The Fallout of Holiday Peak on Supply Chain

The following article first appeared in the LP Magazine Europe’s Autumn edition.

As we all are well aware, the holiday shopping season seems to be starting earlier with each passing year. It was 21 October when I saw the first commercial advertising for the last holiday season. To my surprise, however, I didn’t see many stories last year about people camping out for a week in the parking lot of a store waiting for the best Black Friday deals. There could be any number of reasons for this, but what we do know for sure is that retailers are now providing more options to consumers earlier in the shopping season than in previous years.

While holiday shopping patterns in retail stores is something we may all notice, there are other areas within the business that may not be as visible to the customer but are just as impactful on the business. The one thing that I have witnessed first-hand is how this new strategy is affecting the supply chain. “Peak,” as it is referred to, is the time leading up to Christmas when holiday order volume increases dramatically. That’s roughly fourteen weeks of what is now becoming pure chaos for logistics providers.

Based on projections, this is going to be a record season for retail, with a large percentage being attributed to online sales. While overall this may be good for business, this is nonetheless having a profound impact on the domestic supply chain because the infrastructure supporting all these parcels simply cannot keep up with the volume of products being shipped.

Here are three key areas where the industry is failing to keep up with the changes in holiday shopping habits and some basic steps that can be taken to solve this growing problem.

Volume Projections: It’s a Guessing Game
Most retailers have analytic models that produce estimated volume projections to determine the number of orders that will be passing through the supply chain network. This information is passed on to contracted transportation providers, allowing them to plan for the staffing models necessary to handle the anticipated product volume.

Despite all the computer analytics being used, the one thing that cannot be easily forecasted is how online ordering can be affected by the unpredictability of human behaviour. This is especially true from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday.

In talking with my loss prevention peers in both retail and transportation, consumer sentiment was grossly underestimated going into past holiday seasons. So regardless of the current political atmosphere, the Federal Reserve raising interest rates, or the ongoing tariff wars, United States consumers appear ready to spend money this upcoming holiday season.

This buying atmosphere creates both a positive and negative scenario for businesses in the supply chain. The obvious positive result is an increase in revenue. However, a less-than-ideal result follows when unplanned volume cripples the infrastructure that moves parcels along the supply chain. This would be the equivalent of a dam breaking fifty miles upriver with all the towns downriver flooded as a result—except the flood comes in the form of packages.

To avoid this type of catastrophe from occurring again, retailers must do a better job of preparing for a potential spike in online sales and projecting product volumes in real time. This may be challenging since most of these online orders are being placed during the Thanksgiving holiday when the majority of corporate America is out of the office. One solution would be to have retailers streamline the flow of information to logistics providers by providing daily volume-trend monitoring that is communicated immediately to transportation providers.

Transportation, Bottlenecks, and a Tangled Infrastructure
The majority of retailers that do business online don’t have their own transportation infrastructure. This means they have to contract out to third-party transportation companies to move freight. One of the most costly services in business is transportation. Therefore, most companies will look for the most cost-effective way to move that box from the warehouse to the client. This cost will vary greatly depending on several factors, which include:

  • The time it takes to deliver the package
  • The distance the package has to travel
  • The method of delivery

Typically, the more convenient the process is for the customer, the higher the transportation cost will be for the retailer. As a result, most companies will look for a balanced approach that will satisfy both the customer expectation and the costs associated with transporting the order.

What this means is that everyone is ultimately contracting with everyone else, and parcels can easily transit multiple companies before reaching the consumer’s doorstep. With each touch point is an exposure to a parcel being lost or stolen. It is difficult to investigate losses in this network when volumes are normal. Add 50 per cent or greater volume in a very short time span, and investigating loss becomes nearly impossible.

Some of the contributing factors to this loss include lack of management oversight, misshipped packages, and theft that is camouflaged due to operational failures. It is critical for transportation providers to be able to plan and manage this volume appropriately.

The most common areas where loss occurs during peak are during the morning launch of drivers. This is when the terminal has the most amount of freight on the floor and the least amount of management oversight. Transportation managers should also focus on conducting spot audits of drivers prior to them launching. This will not only keep the drivers honest but also allow management to find misloaded packages that occurred by mistake.

A Tight Labour Market
The labour market in the supply chain has increasingly become very tight. If you look at any major fulfilment or distribution company, everyone is fighting for the same contracted employee. This becomes a booming industry for staffing agencies but also poses a challenge for them on finding suitable people to fill open positions.

To try and gain an edge, we are now seeing companies during peak season reducing or even eliminating their applicant screening process to get employees in the door. This may result in your contracted labour having criminal backgrounds, financial issues, or drug problems. In years past, jokes would be made in the loss prevention community that staffing agencies are resorting to hiring people on the steps of county jails after they bond out from a weekend incarceration. In recent times, these types of jokes are becoming more of a reality.

Reducing or eliminating the background-check process can have major impacts on your organization, resulting in lower productivity rates, criminal activity within your operation, and a greater likelihood of theft.

