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5 Critical Checks to Harden Your Supply Chain This Holiday Season

Published on
August 24, 2023 at 1:41:00 PM PDT August 24, 2023 at 1:41:00 PM PDTth, August 24, 2023 at 1:41:00 PM PDT

The holidays are particularly high risk for distributors, manufacturers, shippers and logistics companies. Warehouses and distribution centers tend to have fewer staff onsite and trailers are more often left unattended. Volume also picks up for the season and thieves may steal products they can easily sell to holiday buyers on the black market. Check these five critical areas now to be sure your organization is prepared this year for the ever-present threat of cargo theft.

1. Identify your product’s likelihood of being stolen. According to CargoNet’s 2022 Supply Chain Risk Trends Analysis, household items were the most stolen commodity in 2022. Household items were closely followed by electronics. Food and beverage incidents have also been noteworthy and likely to be targeted this holiday season.  If your organization is shipping any of these items, you should take notice that thieves are targeting your products.

2. Develop routes to avoid high crime areas. Increases in theft activity around major intermodal hubs were significant in 2022. Pay particular notice when traveling through cargo theft hot spots such as California, Illinois and Texas. Route plan so drivers avoid stopping in the “Red Zone.” The red zone is 200 to 250 miles wherein the driver does not stop after pick-up. Drivers should be rested, fueled and all personal needs taken care of so the red zone can be effectively implemented. Additionally, assist drivers with planning where to park along their route ahead of time. Planning helps to avoid unsafe parking situations. If drivers do park in less desirable locations, be sure they are protected by layers of security including high security locks such as ABLOY ® padlocks.

3. Review your carrier’s security protocols. If you are utilizing a carrier this upcoming holiday season, ensure they are committed to protecting your freight. Enforce high security standards within your operations and theirs. It is common practice for manufacturers/shippers to require a certain level of security on their loads in their freight contracts. Companies can set these security standards, including requiring a high security padlock, trailer door lock or seal protection for cargo in transit. Cargo at rest in storage containers or parked trailers may also require heavy duty king pin locks. Consider requiring the use of high security locks such as the ENFORCER® Adjustable Trailer Door Lock on all loads. The Adjustable Trailer Door Lock fits securely around swing door locking rods locking both the passive and active doors.

4. Order extra physical security devices. Have heavy duty locks ready for use on any extra delivery trucks, portable storage containers and trailers you’ve rented or acquired for the holidays. An inventory check now can help determine any needs. Use all available locking devices to protect trailers while they are being staged. King pin locks and landing gear locks are recommended for dropped trailers along with high security back door locks. If you are a retailer with storage containers onsite, consider the portable ENFORCER Adjustable Lock to secure the doors.

5. Create alliances with local and national industry groups. Joining industry organizations such as CargoNet and regional cargo security organizations is an ideal way to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and tactics in loss prevention. These organizations are great for networking and provide insight as to where cargo theft is occurring so your fleet can be prepared. Many host seminars, conferences and summits with cargo theft experts as speakers. You’ll also learn how thefts are occurring and receive aggregated information on theft trends.

Reviewing these five items can help fleets prepare for many of the cargo security threats that occur during the holidays.