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Supply Chain Issues Are Causing This Big Problem for Many Companies

Posted by Sean Murphy on Apr 25, 2022

By now, everyone knows the supply chain has been a mess for a long time. It does not look like it will improve anytime soon. The supply chain disruption has created more problems. One of those is an increase in cargo theft, mainly because companies have no choice but to leave their cargo sitting around for long periods.

“When you have more [cargo] that’s sitting around, that’s going to increase that level of concern around cargo theft because you just know that there’s more of it to target,” Scott Cornell, national practice leader of transportation with Travelers’ inland marine division, tells Canadian Underwriter in an interview. “Keep in mind, too, the more that’s sitting around, the harder it is to predict where they’re going to go to steal it.”

Cornell says that companies are spreading out their cargo, which gives thieves more opportunities to steal. They believe the company cannot monitor the entire area where it parks its cargo.

There has been a huge increase in cargo shipment. For example, in 2021, the Port of Los Angeles has broken its previous cargo record of 13% in 2018. How is it possible for the port to have a record number of cargo when the supply chain is so broken?

Ironically, it is the supply chain’s troubles that led to the Port working to improve its operations to be more efficient. Unfortunately, it’s only one part of the supply chain. The cargo still needs to go from the port to its final destination. Add a worker shortage to the list of problems and it’s understandable why cargo sits around longer.

Additionally, some companies end up renting a space to store their cargo in another location. Often, it’s not as secure as their main storage. The other issue is that the thefts happen while the truck is en route. The good news is that companies can take steps to reduce the chances of cargo theft in both scenarios.

Why It’s Critical to Stop Cargo Theft with a Sluggish Supply Chain

Cargo theft is not the only negative side effect of the broken supply chain. The supply chain instigated an increase in demand and a decrease in supply. When these two things happen, then the cost of goods and materials skyrockets. Almost everything in everyone’s lives has grown more expensive. Everything from gasoline and used cars to food items and computers.

Inflation reached a 40-year high in December 2021 according to NextAdvisor. This article points to U.S. Bureau of Labor data reporting energy has increased by more than one-third, gasoline climbed by almost 60%, and proteins like meat, poultry, fish, and eggs are up almost 13%. The word is that when the supply chain recovers, the prices should return to more reasonable levels.

Interestingly enough, cargo theft is also contributing to the supply chain woes. Crooks are going after things that are in demand. When they successfully steal something, it shrinks the supply. Rinse. Lather. Repeat.

Computer chips are in short supply. Organized crime gangs know this and create meticulous plans to find and swipe computer chips. Once they succeed, the company that has its chips stolen is now in a bind. How do they replace the stolen chips? Cancel customer orders that will send them buying from competitors? Pay a lot more for the chips than what they paid for the stolen chips?

This impacts multiple industries. The automotive and computer industries both depend on these computer chips. The makers of computer chips will have to make hard decisions about where their chips should go.

It will cost far more to replace stolen goods than what you paid for them in the first place. And you may not be able to replace them quickly considering the supply chain backlog. Your best option is to take steps to deter theft.

How to Help Prevent Cargo Theft During the Supply Chain Crisis

Before delving into cargo theft prevention, it’s important to discuss “on the move” cargo theft. The good news is that it has fallen. Data from TT Club says out of all the types of theft, hijacking, and robbery from vehicles have fallen from 67% to just 25% while theft of cargo units in unsecured storage areas has jumped to 45%. Nonetheless, it’s important to have processes and procedures in place, especially where trucks are involved. This ensures that on the move theft doesn’t climb back up to previous levels.

Companies need to diversify their supply chain through alternative stockpiling, sourcing, and backup partners according to SupplyChain Management Review. Companies switching from just-in-time inventory to stockpiling must protect their assets. The best way to do that is by layering security.

Fortunately, companies can be proactive in reducing the chances of cargo theft. Fighting cargo theft requires education, efficient processes and procedures, and technology. Here are the four best ways to do that.

1. Document Processes and Procedures for Managing Cargo

It’s crucial to implement and follow policies and procedures. You need to do more than require everyone to follow procedures. Test the process by doing surprise checks, random samplings, and self-audits. You can help mitigate cargo theft by noting all the vulnerabilities in the transporting of goods.