The Impact of Shipping Globally
Add into this ongoing impact on domestic transportation, retailers are now taking e-commerce orders globally and shipping across borders. According to several recent marketing surveys, by 2021 global e-commerce sales will reach a staggering $4.5 trillion.

The result of this evolution on the supply chain is the development of the end-to-end service provider. These logistics companies support retailers as a hybrid solution, providing services that range from distribution, customs clearance, transportation, and final-mile delivery.

It can include a mix of their own proprietary distribution centres and trucks mixed in with a vast network of contracted transportation providers, which can also incorporate national post offices in the final-mile delivery. If this sounds confusing, it’s because it sometimes is. However, if done correctly, it is a very sound and cost-effective method for the retailer to ship a customer order to someone who may be located on the other side of the planet.

For example, picture a consumer in Seoul, South Korea, ordering a pair of shoes from a US-based retailer. The order will be picked, packed, and shipped out of the retailer’s distribution centre in Atlanta, Georgia; however, the retailer is contracted with an end-to-end logistics provider. The parcel arrives at the provider’s US distribution centre, is scanned in, and then placed with other retailers’ packages all destined for Seoul. The end-to-end provider then uses a large network of contracted partners that will handle that parcel as it moves from the US to Korea. The key to this type of solution is volume. The more volume the end-to-end provider can get from the retailer, the lower the cost is to the retailer.

Having a Proactive LP Plan
Based on this very complex network, one may ask how anything resembling loss prevention can be incorporated into this model. The answer is simple. The shear growth of e-commerce is creating industries and sub-industries that did not exist five years ago. With retailers worldwide continuing to look for cost-effective shipping solutions and customers demanding more flexibility, it was inevitable these type of hybrid solutions would be created.

If the retailer has a direct contract with the end-to-end solutions provider, then the loss prevention responsibly will fall on that solution provider. Remember that once the parcel is received, the solution provider essentially owns it. With a high probability and depending on how the contract is worded, responsibilities may include labelling, customs clearance, tracking, security of the parcel, investigation of losses, and claim liability if the package is lost or stolen. Therefore, it is essential that a comprehensive loss prevention programme is in place with the end-to-end solutions provider.

However, it doesn’t stop there. What about all these contracted companies that are used? Here is where the rubber meets the road and where loss prevention must have a proactive plan in place that consist of the following elements:

  • A comprehensive security protocol that the contracted carriers must adhere to.
  • A robust auditing programme that reviews compliance in the areas of security, scanning, and inventory control. As with most auditing, the basis is going to lie with the contractual verbiage that’s in place.
  • Loss analytics that can identify trends by country, company, route, and final mile. The foundation of this reporting is looking for package exceptions where the scanning stops, or what is commonly known as “going dark.” This is very similar to what retail loss prevention uses when running exception reports, except you are looking for trends for all touch points in a global supply chain. Regardless of whether a package circulates the globe and touches five different companies, if a scan is put to the package, and you can review that through reporting, you will see where losses are occurring.
  • Proactive communication with the carrier’s facility management, so they understand your expectations, loss trending analytics, and method of investigation. You will be surprised how receptive they will be to accept help and identify problems before they get out of hand.

The one caveat is that unlike dealing with transportation companies in the US, there are specific government laws in each country that may limit the ability to conduct certain audits. This is more directed at specific actions, such as reviewing criminal-background checks or drug screenings for employees verses operational processes. However, as a good rule of thumb, you should always check with your legal department and inquire about country-specific laws related to the transportation industry.

As e-commerce continues to evolve, so will loss prevention. We have literally entered a new era in how the consumer shops, and retailers must continue to figure out ways to ship these orders. This is true year-round but even more critical during peak season. What was once a supply chain dominated by a few large, proprietary companies is now expanding into a multi-faceted approach that involves a myriad of companies that must all work together to support this growth.

6th annual ISCPO global supply chain security conference announcement

6TH ANNUAL ISCPO GLOBAL SUPPLY CHAIN SECURITY CONFERENCE: OPEN FOR REGISTRATION

–NEWS RELEASE–

The International Supply Chain Protection Organization’s annual conference brings together loss prevention, security, and protection professionals working within the global supply chain for two days of networking, education, and collaboration.

 

Dallas (November 8, 2019) – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE –  The International Supply Chain Protection Organization (ISCPO) is pleased to announce its 6th annual conference is open for registration at ISCPO.org. The conference will be held March 3-5, 2020 in Dallas, TX where ISCPO members and loss prevention professionals will hear from industry veterans and get the latest trends in supply chain security, industry theft, global trends, and investigation.

“Global Supply Chain Security”

The two-day conference will feature a wide range of speakers from both private sector and public law enforcement who’ll share how they’re leading global security transformation within their organizations. “This year’s conference will explore how companies and supply chain security professionals can thrive in our ever-changing, complex world where borders no longer exist for today’s clients and end-consumers,” says ISCPO Chairman, Byron Smith. “It’s imperative that supply chain security professionals have both a 360°, never alone a 24/7 line of sight, view of the integrity of their goods, people, and transportation networks.”

