3 Ways Carriers Can Demonstrate Competency in Maintaining Cargo Integrity

Ask your carrier these three questions…

Businesses moving goods through their supply chain 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, DOT regulatory, driver recruiting, training, insurance, and a multitude of other costs. However, some degree of uncertainty with regards to 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 & performance. The difference however is that Transportation leaders are accountable to their organization 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 3 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 non-operating 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 re-create the wheel with proprietary checks & 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:

  1. ISCPO Carrier Security Audit Certification – www.ISCPO.org
  2. Good Distribution Practices (GDP) – Certification for pharmaceutical distribution
  3. Lowers & Associates Courier Certification Program – www.lowersrisk.com
  4. CTPAT: Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism – www.cbp.gov
  5. TAPA – Transportation Asset Protection Association – www.tapaonline.org

The ISCPO Carrier Security Audit Certification – International Supply Chain Protection Organization [ISCPO.org] has developed a free certification for the final-mile carrier which defines the standards most important to the client’s Loss Prevention department. The ISCPO has defined various security standards necessary to ensure the integrity of goods flowing through one’s extended supply chain. The Carrier Security Requirements is a document fundamental for all “final-mile” carriers and provides the standards most relevant to the losses suffered by businesses today.


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 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 too 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 #1 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 investigation 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 Ecommerce, 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, LPC is the Director of Loss Prevention for DHL eCommerce, overseeing risk management, government regulatory, audit, investigations, and physical security. An active ISCPO (ISCPO.org) Board Member, (currently serving as Secretary), he founded and chaired the ISCPO’s Carrier Security Audit Committee with the objective to improve “final-mile” carrier compliance.




The Fallout of Holiday Peak: Three areas where the LP industry is failing

Retailers need better planning and an improved infrastructure to support the changing habits of the retail customer.

As we all are well aware, the holiday shopping season seems to be starting earlier with each passing year. It was October 21st when I saw the first commercial advertising for the 2017 holiday season. To my surprise, however, I didn’t see many stories this 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 just as impactful on the business. The one thing that I have witnessed firsthand 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.

The official numbers for the 2017 peak season have yet to be tallied, but 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 its 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 behavior. 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 under-estimated going into the 2017 holiday season. So, regardless of the current political atmosphere, the federal reserve raising interest rates, or the potential that North Korea may launch a nuclear bomb, U.S. consumers were ready to spend money this holiday season.

This buying atmosphere creates both a positive and negative scenario for businesses in the supply chain. The obvious positive results in 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 50 miles up-river with all the towns down-river being flooded as a result—except the flood comes in the form of packages.

SOLUTION: 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 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 would include:

  • The time it takes to deliver the package,
  • The distance the package has to travel, and
  • 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 your 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 percent 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, mis-shipped 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.

SOLUTION: The most common areas where loss occurs during peak is 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 them launching. This will not only keep the drivers honest but also allow management to find mis-loaded packages that occurred by mistake.


A Tight Labor Market

The labor market in the supply chain has increasingly become very tight. If you look at any major fulfillment 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 labor having criminal backgrounds, financial issues or drug problems. In year’s 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 a reality.

SOLUTION: Enforce your background check process instead of skipping this important activity. Reducing or eliminating the background check process can have major impacts to your organization resulting in lower productivity rates, criminal activity within your operation and a greater likelihood of theft.


The Future

People say there are no guarantees in life. I tend to disagree as it relates ecommerce. The trend has been and will continue to be unprecedented growth. With this growth brings numerous challenges to an infrastructure that was not designed to move millions of packages in a short time period such as peak. Without substantial investment and planning Peak Season in 2018 will be just as challenging for industries that are tasked with getting that holiday gift to the consumer.


Glenn is the Co-Founder and inaugural Chairman of the ISCPO. He currently is employed with Newgistics as the Director of Loss Prevention and as an Adjunct Professor at Texas Christian University. He has over 20 years of Loss Prevention experience both domestically and internationally with companies such as Motorola, Henry Schein and Office Depot. Glenn’s educational background includes a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Cincinnati and Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice from the University of Texas-Arlington.



Two FREE Whitepapers Every Loss Prevention Manager Should Read

Staying current is a must in Loss Prevention. Whether you work in retail, logistics, or transportation you’ll get the latest stats, strategies, and best practices after reading these free white papers.

