Industry Insights

Matthew Moriarty, Transportation Manager, Kimberly-Clark Australia

Kimberly-Clark is an established international producer of personal care products, with a significant Australian presence. As a consignor under CoR law, it also has vital road transport obligations, as Transportation Manager Matthew Moriarty explains to Joseph Nunweek.

Q What are some of the unique challenges for Kimberly-Clark in Australia (KCA) from a logistics perspective?

A Like most businesses, KCA has been faced with many challenges over the last few years in Australia. The challenges we face relate to the sheer volume of product, and the distance over which we must transport our finished goods to KCA customers in Australia and New Zealand.

A large challenge has been around our Millicent Family Care mill, which produces paper products and is located approximately 400km from both Adelaide and Melbourne. The distance from our mill requires us to be heavily focused on logistics and relies on us to work collaboratively with our transport carriers.

Q When chain of responsibility obligations were introduced in Australia for consignors, what process did KCA undertake? What needed to change?

A A self-assessment of our road transport obligations to identify any gaps was our starting point. The Retail Logistics Supply Chain Code of Practice helped us to identify best practice, and we completed the Australian Logistics Council’s self-assessment tool.

We also set up an internal cross-functional working group (including members of our supply chain, risk and compliance, and legal teams) to examine other areas for improvement and compliance gaps.

Major changes identified related to transport supplier contract terms and contractor management, awareness of roles and responsibilities, education within the areas of load restraint and fatigue, and carrier management.

This gave us a clear path to build our road transport management system, which led to the development of new CoR policy and procedure, and an independent approved auditor was engaged to conduct an external audit to provide us with confirmation of compliance. The external audit meant we could identify further areas of improvement from an industry expert, build staff knowledge and reinforce CoR concepts.

Q Describe to me what an ordinary day looks like in KC when ensuring compliance with supply chain requirements. What are the essential tasks – and what, if any, are some of the obstacles or tricky parts that arise?

A There are many systems and processes in play to ensure compliance. In particular, carrier management is key in enabling KCA to meet its CoR obligations. This primarily comprises communication on compliant loading and unloading times and dealing with potential issues that we have identified. The longer term management of carriers through audits, regular meetings and effective communication helps us to greatly reduce the potential for CoR breaches.

At the distribution centre (DC), site-level compliance starts from when the truck driver rolls through the gates of one of our DCs. The process starts with the site induction of the driver, which ensures that all KCA safety and CoR requirements have been communicated and acknowledged. We use a CoR verification checklist with both the driver and the loading manager to ensure we are doing everything we can to transport our products in compliance with legislative requirements.

It’s worth noting that our total safety culture not only looks at the safety requirements under the road transport legislation, but also includes the safety of the driver while they are on our site.

Q From a compliance perspective, are new forms of technology making KCA’s supply chain responsibilities easier?

A New technology opens up opportunities to improve the way we work. In compliance it can lead to more visible information and trending, and automated escalation of issues, which can be built into our total safety culture reporting.

Software improvements made to our transport management system, allowing it to interface with our other business operation software, have enhanced our ability to extract data. Amongst other things, this data is used to help verify adherence to fatigue management requirements.

Currently, KCA DCs are running trials for using iPads to fill in compliance forms and looking at how they can improve the access of information to team leaders and workers on the floor. Access to information has the ability to promote a culture of policy and procedure compliance, as well as enabling workers to make informed decisions.

Q There’s been a lot of feedback on CoR as it stands in Australia, culminating in a recent discussion paper by the NTC that recommends consolidating the many obligations consignors have right now under law into a single duty. What’s KCA’s view on this proposed reform?

A While we are still looking carefully at the broader proposal, we see advantages in the consolidation into a single duty. It will help in the communication of the message to the key stakeholders of what their roles and responsibilities are.

A simpler message resulting in the same or better outcomes also helps in the education of our workers. We do not presently anticipate that KCA will be required to change what we currently do. We will continue to move forward with checks, balances and improvements to ensure that both KCA and our carriers are meeting all CoR obligations.