Integrating Your Supply Chain at 30,000 feet: Vendor Spotlight – ALTO US

The speed of business has exponentially accelerated the supply chain, and our members rely on a variety of vendors’ tools, technology, and services to help them make their departments and the flow of goods run effectively. Our Vendor Spotlight Series aims to highlight innovative companies and their C-Level leaders who are taking the industry to the next level when it comes to LP & security.

We recently caught up with ISCPO Board Member Maurizio Scrofani, Vice President, Supply Chain Security & Intelligence of ALTO US,  a comprehensive collaboration program that combines technology, marketing, and intelligent prosecution, bridging the gap between retail and law enforcement to create safer environments.

Maurizio has over 25 years of experience in asset protection, risk management, and supply-chain security. He has held various senior leadership positions with Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, De’Longhi, and more notably Verisk Analytics, where he was the co-founder and president of CargoNet™, a supply-chain risk management company.

 

ISCPO: How has the industry evolved over your tenure? 

When my team and I built CargoNet, the core challenge was “info-share.” The databases were very remedial at the time and many victims were not discussing their losses or knew where to put the lost data without fear of being financially penalized by some entity knowing they had an event. CargoNet assisted in one of the many phases of the desperately needed industry renaissance.

Much of my retail tenure has focused on connecting the dots and understanding where the golden nuggets were hidden within the infrastructure of a multi-billion-dollar department store chain that had a global logistics footprint. Then a giant wrench called “omni-channel” was thrown into the mix. Omni-channel changed everything and that was when my retail team and I needed to move quickly into understanding the dynamic world of the Internet of Things (IoT) and its impact on both the consumer and the seller.

Buy online and pick up at store. Return to store but not the one you bought from. Return from your home to the closest warehouse. Basically, we had to solve the challenge of “buy anything, anytime from anywhere and return any which way you choose.” The logistics LTL and parcel world became a must have versus a nice to have.

In addition, the gap between brick-and-mortar professionals and supply-chain asset protection experts grew exponentially, and the ability to hire talent was 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.

ISCPO: What are the three most important elements a company must do to maintain a high standard of supply-chain protection?

In its simplest term, a company must strongly consider vetting all its sourcing points—who they are buying from and selling to. And that effort needs to focus on real-time visibility because today even the best planners and forecasters is surprised by unanticipated situational events.

Plus, there must be an audit or compliance program that supports best practice standards, government regulations, and the organization’s internal standards as well, while stressing testing compliance through a comprehensive assessment program. Omni-channel will continue to gain momentum, complexity, and speed so waiting and watching is unacceptable and will quickly foster unintentional risk exposure.

 

ISCPO: What are the biggest challenges to supply-chain protection and security, from a holistic industry level?

System Integration

I believe system integration continues to be a challenge. There are those that continue to use the phrase “big data.” However, the data resides in multiple places. Even in the same company, one often can’t get to the information or doesn’t even know where it is available if it is at all. Most subject-matter experts are deep within their vertical but not often wide. Those who understand it holistically are not able to teach or touch as many folks as they need to in order to continue to shore up the industry risk mitigation efforts.

Industry Acceptance

Industry acceptance as it relates to consultive efforts to shore up a retailer’s loss prevention program remains a problem. If you look at the supply-chain space, we do bring on consultants, and they assist in moving projects and programs forward quickly. However, when you look at the brick-and-mortar space, you will see minimal adoption by loss prevention departments of this commonly used practice. My experience has been that if I needed to run multiple efforts or projects in parallel, my team was never big enough or had the amount of bandwidth necessary, so we had to use outside help.

 

ISCPO: Tell us a challenge you see facing many professionals in the industry today and how your product/service helps to solve this issue?

As we speak with both Fortune 100 and smaller clients, we notice that the size of the company does not correlate to the size of its challenges, as they are all facing similar problems. The various solutions that are legacy based or bought off the shelf, all have one fundamental flaw—they do not integrate well and are not exposing “what you don’t know that you don’t know.” We work tirelessly to ensure that we have looked at all facets of the supply chain, not just the logistics channels, and can eat that elephant with our clients one forkful at a time, while still meeting their day-to-day demands.

We focus on a modular system that can come online and fits the client’s annual sales horizons, so we are not a financial burden. We expose their risk in terms of dynamic scoring from static origin locations, to dynamic in-transit scoring, to business partner selection as their personal vetting agent, if that is their need. We give them a comprehensive business intelligence platform that ties in an innovative event management platform, solid relationship analysis tool, and an omni-channel investigation system. We work feverishly to assist in democratizing their data to be useful and actionable. Our goal is to make complicated data easy to read and execute against.

 

About ALTO

ALTO is a comprehensive loss prevention collaboration program that combines technology, marketing, and intelligent prosecution, bridging the gap between retail and law enforcement to create safer environments for customers and associates as well as enhanced business profitability. To find out more visit www.alto.us.

Tracking, Protecting, and Managing Your Cargo: Vendor Spotlight – 7P Solutions

The speed of business has exponentially accelerated the supply chain, and our members rely on a variety of vendors’ tools, technology, and services to help them make their departments and the flow of goods run effectively. Our Vendor Spotlight Series aims to highlight innovative companies and their C-Level leaders who are taking the industry to the next level when it comes to LP & security.

We recently caught up with Jeff Clark, Founder & CEO of 7PSolutions, a leader in cargo tracking technology, including real-time GPS tracking devices and software. Jeff is an industry veteran and has witnessed and led a transformation in how companies track, protect, and manage the transportation of goods.

 

ISCPO: Tell us your background and experience in supply chain protection.

