Supply chain security refers to measures taken to improve the overall security of the distribution chain or value stream, the logistics and transportation system for the global supply of goods. It is often combined with other forms of risk control, including quality control, environmental, safety, and fraud prevention. In essence, it combines the old practices of logistics management with those of security, including measures to protect the flow of goods and resources.
Security in supply chains involves ensuring that the goods being shipped are delivered, as per schedule, to their intended destinations. This requires that all parties involved – the shipper, the carrier, the terminal, and the receivers and exporters – have a high level of confidence in the integrity of all aspects of the supply process. In addition, the chain must have a way of informing everyone involved about any anomalies or problems that may affect the shipment or its delivery to a desired destination.
Security is an ongoing process in the supply chain, as the risks of loss or damage increase over time. As well, it is necessary to maintain a high level of consistency and reliability in the operation of the logistics network. For example, it is essential for all parties involved to understand the relationship between quality control and safety. This applies to both shipping companies and to the carriers transporting the goods.
In addition to a high level of consistency, security should also involve a number of other measures. One of the most important aspects of the overall process is a methodical approach to the identification and reporting of problems or anomalies. This methodical approach can include checking the documentation or conducting the necessary investigations. Another important aspect is the timely detection and response to potential problems.
There are various approaches to managing the overall supply chain. Many involve the use of physical barriers to reduce the risk associated with goods moving through various areas of the system. Other measures involve the use of automation to reduce the need for human interaction and monitoring.
While these methods of security may be relatively simple, in many cases they can be very complex. If your company has a large number of shipments to handle or if the business you operate requires a large number of employees, you may want to consider the addition of other systems of security, including biometric scanning and RFID.