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Question: What can I do to ensure my supply chain is adequately protected? Steve O’Malley, Security Team Leader, ISO TC-8 and Director, Maritime & Supply Chain Security, SAIC Somehow the goal of anti-terrorism has replaced the goal...


Question: What can I do to ensure my supply chain is adequately protected?

Steve O’Malley, Security Team Leader, ISO TC-8 and Director, Maritime & Supply Chain Security, SAIC
Somehow the goal of anti-terrorism has replaced the goal of good corporate governance in the management of supply chains. Does an act of terrorism impact the supply chain differently than a criminal act or a natural disaster? In the aftermath, the answer is “no” — in all cases, infrastructure may be damaged, people hurt and operations will need to be restored.

Theft of goods, toxic chemicals in toys, poisons in foods, e-coli in vegetables, contaminated or counterfeit pharmaceuticals and illicit items inserted into legitimate shipments — these are real and current issues. Corporate due diligence that combats these types of threats will pose a more formidable barrier to terrorists who wish to attack our supply chains than externally imposed security programs.

What can I do to protect my supply chain? First accept that it is yours, not your suppliers’, 3PL’s or carriers’. You can outsource these functions, but liability ultimately remains yours. Second, maintain quality control over what enters your supply chain. Be able to track the shipment; if it is delayed or rerouted, have a mechanism to investigate. Maintain the ability to isolate the shipment should issues arise. Companies that apply proper corporate governance will find meeting the requirements of externally imposed security programs routine.

Francis D’Addario, Emeritus Faculty of Protection Innovation, Security Executive Council and former CSO, Starbucks
Supply chain risks can be the showstopper for any enterprise when left unmitigated. Consumer and stakeholder confidence depend on our ability to ethically provide quality products on time. Brand reputation is earned from delivering on that promise.

Stakeholders expect “all hazards” risk mitigation, from raw materials through shipment to manufacturing and distribution destinations. That means mapping the risk geography and mitigation authentication for assets including facilities, personnel and trusted agent services, and quality control processes.

A people, process and technology methodology enables us to determine that all hazards are understood and may be prioritized for mitigation. That was Starbucks Coffee’s risk-based approach to its Guatemalan supply chain. An early adopter of C-TPAT and ISO supply chain guidelines, Starbucks also participated in Operation Safe Commerce, GE CommerceGuard and Sealock pilots. The results offered proof of an ROI-capable supply chain protection plan.

We cannot subrogate consumer or stakeholder expectations for supply chain protection. We must continually monitor risk conditions and key mitigation processes. We must have the leadership courage to champion supply chain protection, particularly in uncertain economic times when cost savings at any price potentially endanger protection programming.

Daniel Collins, Solution Sales Leader, Customs, Ports and Border Management, IBM Public Sector, Americas
In tough times, investing in your supply chains seems like a common-sense decision. The double whammy of a difficult economy and faulty implementation of your supply chain security isn’t survivable. Undoubtedly, some will make the wrong decisions and pay for it in civil lawsuits or complete loss of the business.

The temptation is to rely on your partners in the chain to do their jobs. But when all actors in your supply chain are faced with the same economic pressures, can you rely on them not to make the wrong decisions? A consistent understanding, commitment and follow-through to a standard and agreements for supply chain security is one of the keys to your company’s good reputation and success.

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