Instating better security for the supply chain

Security is a hot-button topic these days. There's the issue of Internet and mobile security (who monitors our smartphones and tablets, and why is the government interested in my website preferences?) and then there's the case of our homes and offices, which could be compromised by an open window or a faulty alarm system. When it comes to the supply chain, both of these types of issues are a concern. Not only are manufacturers' IT systems at risk, so are the physical shipments of goods. How can the entire supply chain protect itself against a broad array of risks?

Weighing the risks

Risks are an inherent part of the supply chain business. No matter what industry one works in, there are issues that could arise at any moment and disrupt the tasks at hand. To be honest, these setbacks may occur at any step in the process - the procurement of materials, manufacturing of products, shipment of goods and the last mile delivery.

In 2014 alone, there was over $23 billion worth of cargo theft, reported the British Standards Institution. Although some shipments were not directly impacted, they sailed through uncertain waters where control schemes and extortion tactics are the norm. The source indicated that cargo disruption across the globe either remained the same or increased, with a plethora of factors to blame, including drug trafficking and terrorist activity.

In this day and age when we have the finest technology available to mitigate or prevent these issues from occurring, we should do as much as possible to safeguard the supply chain. It should be the duty of procurement managers, IT professionals and shipment coordinators to work with each other and be honest about behind-the-scenes events that may interfere with regular business proceedings.

Get the most security possible

There are quite a few steps that companies need to take in order to achieve the highest security possible. For starters, there should be open communication between all members of the supply chain when something goes wrong. The lack of communication between links in the chain could mean disaster for every part. According to DesignNews, many IT professionals and company leaders are either too secretive or too unaware of the causes of security hacks that may befall their systems.

Obviously, this presents a huge problem in the supply chain. Should there be factors that could prevent security breaches , then management should be forthcoming about them. As the source noted, saying "We don't know how it happened" is equally as distressing an event as a breach itself. Professionals need to stay on top of the latest risk trends to prevent their operations being compromised in the first place.

Another way that companies can protect themselves is by enabling sophisticated container locks. Engineering Capacity reported on a new device that overcomes many flaws in container security called E-Containerlock. These gadgets out of the United Kingdom are enabled with a tracking system that also sends out a distress signal should the device be tampered with or mistreated. This new piece of technology could very well reduce the number of cargo thefts around the globe, better securing the supply chain and creating a new market for the device as a result.

The security of the supply chain is very important. We rely on it for many aspects of our lives and depend on it to ensure that goods end up at their final destinations in one piece. There should be very little compromised in the manufacturing and shipment of these products since we now have technology advanced enough to mitigate and prevent adverse issues in the first place.

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