Black Friday Supply Chain: Prices Drop, Crime Rises 

Picture of stacked containers, meant to symbolize potential Black Friday supply chain shipments.

Post-2020, the holiday shopping season is starting earlier and staying around longer. Even though day-of Black Friday deals seem a thing of the past, the increased threat of delays and theft remains. In fact, it’s the peak season for supply chain issues, which affect Black Friday shoppers and shippers alike. But with the right tools and foresight, your company can make the season brighter for your drivers and customers. 

Here’s a list of several supply chain issues to expect and prepare for during Black Friday and Cyber Monday: 

Black Friday supply chain issues (and how to prevent them) 

Product targeting 

All product categories are at risk for theft. But during the holiday season, thieves tend to target shipments of televisions, major appliances, mixed electronics, and alcoholic beverages. There will likely also be a spike in meat and seafood thefts due to the rising cost of food. This is a good rule of thumb — increased consumer demand for a product will often lead to increased risks. 

Excess inventory 

Due to the pandemic, retailers are currently dealing with a surplus of orders arriving after long delays. While they look to move this excess inventory, cargo thieves are patiently awaiting opportunities to strike their unattended trailers. Unfortunately for logistics and security teams, shipments left over the holiday weekends are especially at risk and in need of monitoring. 

Increased crime with inflation 

High inflation leads to higher crime, and the holiday weekends continue to be notorious for spikes in cargo criminal activity. The holiday season also means extended time off for employees and fewer security staff. This leaves warehouses vulnerable to criminal activity and can prolong the lead time before discovering a facility break-in. 

Overhaul recommendations for logistics and security teams 

In the last five years, theft in the US has spiked in the two weeks following Thanksgiving. Each year saw an average of 27 thefts, with the average shipment value exceeding $125,000. 

These numbers are cause for concern, and proactive measures are your best defense. Here are several tips from the Overhaul experts to help you ramp up your security measures during the holidays: 

Avoid unnecessary staging 

Staging and storing inventory in a warehouse is the most high-risk place for cargo theft. Big box retailer distribution centers are specifically targeted by cargo theft crews when volume is high and security is stretched thin. For this reason, you should get advanced confirmation of the consignee’s hours of operation and adjust appointment times as needed. 

Closely monitor your Black Friday supply chain 

The holidays are an important time to pay extra attention to your supply chains and inventory. This means ensuring that all steps along the supply chain are handled safely and that shipments aren’t left unattended. 

Over-the-road shipments should stop in well-lit, secured areas with trailer doors backed up to a solid surface. Drivers should maintain vigilance and avoid leaving their vehicles unattended for any amount of time. Warehouses and distribution centers should ensure all security systems work and are properly functioning. 

Invest in proactive security measures 

Security is key for handling the holiday’s ongoing supply chain issues, and it can best be achieved through technology. A supply chain visibility and risk management platform can help you monitor and track the safety and performance of your shipments. If you have an existing visibility solution, make sure it can capture driver details and photos of the vehicle. It should also be able to send alerts if something along the route doesn’t go according to plan. 

Plan for the worst 

The above steps will severely mitigate your risk for theft. However, it’s still important to be prepared for a worst case scenario. 

Make sure you have an escalation plan to effectively engage law enforcement when products or cargo is stolen. You’ll also want to invest in security tracking services to aid in the recovery of stolen cargo. Finally, 80% of cargo is uninsured. With all the chaos of the holidays, it’s an especially important time for cargo insurance. 

Investing in solutions like Overhaul can go a long way by offering you a 99.9% cargo protection rate. Give yourself the holiday gift of security by knowing Overhaul has you covered if the worst comes to pass. 

If you’d like to learn more about holiday cargo theft, click here. 

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