods – and this responsibility doesn’t stop once a product is received at the retailer’s dock. When a retailer signs off on receiving a shipment, the retailer takes on the responsibility of risk when continuing to move the product from the distribution center to its store locations.
This article discusses:
How retailers use WERCSmart data as an additional decision-support safety measure to ensure the right combination of compliance, efficiency, and cost-saving measures are considered before a product is moved from distribution center to store locations
How suppliers can utilize a product registration, and the advantages of a WERCSmart subscription to implement considerations for additional cost-savings or improve the time to market if a product qualifies for transportation exceptions
Retailers use WERCSmart data for safety support decisions
Once a retailer receives hazardous materials or dangerous goods product shipments in their distribution center, many decisions are made in order to move the product to store locations in the most efficient, cost-effective, and compliant way possible.
In many cases, the WERCSmart data results from product registrations are used as an on-demand decision-support tool in the following ways:
Validation for compliance – When a retailer signs off on receiving a shipment, they take on the compliance risks associated with the product. As an initial precaution, a retailer frequently uses their WERCSmart logistics data feed to validate whether the product’s special packaging, paperwork, markings, and placards are consistent with the WERCSmart results from a supplier's product registration. Consistent data offers validation for the retailer to proceed with moving products to store locations without risk or concern.
If the WERCSmart data is inconsistent with the shipping information received, it is likely that the product will be held at the distribution center until a remedy is in place, or even on extreme occasions, be returned to its place of origin.
Alternate transportation compliance considerations to store locations – Once package instructions are validated; retailers continue to use WERCSmart data to help determine if any additional cost savings or more efficient transportation considerations can be made prior to moving product to store locations. Considerations include:
Does the fully regulated product qualify for any exceptions? – Some hazardous materials or dangerous goods qualify for non-regulated transport if they are shipped in limited quantities or meet special packaging requirements. Non-regulated transport has its advantages because it is less expensive than regulated transportation routes with tolls and other restrictions. Non-regulated transport is also a more efficient method because there are more roadway options available to drivers when cargo qualifies for non-regulated transport.
If the product qualifies for an exception, what should a retailer do? – Transitioning a fully regulated product to comply with an exception typically means that the retailer will unpack/repack boxes, and then use their WERCSmart data results to help create a new set of documentation and markings according to the regulation. At this point, the retailer must decide whether it is more cost-effective or efficient for their organization to move the product to its store locations as a fully regulated product or to execute an alternate method.
Storage considerations – If a product is held at the distribution center for any reason, the WERCSmart data results from the product registration help retailers determine suitable locations for safe storage in their facility.
Supplier considerations for utilizing their WERCSmart product registration and subscription to potentially speed product to market, and/or reduce costs
As the responsibility of risk is transferred from shipper to receiver, it is certainly helpful to understand how a retailer uses WERCSmart data results for assistance in making on-demand transportation decisions. It is even better to understand the actions that a supplier can consider in order to potentially speed products to market, and/or reduce transportation costs.
After all, holding products at the distribution center due to transportation compliance protocols slows commerce for everyone, and is costly to manufacturers, distributors, and retailers.
If a product is considered a hazardous material or dangerous good, a supplier should:
Be sure product registration data is consistent with the safety documents, packaging, markings, and placards delivered upon shipment
Retailers frequently use their WERCSmart logistics data feeds to validate whether it is safe to proceed with transporting product from the distribution center to its store locations. Any inconsistencies found between your product registration and what appears on your shipment may result in a delay to getting your product on store shelves.
Check that your product registration is up to date prior to shipping
For the same reasons noted above, be certain your product registration is up-to-date and it maintains a status of “Accepted” prior to shipping. Doing so ensures your product has not been placed on hold, indicated with a status of “Needs Attention”.
Assess whether your product qualifies for exceptions
As noted previously, some hazardous materials or dangerous goods qualify for non-regulated transport if they are shipped in limited quantities or meet special packaging requirements. For manufacturers or distributors that ship products through 3rd party transit companies, the cost savings can be sizable when comparing non-regulated transport fees to products that are fully regulated.
UL can help. – If you are unsure if your product can ship in limited quantity, or qualify for an exception, please ask the customer support team. This is one of the many benefits of having a WERCSmart subscription and the UL team can help guide you through the process! After an initial intake of questions, your customer support rep can help assess whether your product will likely qualify for any transportation exceptions. And if necessary, they can then connect you with a UL Regulatory Specialist to assist with making any necessary adjustments to your SDS and additional documentation requirements.
The WERCSmart program provides a secure, permission-based platform that facilitates the safe exchange of product information between manufacturers and retailers with the highest standards of confidentiality and service.
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