ASSOCIATED COURIERS, INC. is the latest to be ISCPO Carrier Certified


Regional Transportation Carrier Awarded Ground-Breaking Security Certification

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

Dallas, TX (November 19, 2018) – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE –  The International Supply Chain Protection Organization (ISCPO) is pleased to announce Associated Couriers, INC. has been officially awarded the ISCPO Carrier Certified designation, as part of the ISCPO’s Carrier Security Audit & Certification program.

Associated Couriers, INC. 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, Vice 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.

“Earning ISCPO certification is a landmark achievement,” says Anthony W. Anderson, CEO of Associated Couriers, Inc. “Ensuring the multiple stages of security necessary is a base-line value for logistics providers, especially final mile and ecommerce partners.  We go above and beyond by using top of the line technology to track each package and monitor each delivery until final delivery.   We provide photo POD and e-signature to our customers to ensure closed-loop tracking and a near 100% on-time performance record.  We take great pride in maintaining an impeccable record of near zero loss, which reflects our strict adherence to security protocols and efficient practices, and continuous investment in loss prevention staff and technology.”

ISCPO Vice Chairman Smith adds, “The ISCPO Team would like to congratulate the Associated Couriers Team on their achievement. Their more than 40 years of logistics experience has formed a solid framework of best practices in internal operating procedures, delivery and return protocols, loss and theft prevention programs along with their dedicated people and facility management. Associated Courier, INC leads the way with high industry standards as a regional carrier.”

Ken Snarzyk, the Safety & Compliance Officer stated he is honored to have earned an ISCPO Certification. “It ensures security for our network through to the final mile and is an excellent addition to our US DOT, TSA and C-TPAT certifications.  We are continuously committed to upholding the highest security and chain of custody standards for all of our clients’ logistics and supply chain needs.”

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

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.

For more information, email:




Into the Rabbit Hole of Supply-Chain Risk by Maurizio P. Scrofani, CCSP, LPC

Learning How Much We Don’t Know Is the First Step to Appreciating Supply-Chain Risk Management

This article was written by ISCPO Board Member Maurizio P. Scrofani, CCSP, LPC, and was originally published at LPM.

Also read at LPM: Into the Rabbit Hole of Supply-Chain Risk

The supply-chain web is spun so intricately that it’s impossible to know it, truly. Perhaps the most we can aim for is to gain knowledge about one link, then another, and gradually appreciate more fully how pieces fit together. Maybe it’s not realistic—when it comes to today’s supply chain—to have a goal of becoming an “expert.” Instead, dedicate oneself to being a lifetime student of supply chain’s infinite complexities.

The aim of supply-chain risk management (SCRM) is fairly straightforward. It’s how we help to identify risk and manage supply-chain security adequately. But learning about supply-chain risks is a bit of a rabbit hole. Even something seemingly basic can be muddy, such as where supply chain starts. (With a product’s manufacture? When plans are drawn? At ideation?) What’s certain is that risks are inherent at every step along a product’s path to a store’s shelf. And, perhaps, back again as purchase does not always mark an end to a product’s path through the supply chain.

In the case of a return, the product may hit the road again, from store back to vendor, and undergo additional steps. In the case of, say, an oil-filled radiator, a vendor may face a series of environmental regulatory steps before parts and pieces are sent back to the manufacturer or a scrap company.

The number of players, the differences in technologies, the amount of information, and the sheer volume of interactions between these and other layers of today’s global supply chain make it extremely difficult to identify risks, let alone mitigate them.

Supply-chain management encompasses the coordination of the many activities related to sourcing, procurement, conversion, and logistics. It involves planning and processing orders; handling, transporting, and storing the products purchased, processed and/or distributed; and managing the inventory of goods in a coordinated manner. And there is risk through it all—as broad and diverse as the supply chain itself.

Cargo theft is an example of a risk in the supply chain. It is, however, a single risk within a small section of the supply chain (logistics). A furniture manufacturer/seller of wooden dressers, for example, will have to manage myriad supply-chain risks long before it has even made a product to ship. For every metal screw or plastic knob that will come from a supplier, the company will need to assess reliability, and for every shipment of wood, its health and quality.

Geographic Impact of Supply-Chain Risk Management

Today’s vulnerabilities are multiplied due to greater geographic distances and the complex processes of the supply chain. Globalization presents unique challenges when applying supply-chain risk management methodologies to safeguard the supply chain from emerging threats and vulnerabilities. Disruption can hit the supply chain at any point, from manipulation in raw material usage, malware and intrusions in digital supply-chain processes, cargo theft, and crime in warehouses and distribution centers.