Logistics Management: An Evaluation of Warehouse Operations & Trends

Logistics Management Whitepaper

This 42-page report features all the data gleaned from its readers in this year’s Warehouse Operations & Trends Study including:
•Nature of distribution center’s operations
•Size of distribution center and scope of distribution activities
•Areas for possible expansion
•Distribution center systems and technologies in use
•Means for measuring productivity
•Actions taken to manage warehouse operating costs
•Events that cause disruptions in distribution center operations

Download the full report from Logistics Management


LPM Special Report on Supply-Chain Security: Trailer and Warehouse Theft, Investigations, and Loss Prevention Tips from the Experts

Our friends at Loss Prevention Magazine recently asked Glenn Master (ISCPO board member and former Chairman) and John Tabor (ISCPO board member) how organizations can anticipate, prevent and investigate cargo theft as well as maintain logistics protocols that mitigate risk when it comes to supply chain security.

This in-depth, expert guide takes you through supply chain security and solutions where you’ll not only learn how theft occurs, but also where and when, and how you can fight it. You’ll…

  • Understand the threat to your organization that cargo theft represents
  • Master the details of the entire supply-chain process
  • Get up to speed on the LP pro’s role in stopping loss
  • Pinpoint those stops along a shipment’s way where the danger is greatest – including your own distribution center
  • Integrate supply-chain security knowledge into your day-to-day responsibilities
  • Establish practices, processes and a company culture that will save your organization millions of dollars, and put your career on a fast track to success

Download the full report at LPM



BSI Quarterly Intelligence Review

Register for BSI’s Quarterly Intelligence Review

Join us for BSI’s Q3 Quarterly Intelligence Review Webinar! During this review our SCREEN Intelligence Analyst will provide information on the following topics:

  • Emerging trends and important news related to supply chain security, corporate social responsibility, business continuity and food safety and fraud
  • Recent threat level changes
  • Updates and developments impacting regulation and compliance programs
  • New methods and tactics used to target the supply chain

To register for this upcoming event, please click on one of the links below:

October 18, 2017 at 2:00pm ET

October 19, 2017 at 9:00am ET

About BSI Supply Chain Services and Solutions

BSI Supply Chain Services and Solutions is the leading global provider of supply chain intelligence, auditing services, audit compliance and risk management software solutions, and advisory services. Our mission is to help corporations, governments and associations identify, manage and mitigate global supply chain risks and maintain world class governance risk and compliance programs. Our products and solutions are designed to predict and visualize risk, and develop robust risk mitigation and compliance management programs to protect your supply chain, brand and reputation. Our leading intelligence-infused supply chain software solutions and services empower our clients to understand global supply chain risk with unequaled precision

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© BSI 2017

The British Standards Institution (BSI, a company incorporated by Royal Charter), performs the National Standards Body activity (NSB) in the UK. BSI, together with other BSI Group Companies, also offers a broad portfolio of business solutions other than the NSB activity that help businesses worldwide to improve results through Standards-based best practice (such as certification, self-assessment tools, software, product testing, information products and training). We respect your right to privacy – view our privacy policy

From the Experts: The Future is NOW in Supply Chain Security

We asked ISCPO 2017 speakers and attendees to share the most pressing shifts and trends that are affecting supply chain security today. The future truly is NOW when it comes to protecting, securing, and managing goods as they flow through the supply chain.

Aligning a supply chain security framework with customers’ buying behavior

“The continued growth of online commerce and consumers who are time-starved drive the ever-changing face of supply chain. More and more home or workplace deliveries open up opportunities for the retail and service industries. But with these opportunities comes risk. Fraud, theft, worker injury, increasing reliance on 3rd party partners just to name a few. If the loss prevention community does not keep step with the changes, organizations will lose billions in profits. The key will be the industry coming together realizing that brick and mortar has changed and will continue to change. Partnering with an organization like the ISCPO can only help in calibration, education, and change.” – Byron Smith, Corporate Asset Protection Manager, 7-Eleven Inc

“The ability for consumers to order something immediately and expect to have it on their doorstep within 24 hours without even visiting a retail location is a huge shift, affecting every facet of our industry.”- Glenn Master, Director Loss Prevention, Environmental Health & Safety, Newgistics


Balancing Prevention vs Response Activation

“Whether businesses ship their own deliverables or outsource their transportation, the expectation is that there are appropriate security measures in place to protect the freight. This involves a considerable investment in time and resources to provide this level of assurance back to the business. Failing to front load these costs today within the business may lead to losses and reactive spending 2,3 or 4x that tomorrow. The most successful prevention programs provide a multi-faced approach including well-contrived transport security requirements, a robust audit program, and an investigatory process. Implementing an effective prevention strategy is not easy and in many cases tend to evolve over years of trial and error.” – Wes Bank, Director of Loss Prevention, DHL eCommerce

