The importance of supply chain security


Cargo theft has become an even more rampant problem over the past few years. While it has always been a topic for supply chain organizations to keep an eye on, the increasing supply chain disruptions of recent years have provided a rich environment for malicious attackers of all kinds to take advantage of weaknesses in supply chain security management. With supply chain management in clear view of the public eye, this kind of theft is no longer just in the purview of supply chain professionals,  it presents a clear brand risk for organizations. Risk has always been a part of supply chain management, but it’s now clear that companies must take their security measures to the next level or risk harming brand reputation due to a malicious attack.

Supply chain security is critical for all organizations

The most important part of any supply chain professional’s job is to ensure that their cargo makes it from one place to another, safely and on time. Movement of cargo is inherently a risky business and many malicious actors ranging from opportunistic thieves to organized crime have learned to take advantage of trucks or trains laden with expensive goods. This was especially demonstrated in the well-publicized spate of train pilferages in Los Angeles in the Winter of 2021-2022. This was not the first set of robberies in Los Angeles, as Union Pacific has stated that over 90 of their containers are compromised every day. They were further quoted as stating that larcenous activity on their trains in that area was up 200% over the previous year.  

This sort of supply chain attack is not an outlier, it’s part of a systemic increase across North America. In the first quarter of 2022 alone, cargo theft losses in both the United States and Canada have risen 73% compared to the prior year, costing $19 million dollars. In North America, these attacks are almost always on cargo in transit. However, this is a global supply chain security issue as security vulnerabilities exist everywhere.

It’s clear that something must change to help organizations mitigate the vast risk that supply chain theft is causing to their ability to deliver products to their customers, their brands, and their bottom lines. 

How supply chain security can help mitigate disruptions

The first thing that’s required to mitigate disruptions and theft is what should be the first thing on every supply chain professional’s mind: risk prevention. Ensuring that your organization has protocols for its cargo, the kinds of areas that it is shipped through, and loss retention methodologies for if it is stolen is vitally important to ensuring that the effects of theft are minimized. These procedures take careful planning, but can cut down on the level of disruption from theft considerably. One of the most important ways you can mitigate disruption is to have clear protocols for how your cargo is handled when at rest. This is the riskiest time for your cargo to be targeted and your drivers or other operators must have clear instructions on what to do when they are not actively moving your goods. 

The key to minimizing disruptions is to be as proactive as possible when planning both your supply chain routing and procedures. Avoiding areas that have carry risk, high incidences of cargo theft or are going through civil disruption is a critical way to reduce any threat to your operation. This proactivity can extend to how you handle your cargo and how you track it throughout its journey. Having eyes on where your goods are, how they’re moving and having a plan for if they’re stolen gives your organization the flexibility not only to plan better supply routes, but to protect your precious cargo.

What organizations can do to stop supply chain attacks

The most important way to protect your supply chain is to enhance your visibility over your goods in transit. Without it, your organization may just have a vulnerability that you are not prepared to account for. Risk management strategies are only as effective as the data that informs them, as well as the organization’s ability to process and interpret that information. Stronger visibility and more effective data will give your organization the control it needs to manage its supply chain, set strong operating procedures and pick routes more carefully. 

The level of visibility an organization needs to accomplish this task is more than just dots on a map, it’s a comprehensive overview of everything that’s going on in their supply chain. What is required is a consistent visibility solution that ties together the disparate data streams that many organizations rely on, giving your supply chain professionals a birds eye view and full control over the movement of your goods. 

Preventing theft isn’t just about knowing where your goods are more likely to be stolen, or cargo is likely to be lost, it’s about working with a proactive mindset and continually optimizing your routes and procedures to ensure that your goods are on their best possible path. 

Even with strong supply chain risk management measures, one of the most important constants in supply chain management is that something will go wrong. Call it Murphy’s law, or to make it more apropos – Oliver’s Law – after the coiner of the term supply chain management. If your cargo is stolen, it’s critical that your organization has a plan to recover the goods, or at least notify law enforcement quickly so that some action can be taken. In these cases, every minute matters and a delay of a few hours can mean permanently lost cargo. Rapid response to threat events like these is another facet of a strong visibility posture in any supply chain organization.

How Overhaul helps to provide security to supply chains

Overhaul provides visibility solutions to help organizations make clear, correct choices in regard to keeping their supply chain secure. Our software grants companies a unified real-time unified view to give companies the peace of mind that their assets are in the right place, at the right time. However, what Overhaul provides goes beyond just visibility, we provide your organization with the data and peace of mind to take corrective and preventive action. Our platform is built to provide truly deep layers of information that give you real-time analysis and the capability to be more proactive in your threat detection. We help organizations track granular information centered around routes, tampering alerts, truck connections, driver identification and other data which assists with security policies. 

An important feature of the Overhaul platform is our route tracking data which can help companies recognize potential threats at every stage. We assist in monitoring drivers and defining red zones where cargo thefts take place, helping you make sure that they don’t stop in those areas and put your goods at risk. This capability is combined with Overhaul’s advanced security team which researches ongoing risk events and helps organizations to reroute their trucks if there is civil unrest, war, or other pressing reasons to divert shipments to a different route. 

These features can help any organization keep a strong handle on their supply chain and reduce theft, but as Oliver’s law states, things in supply chain management can and do go wrong. Overhaul has a full theft recovery process to help ensure that your goods get back to you safely. Our security team has deep connections with 98% of the world’s law enforcement agencies and a response time of 15 minutes. We help people on the ground quickly track down your property and return it to you unharmed, no matter where in the world it is. We understand how to quickly help organizations track their cargo, whether in transit, at rest, or in the hands of malicious actors, and the stats don’t lie:

  • We boast a 96% recovery rate across our organization’s existence for FTL cargo theft.
  • Overhaul is projected to track 5.3 million shipments in 2022
  • Recent recoveries include a $3.5 million shipment for an international tech company, and a $1 million shipment for a Fortune 500 company.

Overhaul’s solution has been designed from the ground up by logistics experts who have been in your shoes before and understand the pressures and risks that modern supply chains grapple with every day. We are one of the premier vendors of supply chain security solutions and our software is designed to suit how you work, and make your day-to-day challenges easier. We believe that organizations can transform their supply chains in a manner that gives them full visibility into what’s going on, and full control at the touch of their fingertips. If you’re looking to provide more visibility and reduce potential security issues, reach out to [email protected] 


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