Supply chain theft is one of the most costly losses a business will face. It is estimated that theft from cargo trucks alone costs businesses more than $10 billion every year worldwide. What steps can you take to help minimize the risk of supply chain theft for your business?
Where Does Supply Chain Theft Occur?
The majority of supply chain theft involves cargo being hauled by trucks, but where do these thefts occur? A study conducted by a group of commercial insurance agencies found the majority of supply chain theft occurs at truck stops and highway rest areas, accounting for 39 percent of the thefts. Modal yards, come in second, with 27 percent of thefts, and unsecured locations come in third, accounting for another 25 percent. Warehouse burglaries and car hijackings account for a small fraction of these thefts, coming in at six and three percent respectively.
What can you do to help reduce the risk of theft in your own supply chain?
Utilize Comprehensive Background Checks
Protecting yourself from supply chain theft starts in-house. Even if you need to bring in new employees, don’t rush yourself during the hiring process. Take the time to perform comprehensive background checks on all potential hires, as well as checking with references and former employers.
It may take longer and may cost money, but when you compare the money spent on a background check to the money you might lose if you hire someone who could compromise the company, the background checks end up paying for themselves.
Be Cautious When Choosing Transportation Partners
Your vigilance and background checks shouldn’t stop with your employees — extend it to your transportation partners as well. Most companies that transport products don’t have their own in-house trucking company, which necessitates the partnership with a travel or trucking company. Be careful with your selection. Ensure that your transportation partner is as trustworthy as your own employees.
By ensuring your transportation partners are trustworthy, you can reduce the chance of cargo or supply chain theft becoming an inside job.
Utilize Tools To Make Your Products Safer
You can easily fill your truck with loose packages or haphazardly stacked pallets, but you’re not just putting yourself at risk for damaged products — you make your cargo more attractive to potential thieves.
Mechanical stretch wrappers, for example, can secure your products much tighter than a human can, and unless your potential thieves bring pallet jacks or other heavy equipment with them, it makes your supply harder to steal.
Other tools could possibly include biometric-based security or RFID tracking systems for your products. Thieves look for easy paydays, so by making your products as difficult to steal as possible, you reduce the chance that thieves will target your supply chain. It doesn’t need to be impossible to get to — that could potentially slow down your deliveries as employees struggle to get your products off the pallets they’re delivered on — but by making it more difficult, you can discourage thieves from targeting your products in the first place.
Create a Security-Centric Culture
Securing your product and completing background checks are all great tools to help reduce the risk of supply line theft, but when it comes down to it, a security-centric culture starts at home. Start from the moment your employees are hired and teach them about the importance of security both in the factory or warehouse and once your product has left the facility on the way to its final destination.
Continue your employee’s education about the importance of security and your own individual security protocols. Start from the bottom and work your way up — even if entry-level employees are not directly involved in your security processes, continuing to educate them helps them to become the foundation of your security culture.
Supply chain theft costs businesses billions of dollars every single year. By taking steps to protect your supply chain, you can help to reduce the amount of theft that occurs, protecting your investment in the process. Remain vigilant and start building your security-centric culture from the ground up
— even your lowest level employees should be involved and aware of the security protocols you have in place to keep your business and your products safe.