Shippers, carriers, and 3PLs must stay ahead of theft trends to protect their cargo. While SensiGuard Supply Chain Intelligence Center’s Cargo Theft Annual Report shows that the number of recorded cargo thefts dropped by 15% from 2016 to 2017, the United States is still a “high” threat level for cargo theft. Securing the supply chain is no easy feat, but there are several risk management techniques that go a long ways toward limiting theft:
- Vet Drivers & Third-Party Carriers
Make sure you trust whoever will be handling your cargo. Run background and criminal record checks on drivers and any other individuals who are part of the shipment supply chain. Vet any third-party carriers with tools like the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program and Carrier411 — these resources collect information on carrier safety ratings, BASIC scores, insurance, and more.
- Train Employees
Being on the lookout for theft and having situational awareness is critical for drivers, as well as others who are handling cargo (such as warehouse employees). Train your employees on the current security threats, crime warning signs, and best practices to mitigate theft. This will prepare your staff for day-to-day and emergency operations.
- Protect Your Facility
Warehouses are high-risk hot spots for theft and always will be — the large volume of products in a single location will always tempt thieves. Traditional security methods like security fences, cameras, padlocks, and patrolling guards will protect your facility and shouldn’t be overlooked. Inspections from outside security advisors can also help identify vulnerabilities and keep you current on the latest on-site theft deterrent measures.
- Use Tracking Technology
With technology like GPS and RFID tags, it’s much more difficult for thieves to hijack shipments. These “trackers” provide continual data on a truck or cargo’s location — if it veers off the preset route, an alarm sounds; the vehicle can be remotely immobilized, and any stolen cargo’s location can be tracked.
- Limit At-Rest Risk
Any time cargo is at rest, it’s at risk. The majority of cargo theft occurs at unsecured locations, such as truckstops when drivers leave their loads unattended for hours. Shippers can limit the this at-rest risk by:
- Using a team of drivers who can switch taking the wheel (reducing the time cargo is left unattended) instead of using one driver who requires longer breaks
- Parking tail-to-tail at rest stops to block the door to the truck
- Avoiding weekend or holiday deliveries when drivers have to wait to unload their cargo and there is too much “dwell” time
In other words, cargo is a sitting duck when it’s not in motion and shippers can limit risk by reducing any down time.
- Get Theft Insurance
Does your cargo insurance cover you against theft? If you’re not sure, contact your insurance provider to get fully educated on the details of your coverage and liability limits. Make sure you pass the knowledge on to your employees so they are prepared if an incident happens.
- Document Theft Policies & Procedures
It’s always smart to plan for the worst. Document your best practices on how to prevent theft, as well as the procedures on what to do in case theft happens. Having everything organized and in writing will help your employees respond quickly and appropriately. Run fire drills to test if you have the best procedures in place and get feedback on what can be improved.
When you put the best people, technology, and policies in place, you’ll secure your cargo from dock to door and limit the risk of theft.