Sessions will tackle hot issues like AP supply chain modernization, the changing landscape of international retail and security development in the cannabis industry. Speakers will share how organizations move products and goods through the global supply chain with the latest technologies and innovations, in the face of everyday challenges. Speakers from an array of Fortune 500 companies including Target, Pitney Bowes, Asurion, and 7/Eleven will provide insights on staying ahead of the curve when it comes to mitigating risk and loss across their supply channels. In addition, industry experts from the public sector will be represented.

Past attendees of the ISCPO annual conference have said that its intimate and interactive agenda and venue enables a collaborative environment where professionals can partner with peers, discuss business trends, keep their fingers on the pulse, and discover new vendors. “Unlike most industry conferences, the ISCPO encourages vendors to participate in all sessions; not only providing insight on how to mitigate risk at all levels of the supply chain but also as an opportunity to hear from LP and risk management professionals on what products and services are needed in today’s competitive environment,” adds Smith.

There will also be a sessions outlining the ISCPO Carrier Security Audit & Certification program. The industry certification is awarded to third-party logistics carriers who meet the ISCPO Carrier Security Requirement, which is a combination of successfully achieving compliance of industry standards, risk management processes and universal controls between customer and service provider.

 

Conference details: www.iscpo.org

March 3-5, 2020

7-Eleven Store Support Center, Irving, Texas

Registration Information:

Individuals can register online at ISCPO.org. Early bird rates available (20% off regular rate available) until December 31, 2019

#

About ISCPO

The International Supply Chain Protection Organization (ISCPO) is a non-profit professional organization that connects members from across a wide array of sectors—from manufacturing, retail/wholesale/Ecommerce, and distribution to risk management/legal, law enforcement, and logistics. The organization was created in 2014 to promote, educate, and advocate supply chain security and protection through building strong networks and delivering exceptional leadership training, board representation, and industry support. ISCPO.org

 

For more Information, contact:

Byron Smith

ISCPO Chairman

(469) 215-8184

byron.smith@7-11.com

The Next Ecommerce Emerging Market: The Middle East

With the UAE positioning itself as a global financial center, retail has become one of the main economic drivers.

When you hear anything regarding the Middle East, the overwhelming tone are visions of war, terrorism, and instability. Our course, if you look at the last 18 years, this perception comes with good reason. This region of the world has experienced war on multiple scales and also underwent a pro-democracy movement called the Arab Spring. These events have obviously left numerous countries without its long-term dictators, causing a power vacuum. However, there is one country that has been untouched by this turmoil—the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Recently, I had the opportunity to travel for business to the UAE and to my surprise, global commerce is alive and well with expansion at a feverish pace.

Before I provide insight into this economic revolution, you first have to look at the history of this Arab country and how its leaders wanted to seize on an opportunity. Sheikh Zayed, ruler of Abu Dhabi and the first president of the UAE, oversaw the development of the Emirates and steered oil revenues into healthcare, education, and infrastructure. The UAE’s economy is the most diversified in the Middle East, while its most populous city of Dubai is an important international aviation, logistics, and maritime hub.

Nevertheless, the country is much less reliant on oil and gas than in previous years and is economically focusing on tourism and business. The UAE government does not levy income tax, although there is a system of corporate and value-added tax that was recently implemented. In addition, the UAE’s geographical location, lying between London and Hong Kong, has allowed it to become a launching point to other countries from a supply chain methodology.

Shopping Is in Style

Burj Khalifa, United Arab Emirates

With the UAE positioning itself as a global financial center, retail has become one of the main economic drivers. This led to the development of the world-famous Dubai Shopping Mall. I have to admit, when I heard the term mall, my first thoughts were of what we are now seeing in the US as a dying entity. However, Dubai has taken this concept to a completely different level. Imagine a three-story, 5.9-million-square-foot complex that includes 1,200 retailers, five-star restaurants, and an outdoor, Las Vegas-style pavilion boasting a water propulsion and light show synchronized to music that reviles the Las Vegas Bellagio. All of this at the base to the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. After experiencing this incredible venue, calling it a mall seems almost petty.

Another concept that has definitely evolved has been omni-channel. When you think of shopping at a venue that boasts valet parking of Lamborghini’s and Bentley’s, who has time to actually carry bags around? After speaking to numerous store manager’s, I discovered that a large percentage of their revenue comes through omni-channel methods with most purchases made in-store and then delivered to the customer’s home via third-party delivery service.

Population Is Driving Commerce

By far though the largest economic engine that has been increasing substantially over the past five years is e-commerce. Dubai’s population is approximately 3.2 million, over half of which is comprised of foreign nationals from 170 countries. These foreign nationals are moving in droves to the UAE simply for one thing—work. Whether it be for a position in the booming construction industry, the newest hotels or restaurants or a senior-level manager job in finance, the expat population has now overtaken resident nationals. This is now creating a global melting pot of sorts that is driving the demand for retail e-commerce.

