With new developments on a minute-by-minute basis, it should be no surprise that even our most long-standing and competent institutions are struggling to keep up with the COVID-19 outbreak. As our government continues toward a hopeful point of stability in the face of the pandemic, at times it has felt as though American businesses are being given helpless or disjointed recommendations when trying to respond. Unable to wait for firm procedural guidance, business leaders have had to make unilateral changes to protect employees and customers.
A renewed focus on small business is a welcome addition to the recently agreed-upon United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), particularly given that so many of our members fall into this category. The new trade deal not only recognizes their importance to our economy, but also looks to support and encourage future growth by requiring each country to carefully consider the potential effects of future rules and regulations on how they operate.
The title almost goes without saying. My four kids, ranging in ages from six to 16, certainly have not before lived through a trying time like we are today. The uncertainty that exists with the continuing spread of the coronavirus and the real possibility of us entering an economic recession, or worse, make these unsettling times to say the very least. We at NACD are doing our best to ensure there is at least a little stability during these troubling times by providing you with the latest developments.
You’d be surprised to find that most employees are motivated by similar things. And likewise, most management teams are looking to implement solutions that coalesce around a similar set of goals — including attracting, hiring, and retaining talent that will align with the strategy and goals of their organization. And above all, produce results. So how do you achieve that? Here’s a few ideas I had the opportunity to present at NACD’s Southern Region Meeting last month that should get you going in the right direction.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before – the April 18, 2020, expiration of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program is rapidly approaching, and Congress currently does not have passable bipartisan, long-term reauthorization legislation in sight. Once again, similar to how the 15-month CFATS program extension played out in January 2019, Congress finds itself with its back against the wall trying to beat the clock and pass legislation ensuring the continuation of this important security program that maintains near-unanimous support on Capitol Hill.
The U.S. Congress often finds itself immobile. Though our capital faces no shortage of legislators with novel ideas and a genuine desire to improve our nation, it also has disagreement and partisanship in surplus. It is increasingly clear that through Congress’ inaction, state governments are taking matters into their own hands. For this reason, NACD is for the first time rolling out an organized state-level advocacy strategy to engage on these emerging issues where we can be most effective.
In the next few weeks, NACD member companies will be sent our annual Membership and Safety Questionnaire. As part of the survey, NACD members are asked to provide data on economic metrics like their employment and sales numbers as well as safety metrics like the number of reportable incidents onsite or in transit and lost workdays due to injury. Last year’s Membership and Safety Report highlights some of the topline data on our industry, and this year’s report will update those numbers as well as offer a look at some additional data points new to the survey.
As chemical distributors, we operate in a constantly changing legislative and regulatory environment. The beginning of a new year is a great opportunity to reflect on our top priorities and what we need to achieve our goals in the coming year.
Faced with ever-changing rules and regulations, chemical distributors face plenty of challenges when offering goods or services across borders or territories. To help you understand the latest requirements, NACD’s upcoming spring Regulatory Workshop will focus on international trade and will provide an invaluable update on the latest developments to help ensure you’re meeting your obligations.
By John Dunham, John Dunham & Associates
Reliability is a critical part of any supply chain. As chemical distributors, you owe it to the folks that depend on your products to have a plan for everything — even the unthinkable like natural disasters. While there is little you can do to prevent these events, there is plenty you can do to prepare for them and mitigate the worst effects of disruption for your customers and your business.