Drum It Up! Steel Drum Industry News, Trends, and Issues

Archive for June, 2019

US DOT Embraces Auto Driving

June 25th, 2019 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: DOT/UN, Safety, Skolnik Newsletter

The United States surface transportation system provides tremendous mobility benefits, including widespread access to jobs, goods, and services. It also connects many remote regions of the country to the larger economy. These benefits, however, come with significant safety challenges, as motor vehicle crashes remain a leading cause of death, with an estimated 37,133 lives lost on U.S. roads in 2017. Traditional safety programs and policies have made road travel significantly safer than in the past, but there is much room to improve traffic fatality and injury rates.

The U.S. Department of Transportation is taking active steps to prepare for the future by engaging with new technologies to ensure safety without hampering innovation. With the release of Automated Driving Systems 2.0: A Vision for Safety, the Department provided voluntary guidance to industry, as well as technical assistance and best practices to States, offering a path forward for the safe testing and integration of automated driving systems. The Department also bolstered its engagement with the automotive industry, technology companies, ii PREPARING FOR THE FUTURE OF TRANSPORTATION and other key transportation stakeholders and innovators to continue to develop a policy framework that facilitates the safe integration of this technology into our transportation systems. Preparing for the Future of Transportation: Automated Vehicles 3.0 (AV 3.0) is another milestone in the Department’s development of a flexible, responsible approach to a framework for multimodal automation. It introduces guiding principles and describes the Department’s strategy to address existing barriers to safety innovation and progress. It also communicates the Department’s agenda to the public and stakeholders on important policy issues, and identifies opportunities for cross-modal collaboration.

Read the full article here

Amazon’s New Hazardous Product Warehouses

June 18th, 2019 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Industry News

The shipping industry has to take the necessary precautions with hazardous materials to ensure the safety of the packaged materials, environment, handlers and the facilities the packages are being stored in or routed through. There’s no way around it. Any shortcuts could lead to costly disasters. Even if you’re a shipping and fulfillment giant, like Amazon.

According to a recent report, Amazon has decided to build separate warehouses for their hazardous goods. This decision was made after an accident involving a hazardous product in late 2018 resulted in the hospitalization of 25 warehouse workers.

The hazardous material in question? Bear repellent. Immediately following the accident, Amazon not only hit the drawing board to come up with a future solution, they also pulled thousands of cans of bear repellent, pepper spray and similar products from their fulfillment centers for the time being. Moving forward, these products will be in more secure, leak-proof packaging and will only be handled by humans and not the warehouse robots.

Furthermore, Amazon is holding the manufacturers of these products to a higher standard of safety when it comes to the packaging.

The new hazardous material-specific warehouses and fulfillment centers were already in the planning stage when the bear repellent incident occurred, but the accident certainly reinforced the need and escalated the timeline. The first of these warehouses will open this summer.

The new warehouses will boast special sprinkler systems and designated storage areas for flammable products, aerosols and oxidizers. Additionally, the staff at these centers will receive special hazardous material training, particularly on what to do in the case of a spill. As a further precaution, deliveries from these warehouses will be ground-transport only, no planes.

PHMSA Announces Advisory Committee on Transportation of Lithium Batteries

June 18th, 2019 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: DOT/UN, HazMat, Safety, Skolnik Newsletter

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) announced on May 9th, 2019, that it is soliciting nominees for a new Lithium Battery Safety Advisory Committee, in accordance with Section 333(d) of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018. “The Department is seeking experts from diverse technical and transportation backgrounds to evaluate safety improvements for the transportation of lithium batteries,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao.

The Committee will provide a forum for the Department to solicit stakeholder input to continually strengthen the safety of multimodal lithium battery transportation. PHMSA is seeking nominations from across the transportation and manufacturing industries to participate. Further, the Committee will advise the Department on developing policy positions for international forums and on how to increase awareness of the importance of lithium battery safety requirements. The Committee will submit their findings to both the Secretary and Congress. For further information, see the announcement as posted to the Federal Register. Nominations must be submitted within 21 days of the Federal Register publication date.

Selling Wine in the “Delivery Economy”

June 11th, 2019 by Jon Stein

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter, Wine

Instacart. UberEats. Grubhub. Zifty. Postmates, Amazon Fresh….

Apps like these have added convenience to everyday retail experiences, outsourcing third-party delivery beyond pizza and Chinese takeout, to grocery stores and local restaurants. Meanwhile, ready-to-cook meal delivery companies including Blue Apron and Hello Fresh are thriving as customers become more accustomed to ordering products of every type remotely. Larry Cormier, general manager, of ShipCompliant by Sovos writes about this trend in the “Wine Industry Advisor”: “The “delivery economy” has upended consumer expectations for seamless at-home consumption. Younger buyers, particularly Millennials, now anticipate that businesses will cater to their desire for on-demand delivery options – and that trend is being felt by the wine industry, too.

In 2018, wine drinkers overall spent a record $3 billion on direct shipments from wineries, a 50 percent increase since 2015, according to the 2019 Direct-to-Consumer Wine Shipping Report from Sovos and Wines Vines Analytics.” Larry goes on to observe that: “All of this increased demand for home wine delivery has introduced new competitive threats. In many states, wineries face new pressure from independent wine clubs, meal delivery companies, grocery stores and online liquor stores all seeking to uncork this growing trend. And with a Supreme Court decision expected this summer that could loosen regulations restricting interstate wine shipments, the competitive landscape for direct wine sales could soon get a lot more crowded.” Larry urges wineries to invest in the digital experience: “Whereas older generations may have looked to a particular critic or publication for recommendations on wine, Millennials want to hear directly from the label. They want the story behind the vineyard, the founders, the wine-making process, and the type of grape in front of them. They want to hear from producers and sommeliers about what makes their soon-to-be-favorite bottle of wine special. The good news is most wineries are already experienced in telling their stories.”

In the past, tasting rooms and wine clubs, often tied to smaller wineries, were responsible for much of the direct-to-consumer channel’s organic growth. The challenge is simply translating that experience to a wider audience who might not have the time or money to visit Napa Valley, for example. Larry notes that: “Social media, notably Instagram, is the most obvious way wineries can extend the tasting room experience online. It is a direct line of communication with consumers to tell the sort of behind-the-scenes story that can forge a lasting, personal connection.” With a strong economy, 2018 saw the largest average price-per-bottle increase since 2011 for the direct-to-consumer channel. Customers were also more willing to open their wallets for wines priced at $100 or more, which increased by 18 percent in volume compared to 2017.

In summary, Larry writes that: “The “delivery economy” is pushing up consumer expectations for what they’re buying, especially for high-end purchases, and that extends to packaging and labeling decisions. To stand out not just against other vineyards but also wine clubs and meal delivery companies, producers need to get creative with the stories they are telling from cart to home. Last year, 10 percent of all domestic off-premise retail wine sales were shipped directly to consumers. As this channel continues to grow, another way wineries can stand out and create personalized experiences is by changing up their product offerings to direct customers. By investing now to cater to their buying preferences for convenience and personalized experiences, wine producers can capture a larger share of the Millennial market and the growing direct-to-consumer market.”

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