Over the last few months, our Intelligence Perspective series has covered everything from red flags at pickup to the role of law enforcement in cargo recovery. This week, we celebrated our last episode with a discussion about the importance of supply chain networks.
Fittingly, Danny Ramon joined from the TAPA T1 National Cargo Theft Conference where he was putting his networking skills to use. Here’s a summary of what he had to say about public sector contacts, relationship-building, supply chain events, and more:
Why is Building a Network in Your Supply Chain So Important?
In the past, Ramon didn’t understand the importance of networking with other supply chain professionals. After an event ended, the introverted Intelligence and Response Manager would simply head back to his room and call it a day. Now, Ramon takes full advantage of these networking opportunities in order to connect with new contacts.
“You couldn’t ask for a better group of folks to step outside of your comfort zone with,” he said. “Virtually everyone who comes to these events is here to help stop cargo theft, not just in their own supply chain, but overall. We all consider it a communal victory when a load is recovered or a bad guy is arrested. We all celebrate these events.”
He also stressed how public sector supply chain security contacts can make all the difference during cargo theft incidents.
“You can’t just call 911 if you get a call from your driver about your equipment being stolen,” he said. “And if you’re calling 911, you’ve already lost. Police dispatch will put your property crime at the bottom of the list of crimes going on. (Also), not all law enforcement are well versed in cargo theft, especially if there isn’t a cargo theft task force in their particular area.”
Helping law enforcement understand the problem of cargo theft is going to help everyone in the supply chain. But that education can only happen via communication and networking.
When Should You Build Your Supply Chain Network?
Designing a supply chain network shouldn’t be an arduous undertaking, but it also can’t be an afterthought. It’s important to set up your network early so that you’re not scrambling at 3 a.m. to find support. Supply chain professionals should also maintain contact with law enforcement before, during, and after an event. While a recovery can be exciting, private sector support tends to evaporate once that recovery succeeds.
“After a recovery, steps still need to be completed,” said Ramon, “such as prosecution and hopefully jailing of these criminals who were stealing cargo. When law enforcement loses support after the recovery and are unable to complete the prosecution of a known cargo thief, that can be very, very frustrating… (You) want this to be a long-standing and mutually beneficial relationship.”
Who Should be in Your Network?
An effective supply chain network should be varied and include both private and public sector contacts. In the latter case, the first person you should get in touch with should be the precinct manager of your local police department.
“Call them up, let them know you want to be a supporter of local law enforcement,” said Ramon. “They can coordinate communication with anyone else you should be in contact with. This will include local area patrol officers and (detectives) who handle these types of cases. Of course, if there’s a cargo theft task force in your area, you’re going to want to get to know them, too.”
Many of these cargo theft task forces have merged with auto theft task forces, and there’s quite a bit of overlap between what they deal with. So, if a cargo theft task force isn’t in your area, it’s good to network with an auto theft task force instead.
How do You Contact People and Build Your Network?
Supply Chain Networking Events
As previously said, one of the best ways to connect with other supply chain and logistics professionals is by attending supply chain events, including supply chain conferences. Not only will these contacts be valuable in the future, but the events themselves are useful for learning more about supply chain management and how to build an optimized supply chain.
“Last month, JJ Coughlin with the Southwestern Transportation Security Council put on his annual cargo theft summit,” said Ramon. “It’s always a fantastic event (with) the opportunity to make connections with a lot of people in the industry… There’s another one coming up in September in Miami Dade. The police department is going to be hosting a highly educational seminar… Attending industry events is one of the best ways to one-stop-shop set up your supply chain network.”
You can also attend local law enforcement community engagement events and ask to help as a sponsor or host location. Be as much help as you can, because they’re going to remember that, and that’s how you build relationships. On that note, it’s important that you stay engaged, which means offering to help with any logistics or supply chain cases they might have, not just those that affect you directly.
“Be a good knowledge contact,” advised Ramon. “Maybe they need to know the difference between a broker and carrier (or) what a fraudulent scheme by double brokering looks like… A lot of these are very specialized knowledge pools that we have because of the industry we work in. Without a cargo theft task force in place, (they) might not know exactly what’s going on.”
Become a Local Security Leader
Another way to build your network is by becoming a local security leader. If you’re in an industrial area, chances are there are other warehouses and distribution centers around. It’s important to find out who else is shipping high-value products so that you can start a conversation.
“Information sharing is one of the best tools we have in this industry to stay ahead of criminals,” said Ramon. “If we can share information about what we’re seeing out there and best practices, that’s fantastic. Of course, invite local law enforcement to these monthly meetings as well. They’re interested in the information you have to share, and they’re going to have valuable information to share with you as well.”
Final Thoughts on Supply Chain Networking
Supply chain networking is about communication, cooperation, and mutual support. It’s important to establish long-term relationships that can help make the industry safer, more effective, and more resilient. Working together doesn’t just benefit individuals, but also supply chain operations as a whole.
If you’d like to network with Overhaul, reach out to us today.