As you can imagine, with all this growth brings growing pains for certain businesses, including the transportation industry. However, I was pleasingly surprised though to find the different sectors in the supply chain evolving very quickly to the changing environment.

Case in point: I had the opportunity to meet with my loss prevention peer for our contracted transportation provider in the UAE. After two days of touring distribution terminals, seeing their final-mile delivery service and meeting with team members in the LP department, I was completely taken aback. Not only did the services that they provided mirror what most US loss prevention practitioners would recognize, but the attention to detail of the program was very impressive.

As my counterpart explained, the circumstances of moving parcels throughout regions in the Middle East pose greater problems than just theft. Much of their security practices in the supply chain are designed around screening parcels for the potential of explosives. As it was explained to me, when that much attention to detail is given to a single parcel, incorporating theft prevention methods naturally came easy.

In addition, with the number of foreign nationals working in the UAE, the government has extremely strict visa stipulations. For example, if someone has been terminated due to a theft situation, the company has the ability, in cooperation with the police, to turn that individual over to a governmental regulatory body. Within 48 hours the ex-employee can have their visa revoked, removed from the country and banned from reentry. It was explained to me that this policy has been a huge help for theft prevention.

Similar Challenges

Regardless of what type of business you are in or where in the world you are located, it seems loss prevention professionals all deal with the same challenges. After witnessing first-hand the positive effects of a very comprehensive LP program with our contracted carrier, I had to ask my peer what his challenges were. The response I received actually made me chuckle a bit.

In an emerging economy such as this and with all the expansion taking place, his greatest challenge was trying to ensure his management team and employees followed basic standard operating procedures that were already in place. He said this problem was also compounded by the fact that his operators were always questioning the cost of security since there hasn’t been a real problem historically with theft or other improprieties. I am sure this sounds familiar to anyone who has had the same challenges working with operations within their own organizations.

The Future Is Bright

In whatever part of the world that has an emerging market, consumers’ desire to shop—be it through traditional brick-and-mortar or e-commerce—is going to be part of that emergence. In the UAE, this is no exception. Not only has the government promoted consumerism but also is creating an environment of tolerance among cultures at a scale I have never experienced before. Advertising is everywhere to not only promote the latest fashion or jewelry, but also reminding the population to treat each other with respect and kindness.

I can honestly say that after departing the UAE, I now have a completely different outlook on the Middle East.

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3 Ways Carriers Can Demonstrate Competency in Maintaining Cargo Integrity

Ask Your Carrier These Three Questions

Businesses moving goods through their supply chains have two choices: transport it themselves or outsource it.

Transportation is typically one of the largest expenditures within a supply-chain operation. Most businesses choose to contract out at least a portion of their delivery volume, allowing them to realize immediate savings from not having to maintain a fleet of vehicles, routers, dispatchers, Department of Transportation regulatory compliance, driver recruiting, training, insurance, and a multitude of other costs. However, some degree of uncertainty regarding cargo loss, damages, and service deterioration are unrealized costs that must be contended with when relying on a third party to transport your goods. While the decision to outsource is usually a no-brainer, the challenge for loss prevention professionals becomes how to best manage to this risk without increasing costs beyond operational savings.

Transportation leaders and their loss prevention counterparts should be equally focused on transport expense and performance. The difference, however, is that transportation leaders are accountable to their organizations for quality of service and invoiced expenses or “today’s costs,” while loss prevention typically assumes risk-mitigation tactics for cargo loss and other liabilities or “tomorrow’s costs.” Regardless of focus, both teams need to feel confident that their service providers can demonstrate competency in maintaining cargo integrity and performance. So how can service providers accomplish this?

Carriers, listen up! There are usually three basic qualifiers to be considered “competent” or low risk by your clients.

1. What are the carrier’s industry certifications?

The first question businesses should ask a potential carrier is, “What certifications do you have?” Achieving industry certification is a key competency in maintaining cargo integrity. Embracing industry standards benefits both the carrier and their supply-chain clients. It’s essentially assurance that the carrier understands and practices proven prevention controls that when executed correctly will cause clients to trust that their deliverables are in good hands. Here’s why certification matters:

  • It reduces carrier waste or nonoperating costs when effective and efficient controls are practiced. Ideally, a lower cost operator can pass the savings onto potential clients during an RFP.
  • Carriers can stand confidently behind one set of industry standards that should address most client-specific security demands. Therefore, carriers and clients don’t need to recreate the wheel with proprietary checks and balances or adhoc requests.
  • Overall, it improves audit compliance, reduces risk, and minimizes losses for both the carrier and client.

