From the development of a product to its delivery to the customer, every link in the supply chain serves a crucial part in the integrity of your product, with possible threats to public health, as well as thousands and millions of dollars worth the product loss and damage.
There is no room for error when it comes to the lifespan of your product. From the time the product is first manufactured to the time it is placed on shelves, it has become the duty of company’s employees to ensure the safety of their products and protect their brand equity. Just last month, there was a recall of over 650,000 bottles of Advil due to a potential odor deriving from an element in the manufacturing process. And who could forget the Tylenol recall a few years ago in which health problems, along with a moldy odor in the Tylenol, were found to be caused by the wooden pallets used to store and transport the products at one of their plants. Trace amounts of the pesticide TBA, used to treat the wooden pallets, were found within the Tylenol.
Once a product safely makes it through the production stage, it must then be distributed to customers and face the ongoing battle of cargo theft.
70% of freight in the U.S. is transported via truck a year with an estimated 3.5 million professional truck drivers (according to TruckInfo.net) transporting this freight. Would you bet money, your car, your house, that 100% of these drivers are trustworthy…reliable…flawless? Of course not. In fact, at least 85% of cargo thefts are a result of insider jobs.
And “with more companies outsourcing for raw materials and distribution, having end-to-end visibility in a supply chain is an absolute necessity in order to ensure public safety, as well as brand protection.” 1 As MarketWatch explains, “A global brand’s strength can become a liability overnight if tainted with a product quality issue such as a food or medication scandal.” For this reason, the trucking industry has been continuously striving to improve security efforts. But as the American Trucking Associations (ATA)’s Phil Byrd explained in a hearing to a congressional subcommittee, in order to strengthen security efforts, there needs to be better communication between the government and industry.
Byrd addressed the panel by opening with the ATA’s support in the enactment of the MODERN Security Credentials Act of 2011, to which the group previously commented on as important in consolidating multiple background checks, saving drivers time and money, marking it as their “top security policy priority.”
Moving on, Byrd touched on our country’s alertness and prevention initiatives after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, explaining that although the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has placed Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) teams along Tennessee and Georgia highways to “distribute information to commercial drivers about means to report suspicious activities they might witness while performing their duties,” the TSA should also 1: “inform trusted industry representatives, such as SCC members, that such initiatives are likely to take place in particular timeframes and geographic areas to ensure commercial trucking operations can plan accordingly and not face unnecessary disruptions for time sensitive deliveries” and 2: “require TSA to report and provide specific information about the results of such VIPR highway operations, and any other similar initiatives that the agency implements in the surface transportation sector.” 2
Byrd furthered his argument of the need to work together by stating an event that happened last year when 20-year-old Khalid Aldawsari attempted to purchase a chemical for a bomb he was making. A shipping company employee, who was suspicious of the package and researched some of its materials, contacted security who then called the police. Byrd cited CNBC’s comments of the events, “In the end, it wasn’t a TSA agent, a Homeland Security operative or an FBI agent who first spotted alleged terror plotter Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari. It was the employees of a private shipping company.”
Byrd concluded the argument by stating, “This incident underlines the fact that industry, just as much as government, has increased its level of alertness and vigilance to prevent terrorists from utilizing or targeting our U.S. transportation system, including the surface modes.” 2
Road Scholar Transport is one such trucking company that is always on alert of potential security threats. That’s why we educate our drivers with the latest policies and procedures and are trained on how to react under certain circumstances.
Do you feel that there needs to be better communication between the government and transportation industry in order to strengthen security efforts? List your comments below.
Want to know how can you increase supply chain security? Below are the top ten innovations being utilized today according to the Journal of Commerce.
(the following is provided by http://www.joc.com/joc-tens/10-innovations-cargo-and-supply-chain-security):
1. Shipment tracking.
The most sophisticated electronic shipment tracking systems are customized, interactive, transparent, available 24/7 and allow users at any time to see where a shipment is and what it consists of — down to individual item descriptions, quantities, product codes, vendor or consignee identities, and countries of origin and destination. They provide automatic alerts for key events (loading, sailing, arrival and delivery) and allow customers to query their shipments online using purchase order numbers and SKU product codes. Such systems are password-protected and encrypted for added security. As a result, shippers always know the status of the shipment and can immediately identify any disruption that requires remedial action.
