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Foil Thieves With a Smarter Way to Transport High-Value Electronics

As the pace of on-demand shipping continues to grow, electronics manufacturers must focus more and more on demand forecasting and fulfillment, just-in-time shipping, and loss prevention. Real-time insight into every shipment during its transit time is becoming critical to prevent damaged or lost products and improve on-time delivery. 

Image courtesy: Pixabay

Image courtesy: Pixabay

According to the Transported Asset Protection Association (TAPA), theft of high-value assets is a common day-to-day occurrence that poses a major problem for the electronics industry as a whole. BSI Group, a UK-based standards body, recently released its Global Supply Chain Intelligence Report that found electronics ranked third among the top five commodities stolen globally in 2017, behind food and beverages and consumer goods.

Electronics thefts are growing worldwide: Transported Asset Protection Association’s

(TAPA’s) 2016 IIS Annual Report found that electronics accounts for nearly one in six cargo thefts in the U.S. The report also found that the average electronics theft amounts to more than $370,000, making electronics the highest average loss commodity in 2016. Criminals steal products such as TVs, computers, and mobile phones because they are easy to sell and have a high value.

How do electronics manufacturers mitigate risk in their supply chain?

The supply chain of the future depends on staying connected with your shipments in real time from origin to destination, so you can adapt to physical and environmental exceptions as they arise. A “technology-in-transit” solution comprises a sensor ecosystem that can mitigate risk by:

  • Tracking location
  • Monitoring environmental conditions like heat, humidity, vibration, and impact
  • Alerting of real-time exceptions
  • Verifying drivers to eliminate unauthorized pickups
  • Notifying of a potential theft activity such as unexpected changes in a route
  • Identifying trends on carriers, routes and modal mix

Smart sensor technology presents promising opportunities for improvement across the entire supply chain. According to Deloitte , the global smart sensor market is growing 19% each year and is expected to reach $60 billion by 2022. Improvements in sensor size, performance, and energy consumption make them the ideal solution for end-to-end supply chain integrity. 

Smart sensors on containers, pallets, or even the high-value products within the pallets can provide valuable information in real-time during transit or at predetermined intervals end-to-end. With visibility into routing across all modes from manufacturer to distribution centers to final destination, supply chain operators can identify unexpected changes in physical conditions or location, or anomalies such as a change in drop-off time. Quite often, electronics theft is planned by criminal organizations; having the real-time insights into the supply chain can help to identify patterns that reveal criminal behavior.

Verifying drivers is also important as criminals often pick-up cargo using false identification. The right information either helps ensure it is the correct person or records the information, such as the driver’s photo identification and the truck/tractor/trailer details, for aid in the recovery of an unauthorized pickup. Data analysis over time offers trend insights into the best modes, carriers, and routes to secure the supply chain. 

Environmental conditions also can wreak havoc on electronics assets. Temperature, humidity, light, movement and shock can seriously damage a shipment. Cold temperatures can reduce battery effectiveness or even damage internal elements of an expensive device such as a smartphone or tablet. Extended exposure to cold can cause condensation to form within electronic devices, which can damage sensitive components and render the device useless upon arrival. 

The global marketplace places increasing demands on supply chains to be smart and responsive to changing conditions. Real-time data is essential in helping electronics manufacturers improve supply chain integrity, reduce waste and save money. In-transit technology solutions are available to track pallets, parcels and assets within pallets to provide a continuous stream of visibility into complex high-value electronics supply chains.

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