There are many good industry or government certifications available, some of which include:

2. Does the carrier have in-house LP leadership?

Carriers need to invest in hiring a loss prevention head to evolve training, auditing, and investigatory programs. The carrier must invest in capable personnel who are trained to prevent loss occurrences and reduce their impact should they occur. Too many times untrained or unexperienced personnel chase losses underground, only to see it resurface again at a later time. This not only results in a significant waste of the carrier’s time and money but also frustrates clients. Without the experienced loss prevention practitioner to maintain vigilance, inadequate training and audit compliance comes at a cost through unsustainability and repeat failures. By having in-house LP support, clients have trust that the carrier is committed to a culture of prevention and compliance. Client loss prevention teams come to rely on colleagues who speak the same language in terms of training, audit, and investigation.

3. How does the carrier establish a culture of transparency and responsiveness when engaging with client issues?

Customer service is always a number-one priority with any client in any industry. It is critical that clients feel they have complete transparency in understanding how the loss occurred and appropriate corrective action plans. This goes hand-in-hand with having an in-house LP practitioner as outlined previously, but all too often operational or sales support may try to more positively spin the results of their investigations without addressing the true factors or controls that either failed or were never put in place. Clients expect accurate fact gathering and reporting without omission while trying to respond back to their customers for the failed deliveries. In other words, clients are accountable to their own customers in e-commerce, pharmacy, banking, and other industries, so carriers need to be cognizant of the end-customer demands for the products they’re delivering. This is a systemic issue in LP that spans all facets of the carrier’s business, from sales, technology, and logistics.

So the next time you are going through the RFP process, I strongly encourage you to speak to the above areas for optimal consideration. I know that I will be inquiring.

Wes Bank

WES BANK, LPC, is the director of loss prevention for DHL eCommerce, overseeing risk management, government regulatory, audit, investigations, and physical security. An active International Supply Chain Protection Organization (ISCPO) board member (currently serving as Vice Chairman), he founded and chaired the ISCPO’s Carrier Security Audit Committee with the objective to improve “final-mile” carrier compliance.

2020 ISCPO Conference Announcement

 

 

 

 

Mark Your Calendars!

The International Supply Chain Protection Organization would like to announce the date of its 2020 ConferenceGlobal Supply Chain Security Conference” on March 3rd – 5th at the 7-Eleven Store Support Center in Irving, Texas.

There will be a wide-range of topics related to global supply chain security, Ecommerce, industry trends and investigations.  As in year’s past, the conference provides a great venue to network with global industry peers, transportation/logistics professionals, law enforcement, and select vendor partners.

We encourage Solution Providers to participate in this event.   Those interested should submit requests to Byron Smith at byron.smith@iscpo.org

We are looking forward to seeing everyone this year, so mark your calendars.  Event registration information will follow soon.  For more information, visit our website – www.iscpo.org

About the International Supply Chain Protection Organization (ISCPO):

The International Supply Chain Protection Organization (ISCPO) is a non-profit professional organization that connects members from across a wide array of sectors—from manufacturing, retail/wholesale/eCommerce, and distribution to risk management, law enforcement/legal, and logistics. The organization was created in 2014 to promote, educate, and advocate supply chain security and protection through building strong networks and delivering exceptional leadership training, board representation, and industry support. ISCPO.org

ISCPO Appoints Two Members to its Board of Directors

The International Supply Chain Protection Organization (ISCPO) welcomes

Tom Meehan and Malcom Beckwith to its Board.

Dallas, TX (August 29, 2019) – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – The International Supply Chain Protection Organization (ISCPO.org) announced today two new additions to its Board of Directors: Tom Meehan – CSO & CISO of CONTROLTEK USA and Malcom Beckwith – Safety/Loss Prevention Manager of Tuesday Morning.

Tom Meehan

Tom Meehan, CFI is a leading loss prevention expert in all things cybersecurity and information technology. He is the chief strategy officer and chief information security officer at CONTROLTEK, the retail technology editor at Loss Prevention Magazine and the co-host of the Loss Prevention Research Council podcast CrimeScience. His industry influence is also present through his roles as Sr. Technology Advisor, board member and Innovation Team Chair with the Loss Prevention Research Council.

Tom is also the author of “Evolution of Retail Asset Protection: Protecting your Profit in a Digital Age” which uncovers traditional loss prevention and asset protection are responded to shifting retail environments and how technology and innovation are changing everything, while some methods can’t keep up.

Prior to joining CONTROLTEK Tom was director of technology and investigations with Bloomingdale’s, where he was responsible for physical security, internal investigations, asset protection systems and data analytics. Prior to his 13-year tenure at Bloomingdale’s, he worked for Home Depot in loss prevention, and has had various technology, loss prevention, and operational roles at several other companies.

ISCPO Chairman, Byron Smith says, “The ISCPO is excited to have Tom Meehan join our Board of Directors with his expertise in loss prevention and technology. The members and the supply chain security industry will benefit for Tom’s knowledge.”

Malcolm Beckwith

Also joining the ISCPO Board is Malcolm Beckwith, who has an extensive background as a loss prevention executive. He currently works for Tuesday Morning as the Safety/Loss Prevention Manager. Previously, he worked for Ross stores as the Director of Loss Prevention for the supply chain network. He also served as the Regional Loss Prevention Director for Ross Stores.

