Basics of Supply Chain Security
Security has been an issue since supply chains began. Even the first camps and convoys had to deal with attackers and criminals. Theft, fraud, smuggling, sabotage, hijacking and piracy were all present. Today’s complex networks of storage and intermodal transport face these challenges too.
Security is part of a bigger whole. That whole is risk management. Within overall risk management, threats like earthquakes and storms may be critical issues. However, we leave mitigation against such natural disasters to business continuity planners. Here, our interest is in illegal and criminal threats. They can affect manufacturing, warehousing and transport. Security to defend these areas against deliberate hostility may have several dimensions.
- This includes fences, gates, locks, and alarms. Access controls for personnel, too.
- Examples are pre-hiring and background checks. Don’t forget termination either.
- Paperwork and tallies for shipping and receiving are part of this.
- Business partner. Goods origination, third-party security, foreign customs are examples.
- This can mean supply chain data, applications, IT systems, and IT account access.
- Security awareness. This covers security policies, threat awareness, security training, exercises.
Actors in supply chain security go beyond supply chain operators and owners. They include governments and their agencies. For instance, customs regulations may affect a supply chain that stretches between countries. Thus, enterprises do not only take the initiative to apply security. They are also driven to do by rules and regulations.
Vulnerabilities in the Supply Chain
The more complex a supply chain is, the more chance of a chink in its armour. Longer chains and more actors increase risk. Security threats can affect vulnerabilities in many parts of supply chain operations.
- Tampering and unauthorised replacement of products can make goods unsatisfactory or dangerous to customers.
- Goods in transit. Theft and tampering are also concerns when goods are being loaded into containers or vehicles, or in transit.
- Supply chain partners. Third party service providers may not have the same standards or priorities when it comes to security.
- Transport networks. Cargo diversion, hijacking and piracy are all concerns. Planes, boats, trucks and trains can all carry bombs, contraband goods or stowaways.
- Crime is driven by humans. Criminals may go to great lengths to obtain employment of one of their gang in a supply chain that they want to target.
- With IT systems driving larger parts of supply chains, IT security is a growing issue. IT systems can also be interlinked. Examples are ERP for manufacturing, CRM for sales and operations, and TMS for transport management. Rogue access to one system can lead to access to the next one, and so on.
Supply chains therefore offer bad actors two basic possibilities. On one hand, supply chains are the targets of threats such as theft, sabotage, and hijacking. On the other hand, they are also vehicles for delivering threats. Examples are tainted goods being carried to or substituted in retail outlets
Feel free to contact E-Spin to secure your supply chain management activities in term of control and execute a product’s flow, from acquiring raw materials and production for your organization.