The supply-chain network is behind the scenes, but it’s an integral part of the retail environment. A complicated labyrinth of roads, rails, shipping yards, and distribution centers all fuel the success of a retail operation. But supply-chain security problems—from organized theft operations to data breaches—can and do happen anywhere along the network.
The ongoing presence of such sophisticated criminal elements means that loss prevention’s role in developing and managing security strategies along the supply chain will only continue to grow. But how can you address supply-chain security problems without fully understanding the nature of the beast? Jac Brittain, LPC, editorial director, examines the topic carefully in a feature article for the latest issue of LPM Online. From the article:
Organized cargo‑theft incidents can occur at any point along the supply chain, whether at the point of manufacture, on loading docks, rail stations, distribution centers, or anywhere else merchandise is transported. Looking at the methods by which cargo‑theft incidents can occur, the direct theft of goods accounts for the overwhelming majority of incidents year over year. Thefts can range from small, subtle quantities that are part of larger shipments to aggressive hijackings involving entire truckloads of merchandise.
Some common ways that cargo theft occurs could include, but are not limited to:
- Leakage Operations. Leakage is a term that refers to the pilferage of parts of a shipment rather than the entire shipment. Typically carried out in such a way that it is very difficult to detect, this type of theft operation can also be quite elaborate. Leakage may involve the theft of entire cartons or removing desired product from within a carton and resealing the packaging to attempt to conceal the theft. This may involve tampering with trailer/carton seals and/or locks in order to conceal trailer break‑ins or directly with the container or trailer to commit these thefts.
- Fictitious Pickups. Cargo‑theft groups will have individuals present themselves as legitimate drivers and boldly enter container terminals and/or shipping facilities with counterfeit paperwork in order to gain access to and make off with valuable loads.
- Hijackings. Most hijacking incidents occur while a driver is away from the truck (such as at dinner or on a break) and the truck is idling or parked, with thieves simply breaking into the vehicle and driving off with the goods. In other instances, hijackers will conduct surveillances on a target vehicle and forcibly enter the cab while the driver is in the vehicle and when the vehicle comes to a stop. Freeway on‑ and off‑ramps, rest stops, and other common stopping points are particularly dangerous.
Read the full article to learn more about other cargo-theft methods, including coerced stops, terminal robberies, and more. Brittain also explores how ORC groups apply basic business concepts when strategizing theft operations and makes for best practices to address the direst supply-chain security problems in “The Evolving Sophistication of Cargo Theft.”
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