The use of this technology is becoming more widespread. In it, the carrier essentially puts a virtual “fence” around the route the load is scheduled to travel from pickup to delivery. A Global Positioning System tracking device allows the carrier and shipper (marine, truck or rail for intermodal methods) to follow the load along the route. All parties are alerted the moment the load veers off the planned route or the device itself is impacted, initiating immediate remedial action to recover the shipment.
3. Electronic seals.
These high-alert devices send an instant alert to the security team monitoring a shipment if container or transport vehicle seals are breached. Units incorporate industry standard security seals and bolts and typically use a combination of the global system for mobile communications and the GPS system for tracking and positioning. Devices can be fitted to any standard container, offer weeks of operation before recharging is needed and provide immediate notification if a shipment or seal has been tampered with. The best devices are part of a fully managed tracking system through a control center to monitor and act on alerts as they occur.
4. ISO 28000
The International Organization for Standardization 28000 standards series on supply chain security management provides a comprehensive framework to address theft, terrorism or piracy. It specifies the requirements for a security management system and offers certification and registration of conformity either by an accredited third-party organization or through self-determination of conformity. ISO 28000 can be used by organizations of all sizes and with all transportation modalities to address strategic and operational security issues.
5. Coordinated best practices.
Practical application of ISO standards must be coordinated for each transportation mode. In truck shipment, for example, loads should travel in an ISO container instead of a more vulnerable trailer. Seals should be placed on the container to demonstrate the shipment hasn’t been compromised. Use of an air cuff lock on the tractor (which prevents the truck’s brakes from being released) is an additional precaution.
6. Marine Security: ISF
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has created rules for an Importer Security Filing that requires importers to submit security-related information on their shipments at least 24 hours before the goods are loaded on an ocean vessel. The ISF filing must be made electronically and includes 10 categories of detailed identification and individual line-item information regarding the manufacturer, shipper, consolidator and importer, as well as information on the shipping container stuffing location and various shipment identification numbers.
7. Air Security: CCSF.
U.S. government standards mandate 100 percent security screening of all cargo transported on aircraft. The Transportation Security Administration isn’t responsible for the screening of cargo, which is to be handled by a Certified Cargo Screening Facility that can be a shipper’s own facility, a freight forwarder or an airline. Forwarders approved by the TSA can meet the air cargo security rules by using electronics to document the integrity of a shipment throughout the supply chain by utilizing stringent chain-of-custody methods.
8. Ground security: C-TPAT.
The Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism is a cooperative cargo security effort between CBP and the full supply chain of importers, carriers, consolidators, licensed customs brokers and manufacturers. Customs asks these businesses to ensure the integrity of their security practices and communicate and verify the security guidelines of their supply chain partners, as affirmed in meetings with and inspections by CBP agents. As one example, trailer and container integrity of motor truck shipments from Canada or Mexico approved through C-TPAT must be maintained by using high-security seals and related procedures.
9. Risk profiling: CHIEF.
Other countries are implementing their own integrated security and customs programs. In the United Kingdom, for example, the country’s Revenue and Customs Agency interacts with the Border Agency to ensure freight security, and it has developed a number of new programs to facilitate security screening of import shipments. Key innovations include Customs Handling of Import-Export Freight, or CHIEF, which uses a sophisticated risk-profiling system to identify goods that require documentary or physical examination while using electronic communication between customs and business users. Using EDI inter-system messages, CHIEF checks that the data on the customs declaration matches the inventory maintained on each of six independent trade systems nationwide.
10. Insurance integration.
Insurance and security management for shippers and freight forwarders continue to integrate. The new Rotterdam Rules that include carrier liability terms in individual, confidential contracts clearly document responsibility and liability during the whole transport process and dovetail with customs and security regimes for multimodal shipments. Just as qualified forwarders can secure approval from security regulators to conduct the required screening and itemizing, so too can they use their knowledge of Incoterms and electronic tracking systems to compile the detailed bills of lading required under the Rotterdam Rules. The result is one-stop security and insurance oversight that benefits all shippers.