Prior to his tenure at Ross Stores Malcolm served as the Director of Loss Prevention for Sears Stores and as the Assistant Vice President Loss Prevention for Marshalls/TJ Maxx stores where he was responsible for all Marshalls stores and distribution centers located throughout the United States and Puerto Rico.

Lastly, he served as CEO/President of Beckwith and Associates Executive Search. Malcolm has previously served on the executive board of directors for the Northeast Boys Scouts of America and the Boys and Girls Club of MetroWest New England.  Throughout his career Malcolm has been profiled in many diversity articles that included the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, Evansville Courier, and the Loss Prevention Magazine.

ISCPO Chair, Smith adds, “Malcom brings extensive experience in supply chain operations and security. His institutional knowledge in retail supply chain will assist the ISCPO as we enhance our collaborative approach in supply chain security.”

For more information about the ISCPO and its Board: https://www.iscpo.org/site/leadership

About the International Supply Chain Protection Organization (ISCPO):

The International Supply Chain Protection Organization (ISCPO) is a non-profit professional organization that connects members from across a wide array of sectors—from manufacturing, retail/wholesale/eCommerce, and distribution to risk management, law enforcement/legal, and logistics. The organization was created in 2014 to promote, educate, and advocate supply chain security and protection through building strong networks and delivering exceptional leadership training, board representation, and industry support. ISCPO.org

For more information, contact:

Byron Smith

ISCPO Chairman

byron.smith@ISCPO.org

 

Optic Risk Solutions and Uniforms, INC. join the list of ISCPO Preferred Vendor Partners

–NEWS RELEASE–

Dallas, TX (August 23, 2019) – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE –  The International Supply Chain Protection Organization (ISCPO) is pleased to announce two preferred vendors partners have joined to support its members and the supply chain security community. The speed of business has exponentially accelerated the supply chain, and the ISCPO members rely on a variety of vendors for innovative tools, technology, and services to help them make their departments and flow of goods run effectively.

 

Optic Risk Solutions provides enterprise wide security and loss prevention solutions designed to enhance the overall success and profitability of an organization. As a global consulting firm, they are dedicated to helping identify risks within an organization and reducing overall exposure to loss. With their experience in Risk Management, Loss Prevention, and Safety, they will create a customized risk-averse plan that becomes part of your business and company culture. Their mission is to protect your people, your product, your property, and your profits. Optic Risk Solutions Website

 

Uniforms, Inc. is a premier embroidery and apparel business serving nationally recognized corporate brands, local companies, and municipalities based in Dallas, Texas. For over 40 years, Uniforms Inc. has been a trusted partner of clients seeking to improve their brand recognition program. Uniforms, Inc. differentiates itself from competitors by providing outstanding service, impeccable quality, and on-time delivery. The award-winning staff dedicates their attention to even the smallest details, ensuring an easy and smooth ordering process, coupled with quality embellishments you’ll be proud to wear. Uniforms, Inc. Website

 

About International Supply Chain Protection Organization (ISCPO):

The International Supply Chain Protection Organization (ISCPO) is a non-profit professional organization that connects members from across a wide array of sectors—from manufacturing, retail/wholesale/eCommerce, and distribution to risk management, law enforcement/legal, and logistics. The organization was created in 2014 to promote, educate, and advocate supply chain security and protection through building strong networks and delivering exceptional leadership training, board representation, and industry support. ISCPO.org

For more information about the ISCPO, email: info@iscpo.org

Executive Roundtable Interview Series: Liz D’Aloia, HR Virtuoso

As part of our Executive Roundtable Interview Series, we sat down with ISCPO Board Member Liz D’Aloia. Liz is Founder & CEO of HR Virtuoso,  an HR and employment law consulting firm that also helps companies optimize their employment application processes and increase their candidate pool with its proprietary mobile recruiting software system (SaaS). Prior to launching HR Virtuoso, Liz rose through the ranks of transportation, retail, and mortgage companies as a Senior Employment Attorney and VP of HR.

An active ISCPO board member, she provides a unique perspective on the many facets of HR management—from complex project management such as restructurings, compensation plan design and implementation, and staffing models to FLSA compliance strategies,  employee relations training, diversity, and other recruiting strategies to support affirmative action plans. She holds a BA from Hampshire College and a JD from Brooklyn Law School.  She is admitted to practice in Texas, New York, New Jersey, Florida, and Kansas. Liz is a nationally recognized blogger, speaker, and HR practitioner.

Liz D'Aloia

Liz D’Aloia – HR Virtuoso

We asked Liz to share where the industry is going as it related to people resources, dealing with staff shortages, and best practices in advocating the LP profession within organizations.

 

How has the industry evolved since you started out, especially related to the tight labor market within the supply chain domestically?

 
Automation and technology are definitely the two biggest changes since I began working in the logistics industry. Our employees need to be more tech-savvy than ever before, while our leaders need to understand that technology can alleviate, but doesn’t always solve problems.
 
Some things haven’t changed, though. We’ve always had a driver shortage, and great employees are always very hard to find and keep.