At the very broadest level, external supply-chain risks include:

– Demand risks caused by unpredictable or misunderstood customer demand.

– Supply risks caused by any interruptions to the flow of product, whether raw material or parts, within a company’s supply chain.

– Environmental risks from outside the supply chain, such as economic, social, governmental, and climate factors, including the threat of terrorism, global crisis and recession, and political upheaval.

– Business risks caused by factors such as a supplier’s financial or management stability, or purchase and sale of supplier companies.

– Physical plant risks caused by the condition of a supplier’s physical facility and regulatory compliance.

In each area, questions fuel a risk-management process. Our furniture company, for example, needs clarity on key issues related to its suppliers if it is to embed resilience into its business. Intellectual property is one area—one among many—that it needs to examine.

– Do our suppliers have a history of intellectual property theft? Been accused of it?

– Have they been victims? Did an employee improperly share sensitive information or provide access to a facility? Was there a computer network intrusion?

– How do they protect their internal computer networks?

The furniture dealer also needs to know about its suppliers’ processes and procedures to verify the quality of its products or third-party products and services: How is the quality of product verified? What mechanisms are in place to ensure products meet requirements? Is an inspection process in place to review materials and/or services? Distribution is another category: How do suppliers transport products? Are they warehoused during transportation, and if so, where? Who has access to those properties? And what about finances? Are the suppliers stable?

Again, these are just some of the necessary risk-management questions to help neutralize a small sampling of external risks, from a few slivers of the supply chain. And while partnerships with top suppliers are typically strong, these questions should also be asked and answered for second and third-tier suppliers.

Of course, our fictional furniture firm faces an equal number of internal risks, including manufacturing risks, business and process risks, and planning and control risks. It faces risk from shrinkage resulting from holding too much inventory, for example. And what about risk from product defects? Or high labor costs? Or poor planning? What if key personnel leave? How might that impact business processes or how purchasers communicate to suppliers and customers?

The consequences of failure are hardly hypothetical. A new commercial airliner was delayed three years because of a failure to assess supply-chain risks properly. A candy maker’s stock sank 8 percent when it couldn’t deliver for Halloween. And in 2015, a cascade of technology missteps in a major big-box retailer’s supply chain, which caused the prospect of patchy or empty store shelves, forced it to withdraw entirely from a country’s marketplace.

Conducting a Company-Wide Risk Assessment

A robust SCRM process starts by identifying this world of risk—conducting a comprehensive, organization-wide risk assessment to determine what can go wrong. Relevant metrics, multiple sources of input, and augmented data analysis are necessary to get an accurate picture of the current situation. Risks then need to be scored and prioritized, based on their likelihood of occurrence and potential impact on business.

Once risks have been identified and prioritized, organizations need to create a comprehensive risk-mitigation plan based on short-term, medium-term, and long-term risks; to identify the right people to implement it and assign responsibilities; and to create escalation mechanisms for each risk and contingency plan.

A clear risk picture and planning are the base layer. Organizations must also monitor and track the progress of their risk-mitigation initiatives to ensure that they work in real-life business situations. Risk-management tools and insightful dashboards can help steer an organization through interactions with suppliers and other operational stakeholders and prompt timely informed decisions. Broadly, SCRM is critical to managing interaction between suppliers, information, technologies, products, and logistics service providers.

So what does our furniture company stand to gain? By improving its management of supply-chain risk, it can maintain control over inventories and distribution, thereby matching and managing supply with demand to reduce costs, improve sales, and enhance company profitability. That, too, sounds simpler than it is. It requires:

– Understanding the business, the customer and customer needs, and adapting the supply chain to find the balance that maximizes profitability.

– Customizing the logistics network to meet the service requirements of various markets, which may influence the size, number, location, ownership, structure, and mission of warehouse facilities.

– Recognizing market signals and aligning strategies accordingly to ensure consistent supply forecasts and optimal resource allocation.

– Strategically locating/warehousing products close to the customer base and speeding conversion efficiencies to react quickly to market signals and store/customer needs.

– Managing supply sources strategically to reduce the total cost of owning goods, as well as teaming with business partners to reduce costs across the supply chain to lower prices and enhance margins.

– Developing a technology strategy and IT system capable of integrating all the above information—one that makes all this critical decision-making possible.

