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Missing a Load?

A truck with a trailer full of avocados from the southern US was expected to arrive in Brampton, Ontario on Saturday. When the trailer did not arrive on time, the receiving party started calling the supply chain partner to find out where the trailer had gone missing. This disrupted the delivery to one of the largest grocery chains, leading to unhappy customers.

Cargo loads go missing on a regular basis, specifically in the corridor between Windsor and Montreal. The missing goods are usually high value, easy to sell electronics, pharmaceuticals, and clothing but in the last decade, we have seen it change to include vegetables, fruit and baby formula to name a few. There seems to be a buyer for every type of product.

The MO varies widely from breaking into a parked trailer to taking a trailer or even the truck and trailer completely. Smashing through a fence of a trailer yard and using a cab to hook up the trailer is a common occurrence. Most often the criminals know what trailer to take as they have acquired inside information.

Another way of getting the wanted product is stealing the cab and trailer when left unattended by the driver. Many trucks are left idling when the driver gets out at a truck stop. The thieves quickly drive to a predetermined location to hook the trailer to another cab and then drive off to a warehouse or a dealer that will buy the stolen goods.

The consequences are serious as thefts can result in a financial and reputational loss. Also disrupting the supply chain may lead to empty shelves. Since a company’s reputation is on the line, there is a high rate of unreported thefts.

Several steps can be taken by the trucking, insurance, and logistic industry to help prevent these types of crimes.

  1. Review of the supply chain security

To secure cargo, supply chain partners should employ a multi-layered approach that incorporates the latest technology and fine-tuned basic practices, such as extensive staff training

  1. Do a site risk assessment

One of the most obvious steps for a company to take is to have a site risk assessment done. Even if the security situation is being assessed by an in-house security professional, a second pair of eyes always seems to lead to increased insight. The findings presented in a report can then be used to improve the security situation to reduce cargo crime.

A proper assessment includes a physical inspection, review of procedures and interviews with management and front line staff. The findings will then be discussed with management and recommendations will be formulated. In most cases, the recommendations consist of physical security enhancements (access control or CCTV), development or update of procedures and training of staff. Making front line staff aware of the risks and teaching them how to act in various circumstances will have a positive effect. Not only will it help reduce theft, but it will also boost morale.

Posted in: Protective Services and Investigations

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Counterfeiting is a Big Business and Was Estimated to Hit Over $1.7 Trillion Dollars Globally in 2015

counterfeit-goodsOne of the commenters on my recent blog about cargo theft suggested that I address the global concern of counterfeit products. Everyone knows that making fake products and then selling them to consumers is illegal. However, I wonder how many people realize just how big the problem is if they willingly or unwillingly purchase goods and how much incentive they give to counterfeiters worldwide. Who and what is the money supporting when purchasing these illegal products? The reality is, if consumers buy it – it will never go away. It is important to point out that there are “two types of counterfeit product purchases by consumers”, according to Dr. Haider Ali’s article titled, Why People Buy Counterfeit Brands. Deceptive counterfeiting takes place where the consumer does not know that they have purchased a counterfeit product. It is surprising how authentic some counterfeit products look. In contrast, “non-deceptive purchases of counterfeit products take place where the consumer willingly buys the counterfeit products.” First and foremost, with respect to ‘deceptive’ counterfeiting, consumers should do some due diligence and check the authentic websites to determine who in fact is an authorized reseller. It can be difficult to tell the difference and it is surprising how even some stores themselves look authentic.

On the other hand, ‘non-deceptive purchases’ of counterfeit is where the suppliers may need to “consider why the demand exists”. This is where items are sold in the backs of cars, alleyways, flea markets and basically anywhere counterfeit is bought and sold – the black market. Although there has been a significant amount of research into why and who would buy counterfeit brands. There are surprisingly many reasons on the attractiveness of buying counterfeit.

According to a 2014 report released by the US Department of Homeland Security, “US Customs seized more than 1.2 billion US dollars worth…where more than 60 percent of the goods were from China”. This includes not only clothing, shoes and luxury items but also auto parts and medical supplies.

Luxury retailers do invest a lot of time to crack down counterfeiters. For example, CTV news released a story of a 45-year-old Chinese woman that was being sued for counterfeiting by eight luxury brands.

  • Legal troubles began in 2008 when Chanel sued her for $6.9 million in damages for selling counterfeits online. She still hasn’t paid the damages, according to Chanel spokeswoman Kathrin Schurrer.
  • In 2009, a Florida judge ruled against Xu Ting and shut down seven websites she was accused of helping run that sold fake Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, and Celine. She did not show up in court.
  • In 2010, Gucci, Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta and Yves Saint Laurent — all brands belonging to France’s Kering group — filed a lawsuit in New York federal court against Xu Ting, her future husband, younger brother, and mother along with six others who the companies said sold more than $2 million worth of fake handbags and wallets online to U.S. customers.

Mark Cohen, former intellectual property attache at the U.S. embassy in Beijing explains, “At the end of the day, there may be an economic calculation about how much money it’s worth to pursue these people” for any business. These counterfeiters do not and will not stop if consumers purchase. We as consumers need to also understand who we are supporting when purchasing counterfeit. Designers brands and businesses have worked very hard to give consumers an opportunity to purchase beautiful and creative pieces with a level of quality that is second to none.

Posted in: Protective Services and Investigations

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