Zero Defects Program from Ondeo Offers Plan for Safe Deliveries

June 1, 2001
AT FIRST glance, it seems simple to load a product, haul it to a customer, and put it in the designated storage tank without spilling or contamination.

AT FIRST glance, it seems simple to load a product, haul it to a customer, and put it in the designated storage tank without spilling or contamination. “It's not rocket science,” was the way Everett Gauthier put it in a presentation to the National Tank Truck Carriers (NTTC) Safety Council April 12 in San Antonio, Texas.

Yet transportation managers must be continually diligent to insure the process is accomplished without incident, according to Gauthier, who is manager of safety and quality for Ondeo (formerly Nalco Chemical Co) of Naperville, Illinois. He made the comments in a discussion of Ondeo's Zero Defects safety program.

The company has tackled loading and delivery problems by instituting a documentation program that includes trailer compartment and storage tank labels; storage tank, tank trailer compartment, and product numbers; and delivery time schedules. Loading and unloading equipment have unique numbers. Product labels are attached to the discharge couplings.

Documentation continues on the bill of lading where the product number is listed in three places in addition to the number designating the appropriate storage tank. Amount of product to be delivered and delivery time also are part of the bill of lading information.

To reduce some of the number listings, the same numbers are used for the customer and the customer storage tank, and customers are required to retain the storage tank number even if the tank is replaced by another.

To insure the numbers are listed and correct, an Ondeo delivery representative inspects the customer's site. After the inspection, the customer is responsible for putting the numbers in the appropriate locations. Ondeo will not deliver a product to a facility if the customer refuses to conform to the Zero Defects standards, said Gauthier.

“The bill of lading is the map for your delivery,” he said. “When we put this information on the bill of lading, we reduced our accidents by one-half.”

For the program to be successful, drivers must be trained to follow the procedures without exception, he emphasized. With this in mind, the program designers considered check lists airplane pilots consult before takeoff and instituted a similar procedure in the Zero Defects plan.

Drivers are required to write in the numbers for the various identifications and check product levels in the tanks. They must answer questions on the form that indicate there is enough capacity for the amount of product to be delivered and that the tank is the correct tank for the product. Finally, a second review of the list is required before product can flow.

“Proper training is a must,” said Gauthier.

Drivers are instructed to triple check entries, to match each batch of product with the appropriate number, and compare it to shipping labels. Drivers also have the authority to deny delivery if they suspect a problem. They are instructed to be courteous, but to call their supervisor for further orders.

“Drivers can report if labels are damaged and can refuse to deliver the product,” he said. “The driver controls the delivery process.”

Gauthier agreed that a program like Zero Defects may be difficult to implement when shipper, carrier, and customer will not agree to the process. However, if product incidents continue to occur, it is likely the Department of Transportation will begin to take a closer look at training programs for loading and delivery. He urged members of NTTC to become active in developing a program of procedures for loading and delivery and then lobby for its implementation.