A well-managed supply chain—one that mitigates risks—is essential to a successful operation. In today’s global manufacturing environment, where merchandise often moves across oceans or continents before appearing on store shelves, the risk of loss or delays due to cargo theft, weather, work stoppage, and even paperwork errors requires innovative and comprehensive supply-chain risk-management solutions to manage successfully. When we consider that every single piece of merchandise must in some way pass through the supply-chain network, it’s easy to see the need to implement appropriate controls and protect our interests against an increasingly complex world of risk.

MAURIZIO P. SCROFANI, CCSP, LPC, is a well-known supply-chain asset protection professional with over twenty-five years of experience in retail and manufacturing, including leadership roles with Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Delonghi, and Toys“R”Us. He was cofounder and president of CargoNet, a supply-chain theft prevention and recovery network solution of Verisk Analytics. Currently, Scrofani is the chief supply-chain security officer for ALTO Assurance where he leads the team that offers shippers and logistics providers a comprehensive, end-to-end asset protection and risk-management technology solution. He can be reached at


NOW Courier, Inc. is the latest to be ISCPO Carrier Certified



Regional Transportation Carrier Awarded Ground-Breaking Security Certification

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

Dallas, TX (October 9, 2018) – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE –  The International Supply Chain Protection Organization (ISCPO) is pleased to announce NOW Courier, INC. has been officially awarded the ISCPO Carrier Certified designation, as part of the ISCPO’s Carrier Security Audit & Certification program.

NOW Courier, INC. 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.

“As consumers and businesses increase demands on eCommerce, there is an inherent increase in complexity and risk within transportation,” says Byron Smith, Vice Chairman of the ISCPO. “Seeing a need for standard/universal controls, carrier accountability, and transparency within the marketplace among the growing third-party regional carriers, the ISCPO Carrier Security Audit & Certification program helps recognizes those that execute above and beyond.

Carriers awarded the ISCPO Carrier Certified designation demonstrate their commitment to maintaining high 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.

“What an awesome sense of accomplishment to receive the ISCPO certification for NOW Courier, Inc, and one we do not take lightly. Our company prides itself on security within the workplace, and that includes everyone from our drivers to our employees. Everyone owns security throughout our company to ensure our partners are 100% confident in the last mile carrier they chose, says Ryan Schwalbach, CEO of NOW Courier, Inc.

ISCPO Vice Chairman, Smith adds, “Congratulations to the NOW Courier Team on the certification accomplishment. Their internal operating procedures, delivery and return protocols, and loss and theft prevention programs along with their dedicated people and facility management combine to form a solid framework of best practices and high industry standards as regional carriers.”

“NOW Courier is honored to have earned an ISCPO Certification. We are continuously committed to upholding the highest security and chain of custody standards for all of our clients’ logistics and supply chain needs.” says Robert Welch, Director of Security, Quality and Compliance of NOW Courier, Inc.

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

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.


For more Information, contact:

Byron Smith

ISCPO Vice Chairman

(469) 215-8184



DCVelocity interview with Scott Cornell – Changing Face of Cargo Theft

Article originally published at DCVelocity:–interview-with-scott-cornell/

The changing face of cargo theft: interview with Scott Cornell

The changing face of cargo theft: interview with Scott Cornell

Cargo theft and protection is a cat-and-mouse game over some valuable cheese, according to Scott Cornell of Travelers Insurance.

By Mark B. Solomon

Scott Cornell of Travelers InsuranceWhen it comes to cargo theft, there is good and not-so-good news. According to security consultancy CargoNet, nationwide incidents of cargo theft last year declined 17 percent from 2016 levels. Yet there were still more than 700 reported incidents last year, involving $89 million of stolen goods. Many more incidents were believed to have gone unreported. The bulk of the thefts occurred over long holiday weekends when drivers take extended breaks and often leave their rigs and cargo unattended.

Businesses are getting smarter, but so are thieves. Shortly after Memorial Day, Scott Cornell, transportation business lead and crime and theft specialist for Travelers Insurance, spoke to Mark B. Solomon, executive editor-news for DC Velocity, about the most current trends in cargo theft and what businesses can do to protect themselves from an expensive loss down the road. 

Q: Do you have a read on theft activity over the holiday weekend?

A: This year’s weekend wasn’t the worst we’ve seen in terms of number of thefts, though it was slightly above the average weekend. During holiday weekends, it’s important for shippers, carriers, and brokers to make sure shipments are secured and to educate drivers on cargo theft tactics and prevention methods. It would be ideal to avoid leaving loads unattended. However, when that’s not an option, we recommend a layered approach to protecting shipments. This includes good processes and procedures, staff and driver education, and physical and technological security enhancements.