Having the Right Talent

“The gap between brick-and-mortar professionals and supply-chain asset protection experts has grown exponentially, and the ability to hire talent is strained. It quickly became evident that successful supply-chain talent was defined as logisticians with an expertise in asset protection versus asset protection experts learning logistics, let alone supply chain. The net became much wider, the systems became more advanced, and the skill sets needed to be shored up quickly. Today, there are a handful of domestic and global SMEs that understand where to find the golden nuggets and how to expose the vulnerabilities. You can see the evolution of security to loss prevention to retail asset protection to supply-chain asset protection to eventually its final evolution—supply-chain risk management. It’s likely that omni-channel will eventually be absorbed into the supply-chain risk management umbrella.” – Maurizio Scrofani, President & Chief Innovation Officer, MPS Solutions

“We are no longer simply LP professionals dealing with shrink. Supply chain security is an integral piece of our organization’s risk management strategy that requires investment in the tools, data, and people that not only enable companies to keep up with their customers’ expectations but also to manage risk throughout the whole supply chain loop.” – Glenn Master, Director Loss Prevention, Newgistics

Innovating and Keeping Up with New Technologies

“The implementation of new technologies in the logistics industry has become a differentiating element and in Deutsche Post DHL Group we remain at the forefront with the introduction of different technological devices, including drones. We develop solutions that optimize the resources of the customers and see a great potential in technology as a tool to make supply chain operations more efficient and secure.” – Jeronimo Sosa, Sr. Director/Regional Security Head, DHL Supply Chain

“One trend, facial recognition, highlights the potential issues happening in a store for the asset protection team. But a better way would be to look at the feature recognition software available to solve the same problem but in a much more efficient way. In retail the trends ebb and flow with the asset protection team being in the ascendancy at one stage before the sales team take over. This is often triggered by trends within the company or the industry as a whole. If the latest trading figures shown an unacceptable level of shrink then the focus moves away from sales lightly and there is often a tightening of procedures. The scarce resources of a retailer are at times redeployed into asset protection spend to combat this risk. That is until the next inventory review cycle show an asset protection positive impact of the business that appears to be under.” – Maurizio Scrofani, President & Chief Innovation Officer, MPS Solutions

Truckers Carrying Guns? Still a Taboo Topic


JUNE 12, 2017


The Mustardseed Truck Stop on Highway 167 in Sumner, Wash., wins little love: “filthy,” “disgusting,” “overpriced” are but a few of the many scathing reviews offered by truckers reluctantly paying $13 for a 12-hour break on its premises.

It’s also a former crime scene, where, on March 8, 2016, 52-year-old Piotr Pietrzykowski was stabbed to death in his white cab. He was driving for Top Line Express, a company founded in 2011 in Schaumburg, Ill.

His violent death, reported only by the local media, remains unsolved more than a year later.

Pietrzykowski’s slaying is one of 27 reported driver killings nationwide between 2010 and 2015, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics’ data. It also prompted a debate on whether truckers should be allowed to carry guns for protection.

“It’s the Wild West. You’re on your own,” said Norita Taylor, spokeswoman for the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association, which represents 158,000 members.

Unlike the Wild West, though, where many carried a six-shooter and rarely hesitated to use it in their own defense, today’s drivers face a much different and more challenging environment.

Frustrated drivers are increasingly at risk as a drastic shortage of parking — an estimated 300,000 spots are available for more than 3 million drivers — makes dark, remote spots the default place for mandatory rest.

Truckers most often were killed on duty — 12 slayings — while parked on a local road, street or highway, according to BLS data. Another seven were killed in a parking lot or garage not owned by their direct employer. Truck drivers were the victims of 5 percent of reported workplace homicides between 2011 and 2015, according to the federal agency.

While there is no national law prohibiting truckers from carrying properly permitted firearms, it’s still a questionable practice. Myriad city, county, state and trucking company policies make it nearly impossible for truckers to legally carry firearms in their trucks.

That leaves drivers who choose to bring a firearm on the road caught between complicated state and local laws, and their fear of being attacked while alone and far from help.

“You have a very deep need for national reciprocity so that our rights for self-defense get extended across the United States,” said Evan Nappen, an attorney in Eatontown, N.J., who concentrates on firearms and weapons law. “Most civilians are not as concerned with this issue, but this is drivers’ living.”

But others said there is little data available that would show whether firearms would better protect drivers from crime.