Given your expertise what three things can LP leaders implement to create effective LP departments in a retail or eCommerce channel?

  • Since HR and LP are both support roles, I think the best thing that leaders in these areas can do is to understand the business and its goals and to become trusted partners throughout the organization. LP and HR often work very closely in terms of safety and security, but we also need to work closely with finance, legal, and of course, operations.

 

  • LP practitioners often deal with public sector law enforcement and precarious situations that involve criminal activity. On a day-to-day basis, HR gets involved in loss prevention in supporting safe work practices and employee theft investigations. HR and LP must coordinate closely when the heartbreak and tragedy of domestic violence seeps into the workplace in the form of anger issues, restraining orders, and active shooter crises. While all areas of a company share the responsibility for a safe working environment, great communication and collaboration between LP and HR are essential.

 

  • While LP identifies and mitigates risk to employee safety, it’s up to HR to help communicate those risks, and what we’re doing to alleviate them. Building a culture of safety is a responsibility that’s owned by everyone, but HR can definitely help in explaining the “whys” and with other communication initiatives.

 

Why did you participate on the ISCPO board?

 
I spent most of my career in supply chain organizations and worked in a variety of roles that encompassed safety, HR, and legal issues. I think a strong partnership between LP and HR is essential at any company since we work on a lot of complex, and often very emotional issues. At Office Depot, I really enjoyed my partnerships with my loss prevention team, which included Glenn and Wes. So, when they offered me the opportunity to keep working with them in an advisory capacity, I welcomed it. The ISCPO is a visionary organization, and there’s really nothing else like it for LP professionals. I’m very proud to be part of this team.

Supply Chain Continues to Change

Courtesy of LPM Loss Prevention Magazine by Rod Fulenwider

Much more attention is now being paid to supply chain than ever before. That is evidenced in the pages of this magazine where the editors are focusing more and more articles related to supply chain security and on-shelf availability. Today, supply chain is a different animal than it was just a few years ago. Below are my observations on how supply chain continues to evolve in our industry.

Analytics

A number of us have been using analytics in the supply chain for many years. Here’s the difference: on the standard retail model (store side), vendors have produced software packages for years. Those packages were developed strictly for store-side use, and they have done a good job with the product mix over the years. Having said that, those same software producers have not produced workable products for the supply chain, which has forced those of us on the supply chain side to get creative.

Many of us have worked with our individual IT and operations departments to create our own in-house analytical platforms. For instance, when I was at Blockbuster (as it was growing and at its peak), we created our several very specific data drives to earmark potential issues. We knew that internally the highest likelihood of internal losses occurred in the consolidation area of our distribution center (DC) in McKinney, Texas. This area of the DC consisted of fifty-two aisles where employees consolidated product (such as videos, DVDs, games, and so forth) that would be shipped to 4,800 US-based stores as well as some stores in Mexico and Canada.

We created our own exception reports that pinpointed loss ratios and the highest days of the week for losses. We worked with Sensormatic and installed the first wireless track camera system in the US. Between the exception reports and the use of the new camera technology, we were able to eliminate the loss in consolidation by 82 percent. While our exception system was good, it was by no means great.

I have known Glenn Master for over twenty-five years and can say firsthand that he has continually created analytical systems at various companies. I would say that he is one of the best if not the best in implementing these systems within the supply chain.

When we discuss supply chain, we are most certainly looking at an enormous animal with not only lots of moving parts but also a significant number of companies/vendors in a given system. Using Blockbuster as an example, we found that from the time a product was shipped to us (for example, a specific movie title, say Batman) for distribution, it would be touched by multiple companies just getting to us. Then we would have to handle and prepare the product for delivery to thousands of stores, which meant the product had to be touched by multiple delivery companies.

“We recently finished a case at a DC where the company had a system in place. The system showed losses totaling just over $200,000. Our investigation revealed losses in excess of $2,000,000 and resulted in the arrests of nineteen employees”.

We cannot forget that all of the companies involved either did not utilize scanning equipment or the equipment involved was from various platforms. In the end we created a multiuse scan tag that was equipped on the doorframe of every US store in the system so that we could verify all packages were scanned for receipt at store level. The technology was important, but the ongoing relationship and teamwork with operations and IT was critical.

Language and System

Today the supply chain faces issues that many people just do not understand or cannot keep track of. Recently I was performing a security vulnerability assessment at a distribution center. The DC had experienced a series of significant losses, and they had not been able to resolve these losses internally. Their biggest problem turned out to be language and attitude. It turns out that their policy (which is like many companies) dictates that once the product is placed on the trailer, then it no longer belongs to the company; the product is now the responsibility of the carrier.

In this case, the carrier would take the product back to their own central DC where they would break the product down for delivery to twenty-five other DCs around the country. They would use multiple carriers to transport the product to these twenty-five DCs, and each DC would break the product down into quantities for delivery to smaller regional DCs to be handled and redistributed to the final-mile carriers, which in this case meant an additional number of people handling the product. By the way, the product was pharmaceutical drugs.

