Throughout my years collaborating with supply chain operators and logistics businesses across the world and especially in Asia, the issue of security has always been among the most important aspects of supply chain management.
With the global supply chain being a dynamic, constantly growing environment, it is vulnerable to many security threats and risks like natural disasters, accidents, theft, smuggling and malicious attacks. These threats which also include terrorism, piracy and cybertheft, can result in massive losses in terms of reputation and money, and ultimately even bring down your business.
Supply chain security refers to efforts to mitigate these risks and to safeguard the business cargo throughout the transportation and logistics process. Security in supply chain is imperative to improving business and should be part of a company's strategy.
There are many aspects and approaches to tackle security, including protocols, regulations, employee training, physical security measures, carrier vetting, warehouse surveillance and secured facilities. However, in this article, I will be focusing on the following three key factors which I believe businesses must pay substantial attention to in order to successfully apply supply chain security to your business.
Commitment by the executive and senior management team is an important component for the successful implementation of any supply chain security policies for an organization. Without this, the vision needed for the success of supply chain cannot emerge and successful implementation is almost impossible.
Only with the support from the top can resources and funds be allocated, measures and protocols be established, as well as the relevant rewards be put in place to make security an organization-wide priority.
Business owners must be committed over the long term to support the related teams by having written and detailed policies in place, use of appropriate checks and balances, and measure performance of the entire security process to keep it relevant and effective.
The more complex a supply chain is, the higher chance for breaches and intrusion. As security is enhanced in one part of a supply chain, it may adversely affect other parts. For example, if you have elevated your warehousing security, this means the potential threats would now shift to goods in transit and at delivery stage.
It is critical to have in place a security architecture and a stringent employee awareness policy. Both must be respected and abided by at all levels of the organization.
There are existing international standards that depict different methods to manage supply chain security. They include ISO/PAS 28000:2007, the Customs Trade Partnership against Terrorism, the Approved Economic Operator (AEO) program and World Customs Organization (WCO) Safe Framework Standards.
As a company, DKSH abides by TAPA Certification. The TAPA (Transported Asset Protection Association) Certification is internationally recognized and is widely considered one of the most stringent and independent logistics and supply chain security certifications. As a non-profit organization, TAPA unites global manufacturers, logistics providers, law enforcement agencies and other stakeholders with the common aim of reducing cargo losses from supply chains through the development and application of global security.
A company which receives a certification from TAPA demonstrates its commitment to security by ensuring the safety of the transport and storage of valuable cargo through the supply chain.
As advancement of digitization and technology adoption in business processes take place, businesses need to ensure security parameters involving customs requirements, legislation and operational protocols across the supply chain are ready to address potential threats across different markets and political environments.
Keeping inventory safe and supply chain processes secure is a top priority for manufacturers, suppliers and customers alike. As mitigating the potential risks is an ongoing effort that requires both commitment and expertise, an option to consider is to work with an experienced business partner who is aware of the evolving threat environment and has reliable security procedures and policies in place. A professional supply chain management provider can offer you both practical cost-effective solutions as well as most importantly, peace of mind.
Do reach out to me for your thoughts on how best to approach supply chain security for your business.
Dan Culverhouse is currently Head of Supply Chain at DKSH. Dan has more than 25 years’ experience in Supply Chain Management including over 16 years working in international markets. Read more here.