7 Habits of Highly Effective Logistics Safety Leaders

Posted by Paul Little on 4 June 2014

Every day is a challenge - so much to do and so little time to do it. The world of the logistics safety leader is fast paced, with demands from both your internal and external customers to have shipments arrive on-time, safe and damage-free and from the regulators to have shipments in full compliance with the regulations. The key to thriving in such a fast paced environment is to have a plan and stick to it. The crisis of the day can quickly derail your best intentions, but you need to rise above it and maintain a focus on the big picture, your logistics safety management system.

Here are 7 habits of highly effective logistics safety leaders that nurture their logistics safety management system so that it supports the company’s supply chain goals of safe, secure and compliant logistics.

The Seven Habits

istock 000007372701xsmall pc phone pen vlssp 31. Come to Work with a Plan

Plan your work and work your plan. If you arrive at work with a set of goals for the day, you are more likely to move closer to achieving the key results that you have established for your logistics safety management system. However, if you wait to tackle each problem that comes your way, you will get bogged down in the minutiae and you won’t be able to properly support the strategic approach to your logistics safety management system that is necessary for success.

2. Keep Abreast of Industry Developments

The role of the logistics safety leader is to represent the logistics safety management system, the system that ensures your raw materials arrive on-time and safely and your products depart safe, secure and compliant and are delivered to their destination as per your customer’s expectations. To adequately manage logistics safety risks requires someone that is aware of industry developments, whether it is a proposed rulemaking or a new standard for high security seals, you need to stay informed.

3. Network Inside & Outside Your Company

The logistics safety leader is the face of your management system. One of their primary roles is to touch base with their network, inside and outside of your company to stay aware of what key stakeholders are thinking. This collaboration will build relationships that can solve your most challenging logistics safety issues.

4. Track Performance with Metrics

What gets measured gets improved. Leading indicators of satisfactory performance can act as the mile markers on your journey to logistics safety excellence. Waiting until the end of the month with the hope of zero distribution incidents is a stress filled life. It is much better to identify leading safety indicators (e.g., % of trailers loaded using approved load securement methods or % of cargo tanks loaded using a checklist), than wait for shifting and falling freight or a leaking trailer to record another distribution incident.

5. Stay Close to Your Customers

However you define your customers (e.g., your supply chain managers, the shipping and receiving department or the traditional customer that buys your products), they are your motivation to strive for incident-free logistics. Through the use of regular meetings, managing by walking around or customer satisfaction surveys, knowing that your logistics safety management system continues to fulfill your customers’ needs will be the gratification you and your logistics safety team need to continuously improve.

6. Lead Your Team

A logistics safety management system can’t be managed by one individual; it takes a team approach to have it perform effectively and efficiently. Providing feedback regarding customer satisfaction, improvements in on-time deliveries or incident-free shipments will inspire your team to maintain their focus on safe, secure and compliant logistics

7. Manage the Risks

Your logistics safety management system (LSMS) is your risk management pathway. It will guide you in terms of the appropriate actions to take to manage your logistics safety risks. A LSMS contains the checks and balances to ensure that it is appropriately assessing and managing risk. Since you define the purpose, scope and requirements to manage the environmental, health, safety and security aspects of your company’s supply chain, your LSMS should reflect your organization’s need to identify risk and deal with it. From a management of change procedure to the selection and management of logistics service providers, a LSMS provides the guidance to deal in a practical way with expected logistics safety issues. (See Blog Archive: Managing Logistics Risk to Improve Performance.)

In summary, logistics safety leaders that embrace these 7 highly effective habits and keep their eye on their logistics safety management system will continue to raise the bar in terms of the company’s logistics safety performance.