“I think you have to weigh the safety and security of the truckers and whether the ability to carry a weapon increases their ability to protect themselves,” said Tim Lytton, a law professor and gun regulation expert at Georgia State University. “We don’t know the extent to which arming truck drivers or allowing them to carry across jurisdiction is going to increase their safety or decrease their safety.”

Even if a driver has the legal right to own, or carry, a firearm in his or her home state, each state, and sometimes each county or even municipality — like New York City, Chicago and Washington, D.C. — may impose its own much tougher laws.

A driver found carrying a gun in New Jersey faces a minimum mandatory prison sentence of 3 ½ years and as much as 10 years, Nappen said. He recently successfully defended a Marine, a military police officer who brought his MP-issued handgun home to New Jersey from his workplace in Quantico, Va.

“Truckers are more likely to have this problem than anyone I can think of,” he said. “They know they’re vulnerable to violence, and they also don’t realize how harsh New Jersey law is. The individual has to choose between who they fear more, cops or criminals.”

Short of guns, drivers are relying on other things they are allowed to carry in their cabs and which they can use as weapons, including club-like objects such as heavy-duty MagLite flashlights, tire irons and pry bars. Some take dogs in their trucks to alert them if someone gets too close to their cab.

Robert Palm, a father of two young children and a 26-year veteran driver based in Albuquerque, N.M., told Trucks.com he is careful to protect himself, but wouldn’t provide specifics except that, “I guarantee you, the end result will end in hospitalization.”

“Most of what truck drivers are dealing with aren’t so much legislative issues, it’s company policy issues,” said Kevin Michalowski, a firearms advocate.

Trucking companies’ insurance policies may prevent them from allowing their drivers to carry firearms, said John Goldberg, a professor at Harvard Law School.

“If the companies have liability insurance policies, it is possible that the insurers have told the companies that the insurance will not cover shooting-related liabilities,” Goldberg said.

Calls placed to companies large and small, and to safety experts to discuss how they teach drivers to remain safe without a firearm offered little insight. No one wants to discuss it.

“I don’t think there’s any training for safety,” said Taylor of the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association.

“I’m afraid we just don’t have much to say on the topic because it varies significantly carrier to carrier and driver to driver,” said Sean McNally, spokesperson for the American Trucking Associations.

Yet drivers of armored vehicles have had the legal right to carry firearms across state lines since the passage of the Armored Car Industry Reciprocity Act, or ACIRA, in 1993.

UPS provides its employees with explicit training, said one UPS driver who asked that he not be identified because he was not authorized to discuss the shipping company’s safety policies.

“Do not leave your cab. Do not engage in anything. Do not put yourself in harm’s way,” he said they’re told.

Other company precautions include GPS tracking of every UPS vehicle, he said. Company drivers are given a credit card that can be used with their own PIN and only to buy fuel, the driver said.

“We’re not allowed to carry guns,” he added.

Like others drivers —now constrained by the use of electronic logging devices that track their driving time and tighter regulation and oversight of work hours — the UPS employee said he worries about finding safe places to rest.

“It’s very dangerous. The 30-minute rest rule has made it worse,” he told Trucks.com. “You always have to be thinking ahead. There’s only so many places you can stop on the turnpike.”

Chad Boblett, a long-distance driver and owner-operator who also runs Ratepermilemasters, a Facebook page for drivers with almost 11,000 members, said he can feel vulnerable on the road.

“I’m a very easy target for anyone who wants to rob me,” Boblett said.

On a recent delivery, veteran trucker Palm ended up “40 miles from the nearest rest stop” in an isolated part of Connecticut. He had to stop to comply with the hours of service rules governing how long drivers can work before taking a rest break.

“I sat there for 10 hours,” said Palm, who founded and runs truckersfinalmile.org, a 4-year-old registered 501c (3) charity that covers the costs of returning drivers who’ve died on the job — whether killed or having died a natural death — cross-country to their bereaved families.

With the drastic shortage of parking spaces “you have no safe haven,” Palm said. “I believe every trucker should be armed.”

Editor’s note: Trucks.com staff writer Clarissa Hawes contributed to this report.

Caitlin KellyCaitlin KellyCaitlin Kelly frequently writes for The New York Times, where she has published more than 100 articles. Winner of a Canadian National Magazine Award, she is a former reporter for The Globe and Mail, Montreal Gazette and New York Daily News. She is the author of “Malled: My Unintentional Career in Retail” and “Blown Away: American Women and Guns.” She can be found on Twitter: @CaitlinKellyNYC.

Who is That at My Doorstep? The Five Ways LP Professionals Can Integrate ECommerce

This guest article was written by ISCPO Board Member and past Chairman, Glenn Master.