Q: Five or six years ago, most thefts were yard heists and inside jobs conceived by ex- or current employees in the distribution center. Given the abundance of digital tools and thieves’ mastery of them, is the traditional scenario still commonplace?

A: What we call “straight” theft is the most common type of theft, and it happens most often at unsecured locations. However, evolving technology has contributed to a rise in strategic theft, such as identity theft and fictitious pickups, by helping thieves identify their targets and find new ways to trick people. It’s important not only to use physical security to protect loads, but also to have strong practices in place for protecting critical information and defending your company from cyber-based threats. Having this type of protection in place for virtual threats is just as critical as the physical protection needed around a yard or for a load in transit.

Q: Over the past five years, how have these tactics evolved? What has changed about the way they are executed?

A: Strategic theft methods have changed over the years. There was a time when we primarily saw two tactics—identity theft and fictitious pickups—but in recent years, we have seen more than a dozen different methods used. These types of cargo theft involve the use of fraud and deceptive information intended to trick shippers, brokers, and carriers into giving the load to the bad guys instead of the legitimate carrier. Organized cargo groups now use strategic methods such as double-brokering scams and “ghost trucks,” and they will even trick legitimate trucking companies into picking up the loads for them. Additionally, thieves will combine two or three methods to further complicate things. Victims may not be able to tell how they’ve actually been hit.

It is important to thoroughly vet all carriers and brokers through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), Internet search engines, third-party vetting companies, and industry associations. Work closely with shippers to confirm driver identification at the point of pickup, and don’t hesitate to contact your customers and business partners if there is any question or concern. Often, the additional scrutiny will deter thieves from pursuing the load in question.

Q: Freight brokers and third-party logistics service providers (3PLs) play key roles in procuring truck capacity for their shipper customers. Do you find these intermediaries are up to speed on anti-theft strategies and tactics?

A: It depends on whom you are talking about. Some larger brokers have dedicated teams with very detailed vetting procedures and security teams that can respond if they have a theft. Others may not have the same awareness or necessary procedures in place or dedicated resources needed to respond because they haven’t yet experienced a theft.

Q: It’s been said that freight posted on spot market loadboards becomes a target as soon as it is visible. Loadboards are getting more traffic today as spot market demand remains very strong. What are the security holes in loadboard freight and how can they be fixed?

A: Loadboards are as much a victim as the shippers and carriers in this situation. They are being taken advantage of while trying to provide a valuable resource and service, and there’s only so much that can be done to stop it. Some boards restrict membership, but even that can be worked around, and when bad guys do get through, it’s simple for them to profile a load to target.

In this situation, it’s important for users to exercise caution when coordinating through these boards. There are some steps they can take to help keep a shipment safe: First, establish strong pickup security policies and procedures. For example, require the driver to have a specific and secure pickup number to gain access to the load. Second, ensure everyone involved in the haul is who they say they are. This also goes for the freight broker assigned to choose the carrier. Third, check if your insurer offers the right coverages for these perils and has the resources to prevent theft issues and recover goods if the worst happens.

Q: You said at a recent conference that thieves will “go to the well until the well goes dry.” Does that mean they will leverage the same scenario until they are stopped? How do shippers and carriers combat this?

A: Thieves know what they’re doing. If they know they can target a specific company with good cargo and insufficient preventive measures, they’ll do so until someone stops them. But they’re also smart enough to move on when law enforcement or the targeted company starts cracking down. We’ve seen several shifts over the years where law enforcement will be on the lookout for one type of theft, and in response, thieves will shift their tactics to evade detection. Similarly, we’ve seen thieves make sudden geographic shifts when they realize they’ve attracted too much attention in one area. For example, we’ve seen California-based crews move to Arizona, Utah, or Washington to evade detection. This creates a Whack-a-Mole effect.

Q: How much theft can be deterred just with common sense, such as fully vetting a carrier before providing pickup information? Or is that easier said than done?

A: Cargo theft doesn’t take only one form, and neither should theft prevention. I can’t stress enough the importance of taking a layered approach to protecting loads. Remember, processes and procedures are free, and they are often the best methods to prevent theft.

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 –
  2. Good Distribution Practices (GDP) – Certification for pharmaceutical distribution
  3. Lowers & Associates Courier Certification Program –
  4. CTPAT: Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism –
  5. TAPA – Transportation Asset Protection Association –

The ISCPO Carrier Security Audit Certification – International Supply Chain Protection Organization [] 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 ( 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 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 “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, 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: 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.