Jeff: I spent 27 years managing global transportation companies, which included designing unique EDI and software functionality that provided enhanced supply chain visibility in the 90’s. In 2001 I was part of a team that participated in the early stages of C-TPAT as well as the Air Cargo Screening Program and the Indirect Air Carrier Program. In 2003 I left the transportation industry and was part of an eight (8) person team who started a company called BioStorage Technologies providing unique services in ultra-cold storage, inventory management and distribution of irreplaceable human clinical trial samples and clinical trial drug product.  These two experiences raised the awareness of the need to protect the supply chain through the implementation of education and better tools for all stakeholders within the supply chain.  In April 2010, I founded 7PSolutions  with the vision to hold the supply chain accountable and ensure proper management of product integrity and protection of our clients’ brands.

 

ISCPO: How has the industry evolved over your tenure? Who has contributed to your success?

Jeff: When we started 7P we found that typical GPS services were not focused on supply chain visibility and were perceived to be more complicated than they actually were. In our early stages, it appeared to us that many users of these technologies had their service provider on-site or had them actually visit origin sites to place devices. It was our logistics experience and naivety that lead us to develop easy to use real-time GPS devices, combined with an event based GPS monitoring platform that was built around transportation management and supply chain. A service that the user could easily manage themselves. In our seven years in the industry, I believe the biggest changes we have seen is through our education of using the technologies for more than cargo security or product protection. The devices have not changed, GPS and the communications have not changed. The software application is the key to the services 7P provides. Since our beginnings, we have witnessed a change in how customers are managing GPS devices. Educating the customer has eliminated the need for the service provider to manage the devices on-site, which is a substantial reduction in cost.  As well, we believe the options of how the customers manage their devices have changed; device ownership, replenishment programs, and disposable devices or a combination of these solutions help customers reduce and maintain cost.

In our seven years in the industry, I believe the biggest changes we have seen is through our education of using the technologies for more than cargo security or product protection. The devices have not changed, GPS and the communications have not changed. The software application is the key to the services 7P provides. Since our beginnings, we have witnessed a change in how customers are managing GPS devices. Educating the customer has eliminated the need for the service provider to manage the devices on-site, which is a substantial reduction in cost.  As well, we believe the options of how the customers manage their devices have changed; device ownership, replenishment programs, and disposable devices or a combination of these solutions help customers reduce and maintain cost.

Early on in our business, our influences were Steve Covey, a cargo theft investigator with the Illinois State Police, now with the National Insurance Crime Bureau and Willie Morales who was with the TOMCATS and now Willie Morales Consulting.  These two gentlemen educated us on the day to day challenges and concerns within the supply chain and the impact of cargo theft.  Developing relationships with local, state, federal law enforcement agencies and cargo theft task force groups was an important factor of our beginnings. It provided us with additional education from a law enforcement perspective and allowed us to develop and build a strong network that provides us with Intel and assistance with recovery and investigations.

Additionally, John Tabor who now has ownership in 7P and is well-known in the cargo security and loss prevention arena. John’s early insight helped 7P better define client friendly solutions.

There are many influencers and we cannot name all of them, but we must acknowledge Maurizio Scrofani Vice President of Supply Chain Security and Intelligence at Grupo ALTO. A visionary, Maurizio’s experience, knowledge, and vision helped guide 7P to further develop true supply chain and risk management tools within our GPS RouteWatch platform which includes our unique EDI Google Map tracking and risk management tools.

 

ISCPO: What are the three most important elements a company must do to maintain a high standard of supply chain protection? 

Jeff: First and foremost, utilize a layered approach using a combination of technologies and train staff and transportation providers on a “need to know” basis. This is a combination of covert GPS, C-TPAT compliant seals, various routes, and other confidential security protocols.

Secondly, understand what should be expected when using real-time GPS technologies and the associated challenges. This includes understanding the capabilities of individual GPS devices and how they meet your requirements. Do you require light detection, temperature monitoring, does the battery meet your transit times? Battery is also important. Many look only at the battery versus the transit time. One must consider if there is a cargo theft will the battery last through the recovery process. Daily there are many solutions being introduced to the market and although there are some very viable solutions there are many questionable solutions.

Third, is the utilization of a robust software platform, properly backed up by supported redundancies, history, and validation.

 

ISCPO: What are the biggest challenges (1-3) to supply chain protection & security you see from a holistic industry level?    

Jeff: 1. How to implement and manage a global solution 2. How to properly manage GPS devices and training 3. Employee education and training.

 

ISPCO: Tell us a challenge you see facing many professionals in the industry today and how your product/service helps to solve this issue?  

Jeff: With the complexity and speed of the just-in-time supply chain, it is more important than ever to have complete visibility of inventory and the associated risk of goods in transit. Companies who understand the challenges of using real-time GPS devices understand what a powerful tool this technology is. Our real-time GPS devices and RouteWatch software platform are utilized around the world, incorporating all modes of transportation. Today our RouteWatch SecureFlight software has been approved by over 35 global airlines with access to over 4,300 aircraft.

Our World Cargo Association Network allows us access to cargo security services and local regulations in over 6,400 offices and 190 countries.  This network allows us to provide services around the world and local expertise in transportation and cargo security.

However real-time GPS cannot be utilized on every shipment within the supply chain and because of this, 7P provides a unique EDI supply chain visibility and risk management tool within our RouteWatch SaaS. Our EDI management tool also can combine shipments which contain GPS devices, giving the user a complete view of all inventory within the supply chain and associated risk levels.

ISCPO: Thanks Jeff for your insights.

 

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