I was having a light-hearted discussion a couple of weekends ago with my attorney, who just happens to be a 20-year friend of mine. We were discussing news media hype about self-driving cars, artificial intelligence, and packages being delivered by drones. He had mentioned that he could not stand going to the store and having to deal with the ‘shopping experience.’ A typical guy thing, right? He then mentioned that several days prior he had ordered salt and pepper shakers from an online retailer because the ones his wife bought never provided the exact amount of salt or pepper that he desired. He continued to explain that on the following Saturday, a day after he placed his order, he received a call on his cell phone from an unknown individual named Gary who wanted to confirm the correct address for the delivery because my friend lives in a rural area. Thirty minutes later Gary showed up in 1982, powder blue Olds Cutlass, which was stuffed with as many packages as humanly possible in a vehicle of this size. My friend got his salt and pepper shakers and an oil stain left on his driveway from the Cutlass.

This scenario, albeit amusing, happens every day around America and the world. Although self-driving cars, artificial intelligence and using drones to deliver packages is where we are going, it’s not embedded yet into the mainstream of business. Therefore, for now, at least, you are getting Gary at your doorstep.

Consumers currently spend an estimated $2 trillion dollars annually online. That number is expected to double in the next five years as third-world countries are now enjoying the luxury of internet connectivity. This means that any company who is doing business online is scrambling to find the quickest and cheapest way to get that parcel from their distribution center to your doorstep. So what happens to that internet order then, which you expect to be delivered after you click ‘confirm’? Let us go back to Gary and a few questions. Who is he? Does he work for the company that you ordered the item from? Does he have a criminal record? Is he mentally stable? Not to mention is his 82’ Cutlass going to leave a huge oil stain on your driveway. The average consumer frankly, does not really care. They just want their order.

These questions, however, should be asked by every Loss Prevention professional responsible for ensuring package integrity once it leaves their company. What I am finding though is that most of my colleagues do not have a clue and here is why they should. What if Gary has a criminal record and for every five packages he delivers, he steals two other packages. What if Gary is mentally unstable and decides to assault the customer during a delivery. What if Gary decides that by 2 pm he is tired of making deliveries, so he drives to the back of a mini-mart and tosses the remainder of the undelivered packages in the dumpster? The following scenario not only has become problematic for the transportation provider but also now has become a priority for the Loss Prevention department to figure out. The customer never received their original order, forcing them to contact the retailer and complain. The retailer then has to initiate another order in the system, which results in additional labor costs when the merchandise has to be re-picked and shipped once again. More importantly, the customer experience has been eroded because they did not receive their order in the first place.

These are just a few examples of thousands that take place daily in the world of the supply chain and will continue to grow as the consumer is choosing to point and click versus getting in their car and traveling to a store.

These are the five things you need to do today if you have any responsibility for Ecommerce.

Understand your business.

I believe it is in our inherent nature to focus only on what our scope of responsibility is with respect to work. If there is any belief that another company has responsibility for that customer order then the mind set becomes a ‘kick-the-can’ scenario or that it’s someone else’s problem. Take time to understand the full scope of your operation, especially outside the four walls of your organization.

Include the full Ecommerce Supply Chain in your LP Strategies.

Unless your company has a fleet of airplanes, long-haul semi-trucks or parcel vans, you have to rely on other service providers. This means that although the package your customer orders may be picked packed and shipped from your distribution center or store, your company must contract out with other service providers to get that package to your customer’s doorstep. That means that package might touch two to four different companies prior to your customer receiving it.

Make Analytics Your Best Line of Defense, and Offense.

I have learned a valuable lesson in the world of Supply Chain Ecommerce Loss Prevention. It does not matter how many companies, countries or sets of hands touch that parcel. If the parcel is scanned by each entity capturing a barcode/order number and you have the ability to review that information, you can figure out where it has been lost or stolen.

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, Literally:

You cannot waste your time chasing one-off packages in a supply chain environment. In addition, this philosophy must be conveyed to the folks in other departments within your organization, who are frantically sending 100 plus emails searching for one package. Develop a comprehensive analytics report from missing scans in a simple excel spreadsheet. Include all the touch points. If packages are being stolen or continually lost, the trending will stick out like a flashing neon sign. Spend your valuable time chasing the trends in your network.

Learn to be a Teacher & Advocate Within Your Organization:

I have spent countless hours working investigations that involve other Loss Prevention departments and Law Enforcement. I have found that many of my peers in both industries do not understand how a package goes from point A to B and the complexities that it entails. Here is some simple advice from my college Algebra teacher years ago when I could not understand a complex problem.  “Glenn, I am going to explain this to you like a five-year-old.”

