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Protection v. Prevention: How Better Systems Lead to Better Supply Chain Safety

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What’s more effective at reducing supply chain risk, prevention or protection? Well, if you have to choose one, it’s probably prevention. Though typically protection is something that is visible like a hard hat or brightly-colored vest that makes supply chain workers feel safe, prevention is a more effective at decreasing endangerment. 


The Problem with PPE

Locks keep honest people honest, but the truth is that any lock can be broken into. This is why we rely upon motion-activated cameras and lighting systems to deter thieves. The same is true for personal protection equipment. A hard hat will fail if punctured with enough force. A face mask will fail if the elastic holding it in place wears out. Though PPE solutions are often effective, they ignore the cause of the problem: How did something so heavy fall on a worker? Why was a sick employee at work? 

By looking beyond PPE as the solution for safety in the warehouse, the construction site, the shipyard, and other high-risk locations, MWCold is creating opportunities for protection not only for the employees involved in these systems but also your company’s products and profitability. Here’s how: 


Leveraging Technological Advances

Every industry has new technologies becoming available to help streamline and safeguard daily practices. For 3PL providers, this is more true than ever. MWCold recently updated its training systems to provide VR training for forklift operators, which keeps employees with no experience, their coworkers, and your product safe as they learn how to drive heavy machinery virtually. And in addition to keeping everyone safe, it also keeps supply chains moving without disruption on the warehouse floor.  


Going Above and Beyond in Safety Systems Training

Every workplace has the mandatory poster of OSHA labor laws hanging in the breakroom, and many industries like logistics have compulsory recertifications on high-risk activities such as the operation of PITs. These are checkmarks that every employer must go through to meet industry standards, but they really are the bare minimum when it comes to the safety of your employees and customers. Internal SOP should be reviewed at the very least every time there is an incident or near-miss and ideally on a regular basis as well. 


Providing a Robust Safety Net 

One thing we have learned about workplace safety from the COVID-19 pandemic is that an employer that doesn’t provide adequate benefits for their employees is at high risk. Workers without the means to provide for their families when sick will hide their illness from employers to make ends meet even in the best of times. Add a deadly outbreak to the mix and you have a recipe for low worker retention and difficulty hiring. This is why MWCold offers a full range of benefits to its entire team not typically afforded to the average supply chain worker. 


Building a Culture of Safety Improvements

For the best results when it comes to safety systems, a big factor in building a system of safety in supply chain is by involving every team member in the conversation and invite ideas for improvement at every level. At MWCold, we do this each month during our all-hands meeting we call the Blast, where we also celebrate business achievements and offer cash prizes to attendees to invest in our culture of teamwork and growth. This allows us to review incidents as a team to collaborate in long-term solutions for our customers. 


In the debate of protection v. prevention when it comes to supply chain safety, it’s clear the answer is both. Protection helps keep workers safe in case of unexpected events and will never be irrelevant, but the application of good safety systems as a part of your comprehensive logistics strategy will ultimately keep your supply chain safer than protection alone. 

Tags: Logistics, Supply Chain

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