In addition to creating and following processes, train employees on the processes as well as security protocols. Make it a requirement to conduct background checks on all new employees and drivers. Invest in a system that can accurately track and monitor shipments.

2. Educate Truck Drivers on Policies and Procedures

Walk drivers through the process and ask them how they will react if different scenarios happen. If they’re not sure how to react, it’s your chance to educate them. You’ll want to discuss what to do during the theft and who to call about the incident.

Most experienced truck drivers know they need to remain alert about cargo theft while they’re on the road. Still, you want to avoid taking for granted that truck drivers are in the know about how to cut their chances of becoming victims of cargo theft. Educate them on where and how cargo is being pilfered.

Encourage them to come prepared to drive at least 200 miles before stopping. Organized crime gangs tend to follow trucks for that many miles before giving up. The truck driver should have enough fuel, drinks, and food to help them get out of this red zone without an incident.

3. Implement Remote Video Surveillance

Video surveillance systems put eyes over the entire perimeter of your business. Unlike traditional security and alarm systems, video surveillance takes a proactive approach to security and can help deter crime. Security specialists can install cameras in strategic places around the perimeter and anywhere cargo is stored to watch over the trucks, cargo, parking, loading docks, the building’s interior, and the gate.

An effective video surveillance system uses high-resolution cameras that can record everything for later retrieval. These videos can be shared with law enforcement and anyone else who needs the evidence of what happened. If employees discover a problem that happened hours or days ago, they can have analysts search the videos to piece together what happened.

Remote video surveillance can do more than avert crime. For example, someone driving a company’s fleet truck hit a car during daylight hours. No one on the property saw what happened. However, someone did catch it and they were not even located on the property.

A monitoring operator in a remote location caught the accident on the security cameras. The operator zoomed in on the truck to capture the driver’s face, license plate, and fleet number. It was more than enough information to identify the driver.

That’s why the most powerful and effective video surveillance system integrates high-quality security cameras with video analytics and trained monitoring operators. This pairing of analytics and monitoring operators can help increase the chances of their catching something suspicious before anything happens.

Remember one of the biggest problems with cargo theft is that the cargo is spread out. In some cases, it’s not in secure areas. Remote video surveillance can help overcome this challenge. It monitors all comings and goings anywhere there is cargo as well as your important assets.

The security cameras are often placed at the entry and exit points. So, whenever a truck enters, the operator asks for information from the driver to confirm they’re expected. Additionally, the camera scans the truck for identification information.

After passing inspection, the operator — located in a building away from the business — remotely opens the gate to let the truck in. This process works for Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) inspections. The only thing anyone onsite will need to do is inspect the trailer and check the seals. Everything else can be monitored through cameras. Check out this gate and access control video to learn how the system works.

4. Add an Access Control System

You can integrate an access control system with video surveillance technology. This allows you to manage who can enter the perimeter, building, and limited-access rooms. You’ll also be able to better track all truck movements at all times.

Access control is more effective when you use it with remote video surveillance. The security cameras can verify the driver’s credentials, capture the driver’s face, document the license plates and vehicle number, and note the timestamp for reports and later retrieval of footage.

You could obtain a fast return on your investment with the right remote video surveillance and access control system. It helps maximize security for warehouses, storage facilities, and trucks while reducing liability. The tenuous supply chain, the growing number of cargo thefts, and rising costs more than justify the need for security to protect your cargo, your assets, and your employees.

What It Takes to Stop Cargo Theft

Watching everything in your business with video surveillance remote monitoring may be a boon for businesses. This takes a proactive approach to security that can help deter crime. Using high-resolution cameras will help ensure you can get the identifying information you need to track trucks and suspicious individuals.

In investigating remote video surveillance systems, you’ll want to search for high-quality security cameras that combine video analytics and human monitoring operators. The alliance between video analytics and trained monitoring operators will multiply the chance of spotting something suspicious before anything happens.

With the right video surveillance system, you’ll get a fast return on your investment. To learn more about remote video surveillance and how it helps cargo theft, check out the guide to Remote Video Surveillance: More Than Just Catching Criminals. For a customized security plan that maximizes your ROI, contact us.