A little patience and proper communication will go a long way in breaking down the complexities of the packages traveling in the supply chain.

Now is the time for Loss Prevention professionals to embrace the shifts in consumer buying behavior and realign their teams and focus on meeting the needs of the consumer.

Glenn is the Co-Founder and inaugural Chairman of the ISCPO. He currently is employed with Newgistics as the Director of Loss Prevention, Environmental Safety & Health and as an Adjunct Professor at Texas Christian University. He has over 20 years of Loss Prevention experience both domestically and internationally with companies such as Motorola, Henry Schein and Office Depot. Glenn’s educational background includes a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Cincinnati and Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice from the University of Texas-Arlington.

How to Run a Successful Cargo Investigation

This guest article was written by ISCPO Board Member, Scott Cornell, 2VP Transportation Lead, Crime & Theft Specialist at Travelers. Check out Travelers’ Supply Chain Management hub for comprehensive transportation resources.

No matter how effective your loss prevention team and systems are to protect your cargo and transportation networks, you’ll ultimately get the call, at some point in your career, to learn that your cargo has been compromised.

Cargo theft happens fast. It’s difficult, at best, to give concise, specific tips on cargo theft investigations. My disclaimer at the outset is that these will be high-level insights, which can be applied to several scenarios where there are some similarities as well unpredictable differences. While some consistency is needed in any approach, there also needs to be flexibility to adjust to the unexpected differences in any given case.

Disseminate Information

The first thing you’ll want to do following a theft is quickly getting out as much information as possible. The likelihood of recovery drops off considerably after the first 48 hours, so you’ll want to quickly determine what police department will have jurisdiction over the theft and make contact with them. Depending on the loss scenario, this is not always simple – you need to know who to call and develop the right industry contacts. Additionally, you can share whatever information you can with industry resources such as the regional security counsels, which will get your theft information out to a large audience of people. Use all available industry resources, like CargoNet, for example, and share the information with them. In my experience, they will help you get the word out regardless of whether or not you’re a member – the cargo theft community is a tight one, and people will try and help if they can.

Not only will this information reach private sector personnel and resources across the country, and even internationally, but also law enforcement resources who have experience in cargo theft. The security counsels share the alerts so the information will quickly spread across the country. You’ll want to include as much information as you can – provide the truck and trailer identifying information, the location of the theft, what was taken, any information you may have already been provided or gathered, and how it took place. If possible, include as much detail as possible about the stolen commodities so law enforcement knows what they’re looking for.

Where to Start

After thoroughly distributing information about the theft to all available resources, your investigation will almost always need to start in two immediate locations. The first is obvious – where the theft occurred. The second location, which may be less obvious if you’re not familiar with these types of investigations, is the area you suspect the cargo may be headed. As you conduct more investigations over time, you can develop a good feel for who may have taken your load and where they may be headed. It’s important to begin your investigation in both locations. If you don’t have any idea, reach out to someone who may. Your load is almost certainly not the first load they’ve stolen and most groups have a pattern of behavior.

One of the first things you’ll need to do is to scan the theft location with a fine-tooth comb and then work your way out. Were there any witnesses or possible video captures on-site or on the most likely routes as you expand your search outward? Quite often there are video resources outside of the theft location that you can identify and request recordings from – you could also enlist the help of law enforcement to make the request. While the videos may not always be of the best quality, you don’t know what they may show unless you get it. Even if it’s from someplace outside of the theft location it may at least give you an indication of what direction your load was headed when it was taken.

“All Hands On”

The third tip is the “all hands on” method. You must talk to everyone who touched or worked on moving that load. The driver is the most obvious, but who else knew about that load? Who arranged for it, packed it, loaded it or was involved in the deal in any way? In today’s world of cargo theft and specifically in what we call “strategic cargo theft” – methods such as identity theft and fictitious pickups – someone may have been involved in the deal with the intent of stealing your load. There may have been a breach in informational security, and you may find someone somewhere along the way had some involvement in the theft. It’s imperative to be thorough in pursuing all possible leads.

While I wish it was as straightforward and easy to conduct cargo theft investigations as it may seem, it really never is. It is my hope that these tips will at least get you headed in the right direction. More than anything, the value of networking cannot be stressed enough. If you know the right people and have the right resources available, you’ll know what to do and who to call first in that awful moment when you discover your load has gone missing. Organizations like the ISCPO can help you do just that.

