Blog Post: Supply Chain Management Nightmare
Whenever I mention that my college major is Global Supply Chain Management, I find myself always having to explain what it is and its role in the world of commerce. I try to sound prideful when I tell them that it “is the art of providing the right product, at the right time, right place, and for the right cost to the customer”. Usually, there is a brief silence followed up with “that sounds boring but probably pays well”. Before I found this article, I would have agreed. The article I have chosen to write about is “The Cargo Theft Threat” by author Jared S. Palmer http://www.inboundlogistics.com/cms/article/the-cargo-theft-threat/.
In the article, the author talks about how cargo is strategically stolen by violent gangs, crime syndicates, and possibly terrorist groups. The author also discusses how the thieves find out about loads, where are they targeted, and how to transport them internationally. These operations are very complexed and well organized. They even produce false government documents like a Bill of Laden to get through customs. Majority of readers may not realize how increasingly serious this issue has become internationally. $30 billion in cargo is stolen annually in the United States alone (Palmer). Just imagine how this effects our economy. As a consumer, we may pay a little extra for a certain product due to the retailer having to recoup money spent to have a replacement shipment sent by a second trucking company. Then there is a ripple affect where the retailer loses the customer, the trucking company loses the retailer’s business, and the insurance company charges the trucking company a higher premium because they are now considered high risk. Looking back at the original “Fast N Furious” film, some would probably agree that most fans were rooting for the wrong team. Where is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson when you need him? It is not likely that he would show up and save the day in the very much overexaggerated but entertaining way that he does. However, we do rely on the National Cargo Theft Task Force (NCTIF). The NCTIF is a combination of various organizations such as trucking companies, insurance providers, and law enforcement that work together to find solutions to this growing problem (Palmer). For more information about the NCTTF, go to www.nationalcargothefttaskforce.org.
A list of proposed actions that could be used to prevent theft, is also given in the article. For example, providing additional screening and training would help employees recognize internal threats as well as external. Applying additional locks and GPS will discourage some thieves from making attempts. Most importantly, the author states that companies need to report incident. Some companies do not report thefts because they prefer to avoid the negative perception that may come with it. Waiting to respond increases the chance that goods are not recovered.
The cargo theft epidemic has been a problem for many years. The number of cargo thefts will continue to grow so long as the worldwide economic crisis continues to grow. Demand and increased prices determine what cargo thieves target. As more companies become more pro-active and report more thefts, the NCTTF will be able to keep record of the incident and the cost. This info is given to the government who decides to give more funding and create stricter laws. Until then, cargo theft will continue to be a Global Supply Chain Management nightmare.