Language-wise the company had serious losses that they needed to explain internally as well as to the Drug Enforcement Administration, yet they had not even attempted to create a system for clear tracking within their own four walls nor a system for tracking once the product hit the first outbound trailer.

When I was at Exel Logistics, we had to create our own system to track goods from cradle to grave. I do not know what that system looks like today, but companies like Exel have been dealing with these issues for years. I know that Pitney Bowes is expanding their system and language around this subject.

The Challenge

Finding a software or hardware company that has the knowledge and depth to create intricate tracking and exception-based reporting systems for the supply chain and to create those systems that can be purchased at a reasonable rate is challenging. There may be systems out there that address the real issues, but I am still seeing systems with lots of holes in them.

We recently finished a case at a DC where the company had a system in place. The system showed losses totaling just over $200,000. Our investigation revealed losses in excess of $2,000,000 and resulted in the arrests of nineteen employees. Additionally, we identified two primary locations where the stolen products were being delivered to, both of which were customers. The exception system failed to flag this as a problem, and employees used the hole to exploit the company.

No system is perfect, and there are good loss prevention and asset protection professionals working aggressively to make the systems better. The LP and AP folks making the biggest improvements are like the system—they must be smart and able to change and respond to new technology immediately.

It is a new day for LP and AP people in supply chain. It is also these very issues that drove us to start the International Supply Chain Protection Organization with a focus on advancing supply chain loss prevention professionals and their teams.

LaserShip, Inc. is the latest to be ISCPO Carrier Certified

–NEWS RELEASE–

 

Regional Transportation Carrier Awarded Ground-Breaking Security Certification

The International Supply Chain Protection Organization (ISCPO) adds LaserShip, Inc. to its roster of certified final-mile carriers.

Dallas, TX (April 15, 2019) – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE –  The International Supply Chain Protection Organization (ISCPO) is pleased to announce that LaserShip, Inc. has been officially awarded the ISCPO Carrier Certified designation, as part of the ISCPO’s Carrier Security Audit & Certification program.

Lasership has achieved full compliance with ISCPO Carrier Security Requirements, which includes a comprehensive due diligence process and analysis of various security standards necessary to ensure the integrity of goods flowing through the carriers and their clients’ extended supply chain.

“We will continue to see the demands on eCommerce from both consumers and businesses. There is an inherent increase in complexity and risk within transportation,” says Byron Smith CFI LPC, Chairman of the ISCPO. “The ISCPO Carrier Security Audit & Certification program helps recognizes those that execute above and beyond in universal controls and standards, carrier accountability, and transparency within the marketplace among the growing third-party regional carriers.”

Carriers awarded the ISCPO Carrier Certified designation demonstrate their commitment to maintaining elevated levels of security, both internally and externally with their clients. By adhering to one framework of standards set by the ISCPO, time and resources are saved on all fronts. Clients have peace-of-mind that their goods are secure while in transit. Carriers save time and expense by not having to toggle between different client security programs. And, the end customer gets their package on time.

“It is truly an honor for Lasership to be named as an ISCPO Certified Carrier” says Dave Roberts, Director of Loss Prevention with LaserShip.  “I cannot underestimate the importance and value of such recognition.  Lasership is committed to providing exceptional service to our corporate customers and end users.   We work diligently to ensure that deliveries are well controlled to prevent unnecessary damages or loss.   The relationship between the ISCPO and Lasership will in no doubt continue to pay dividends.”

Wes Bank LPC, ISCPO Vice Chairman adds, “The ISCPO Organization congratulates the LaserShip Team on this achievement.  Their 33 years in the logistics service industry has laid the foundation to support industry best practices necessary to minimize loss incidents and service failures.   Let’s face it, 3PLs are a cost-effective way for businesses to move their goods.   There’s always going to be a fine line between compliance spending and maintaining competitive rates.   Through certification, the ISCPO acknowledges and applauds these efforts to demonstrate competency.”

For more information about the ISCPO Carrier Audit & Certification Program: ISCPO Carrier Security Audit & Certification Program

About LaserShip, Inc:

LaserShip is an e-commerce delivery company providing last-mile solutions through an integrated hub-and-spoke delivery network for e-tailers that desire reduced transit times and increased flexibility within their supply chain. Founded in 1986, LaserShip has evolved into the leading provider of same-day and next-day delivery services in the eastern and Midwest U.S. for some of the largest retailers. For more information about LaserShip, visit https://www.lasership.com

About International Supply Chain Protection Organization (ISCPO):

The International Supply Chain Protection Organization (ISCPO) is a non-profit professional organization that connects members from across a wide array of sectors—from manufacturing, retail/wholesale/eCommerce, and distribution to risk management, law enforcement/legal, and logistics. The organization was created in 2014 to promote, educate, and advocate supply chain security and protection through building strong networks and delivering exceptional leadership training, board representation, and industry support. ISCPO.org

For more information, email: info@iscpo.org