LPM Special Report on Supply-Chain Security: Trailer and Warehouse Theft, Investigations, and Loss Prevention Tips from the Experts

Our friends at Loss Prevention Magazine recently asked Glenn Master (ISCPO board member and former Chairman) and John Tabor (ISCPO board member) how organizations can anticipate, prevent and investigate cargo theft as well as maintain logistics protocols that mitigate risk when it comes to supply chain security.

Protecting more than just merchandise

According to FreightWatch International, a risk management service provider, the average value of a stolen shipment in-transit can be around $300,000. One incident of organized retail crime, a problem we all consider a serious threat, nets about $8,000. Bank robbery? A pittance at about $2,000.

Efficient and effective supply-chain networks are necessary to successfully compete in the global retail market. It then rests on the loss prevention professional to take the necessary steps to gain a better understanding of the overall supply-chain process and how the process impacts the business so that he or she can effectively support shrink reduction and profit-enhancement efforts.

In terms of understanding, even the term “supply chain” can be viewed as a misnomer. This is not merely a seamless link of interconnected, proportional pieces that takes us from a point of origin and leads to a single ending destination. It is a sophisticated, interdependent network of positions, processes, facilities, functions, responsibilities, tasks, transport, and technology that all culminates with delivering products and services to our customers.

From a loss prevention management perspective, our attentions must focus on disruptive risk. As described by one industry leader, “Assuming the enterprise has taken the necessary precautions to ensure product quality, integrity, and safety, the primary risk to any organization posed by the supply network is disruption. Any disruption in production or delivery will result in potential lost sales, decreased revenue, margin erosion, and profit loss.” These risks can exist at each origin location, at each intermediate location through which the product travels, and along each transportation link between points.

Companies must design operational plans that will serve to identify potential threats; evaluate how, when, and where they may occur; develop effective approaches to mitigate losses, and build programs that improve efficiency and business recovery. Theft is certainly a primary consideration, but specific risks will vary depending on a variety of factors specific to the unique supply-chain network. Potential risks must be identified and analyzed at each point along the network, building the plan that serves as the cornerstone of supply-chain resiliency.

Download this FREE Special Report from LP Magazine today!

This in-depth, expert guide takes you through supply chain security and solutions where you’ll not only learn how theft occurs, but also where and when, and how you can fight it. You’ll…

  • Understand the threat to your organization that cargo theft represents
  • Master the details of the entire supply-chain process
  • Get up to speed on the LP pro’s role in stopping loss
  • Pinpoint those stops along a shipment’s way where the danger is greatest – including your own distribution center
  • Integrate supply-chain security knowledge into your day-to-day responsibilities
  • Establish practices, processes and a company culture that will save your organization millions of dollars, and put your career on a fast track to success

Download the full report at LPM

Supply Chain Management: It’s 10 p.m. Do You Know Where Your Package Is?

This article was written by Glenn Master and was originally published in Loss Prevention Magazine.

The more we learn about the supply chain, the easier the process is to manage

If you grew up in the 1970s, you may remember the popular public-service announcement for parents that asked, “It’s 10 p.m. Do you know where your child is?” The statement seemed almost nonsensical, but it shared an important message for parents to ensure that they always make a conscious effort to know the whereabouts of their children.

Similarly, how is it that loss prevention practitioners can so often be ignorant of supply chain management and the whereabouts of online consumer orders as they move through the supply chain?

The evolution of e-commerce in retail has been accelerating exponentially in recent years. With the ability for consumers to order anything from anywhere using a smartphone, Americans are now spending over $300 billion annually online. This is challenging retailers to keep up with the demand, and without their own transportation fleets, they must rely on third-party entities to get merchandise to their customers.

What does that mean for retail loss prevention? If you don’t have a clear understanding of supply chain management and how a package moves through the supply chain, your ability to investigate in-transit losses will be virtually impossible.

A General Lack of Involvement

In today’s environment, I have found that most retail loss prevention professionals have a limited knowledge of their supply chain. In most companies, supply chain management is typically managed by the transportation or operations department. Contracts are negotiated with multiple freight carriers, and loss prevention rarely has any involvement with those negotiations or contract review. Furthermore, if freight is lost or stolen, claims are often filed unbeknownst to loss prevention, and, in most instances, settled without the benefit of an investigation being conducted at all.

This way of doing business is standard. When you consider the immensity of the global supply chain, it becomes clear why it’s so difficult to obtain actual loss rates for freight that has been stolen in transit. This standard reflects the notion that whoever handles the freight last is ultimately responsible for paying a loss claim. If multiple carriers are involved, those claims will continue to be filed and paid until ultimately a company at the end of the transportation line will be stuck incurring the loss. This basically equates to kicking the can down the road, and retailers are typically unconcerned about the problem as long as they are made whole on the loss.

