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Article by Jane Gibson London, Chemical Distribution, page 74
Being handed the job of a Responsible Distribution code coordinator may, at first sight, seem somewhat daunting. A newcomer to the role, Heath DeLaRoché has recently attended the NACD code coordinator workshop to gain a little more insight.
“The whole workshop was filled with helpful information and offered the opportunity to ask questions. The discussions relating to verifications, changing requirements and continuous improvement were particularly helpful,” says DeLaRoché.
DeLaRoché found the optional training for the incoming code coordinators offered on day one very useful. New information was discussed, including any changes to the program’s require-mens. “It was good to learn what has changed and what is coming down the pipeline, giving companies the opportunity to change their processes,” he says.
The implementation of Code XIII, for example, with documentation now stored in an electronic format, means that cyber security is emphasized.
“People asked many questions – there were attendees from new member companies and also code coordinators entering the role, who wanted to come on board. They all wanted to know enough to be able to do it right the first time,” he says.
The course also introduced DeLaRoché to the mentor scheme. Mentors are available to all NACD associates, with members able to call them and pick up one-on-one time. “It’s amazing that potential competitors are ready to help,” says DeLaRoché
“It’s clear the feeling is that it is better to have consistency within the industry. Responsible Distribution has an impact on our community, and everyone feels it’s important to help others keep up to speed,” he adds.
On the second day, the course went over self-assessment reports and internal audits. “We looked at how to assess strengths and weaknesses of senior management commitment, Code I, down to Security, Code XIII. We also looked at assessing public warehouses so that the chain of custody remains intact,” he says.
”It was good to discover that rather than the audit being some surprise test, it is something that you work together on to build up. This gave a feeling of relief. As long as you integrate Responsible Distribution into your daily business plan, it will come as a welcome verification, rather than a surprise test,” says DeLaRoché.
DeLaRoché says the first thing he did on his return to work, was to sit down with his fellow code coordinator at Palmer Holland and look at where the company stood on Responsible Distribution. “I was eager to see how we had implemented Responsible Distribution. We went over each code to assess how it was mandated and documented in our system,” he says.
“I also wanted to see how the chain of custody, from the supplier to the carrier to the customer, was verified. Product stewardship means that you should be aware of how you are receiving a product and how your customer is using it. I didn’t see any gaps, but I saw that we have the opportunity for continuous improvement,” says DeLaRoché.
DeLaRoché also asked employees what their processes were to see what was happening and how. “The documentation was there, but it wasn’t necessarily labeled as NACD code documentation.” About customer service, DeLaRoché was keen to see what the employees saw as a red flag. “It came straight out of product stewardship – we are already doing it.”
DeLaRoché got the impression that new member companies felt that failure was the ultimate end, but the course taught them otherwise, especially given the clear support offered by NACD to those experiencing any difficulties.
“It just means you need to improve where necessary. If you miss a couple of things, then you go back and address them – and then come back even stronger. There is no reason that a company that is really trying, should fail a verification twice,” he says.
As a new code coordinator, DeLaRoché was also under the impression that it would be easy to stay verified, but discovered that there are always verification changes and continuous improvement is required to pass. Evidence of this is in the attendance of “veteran” code coordinators on the course, says DeLaRoché. “Having them there was amazing. It shows that it is a continual learning process,” he adds.
He also benefited from networking opportunities, meeting suppliers, other code coordinators and even some of the verifiers. “I really enjoyed the atmosphere and the cooperation and the drive to make it a better industry. There are now so many layers of people I can turn to, from internal staff members to the NACD, our mentor or other members in the code coordinator role,” says DeLaRoché.
DeLaRoché plans on keeping in touch with the other code coordinators he met, to support one another through their next verifications. He is also keen to use more of the online NACD resources presented and is taking an NACD U course online.
“I walked away with a better understanding of how important Responsible Distribution is – and how we mitigate risk by being part of it,” he says. ■
NACD often highlights the efforts of its members and their positive contribution to the industry – and this is your chance to share your achievements, thoughts and experiences. Each issue, this will be your forum. We want to hear about your experiences as a code coordinator. If you or one of your colleagues would like to be featured in the next edition of Chemical Distributor, please email Matt McKinney at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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