Eroding the Customer Experience

But what is the real cost here? The customer never received their original order, forcing them to contact the retailer and complain. The retailer then has to initiate another order in the system, which results in additional labor costs when the merchandise has to be re-picked and shipped once again. More importantly, the customer experience has been eroded because they did not receive their order in the first place.

We have all ordered products online and know exactly what it feels like not to receive the order on time. We understand the frustration that mounts when we have to contact the retailer and complain. Now imagine if that customer’s order was stolen, perhaps with similar thefts occurring with other customer orders in the same geographical area. If all your company is doing is filing a claim for the lost packages and not involving loss prevention to investigate the matter, how are the thefts going to be stopped? They won’t … and therein lies the problem. This is why it is so crucial that retail loss prevention becomes an active participant in the supply chain aspect of the business.

The Transportation Process

The first step is to gain an understanding of the supply chain management process. As mentioned earlier the majority of retailers that do business online do not have their own transportation infrastructure. This means they have to contract out 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 would include the time it takes to deliver the package, the distance the package has to travel, and 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.

This is where the choice of a transportation provider will come into play. Some providers have a large, global network with their own state-of-the-art warehouses and a comprehensive global fleet comprised of both trucks and airplanes. Furthermore, these companies often have comprehensive loss prevention programs that include both personnel who can investigate loss and physical security that meets industry standards. Because this method can accommodate the convenience of all shipping requirements, costs are normally higher.

In addition, the ability to negotiate claim payment if the package is lost or stolen can also become more difficult. In essence, you’re placing a lot of trust that the package will transit through the network without a problem. If it is lost or stolen, there is little recourse for the retailer because such contracts are often worded in such a manner that payment will not be pursued on claims unless a predetermined loss percentage threshold is met.

Because of the claim payment restrictions, the retailer may then consider contracting with a third-party (3PL) transportation provider as an alternative method to collect the merchandise from the warehouse, consolidate with other freight throughout the client’s network, and complete the delivery process. These carriers are generally regionalized using an independent contractor model for their driver base. This means that the drivers are not the transportation company’s own employees, and in turn, they contract the route out to a provider that works for them. That route owner, or “Independent Contract,” then may have several contracted drivers working for them, covering multiple routes within the 3PL.

Taking it even a step further, the company might subcontract all the routes to a fourth-party transportation company with a similar model, totally unbeknown to the retailer. These companies are designed to move freight at the parcel level and specialize in last-mile delivery to the customer. The problem these carriers face is their operations rarely have any loss prevention personnel on the payroll. They lack basic security standards, such as CCTV, burglar alarm systems, key control, or criminal background checks completed on their contractors. They also lack basiinventory control practices to monitor the retailer’s freight within their network or when it’s turned over to the driver.

This is a recipe for disaster when it comes to theft, and you will often find high-percentage losses when dealing with these carriers. While they are willing to pay loss claims to retailers, they rarely have methods to determine the root cause of the losses. Furthermore, the loss issue is only resolved after thousands of dollars of losses have occurred, and the carrier is threatened with losing the retailers’ business. This is why it is so crucial for retail loss prevention to be involved in the transportation process from the beginning.

Six Steps to Building a Proactive Supply Chain Management Plan

Following are some key steps that should be taken to build a proactive plan.

  • Have a strong relationship with your transportation department and be part of the carrier approval process.
  • Develop a comprehensive security protocol that the carriers must adhere to and ensure that protocol is added in the contract with the transportation provider.
  • Visit some of the locations and conduct an audit of their operations. This should include evaluating their security and, more importantly, the operational controls in handling your freight.
  • Develop loss analytics that can identify loss trends before you start receiving customer complaints about loss. These analytics should identify trends by carrier and driver route.
  • Be proactive in meeting 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 for your help to identify problems before they get out of hand.
  • While visiting provider locations, see what other clients’ freight they are moving. If losses are occurring with your freight, they are probably occurring with other retailers’ freight as well. This allows a perfect opportunity to work a joint investigation with other loss prevention peers.

The supply chain can be a very confusing entity and one that many retail loss prevention professionals avoid. But the more we learn, the easier the process is to manage. Rather than assuming that a package is safe once it leaves the confines of your four walls, get engaged in the supply chain management process. You may be surprised to find that with a little effort and some planning, your ability to identify these losses and work with the carriers that handle your freight is a relatively easy process.