Cargo theft is a grave reality that plagues the trucking industry. It is something that has a huge impact on the economy of a country. In the US alone, about fifteen to thirty billion dollars worth of goods are stolen from trucks in transportation. If you own a trucking business, you wouldn’t like to face it at all.
According to most cargo theft statistics, electronics, apparel and food are the most-stolen cargo in modern times. If you are in-charge of transporting goods of that nature, you already know you need to be extra vigilant. The ever-widening scopes of technology is something that has come as a boon against cargo theft. However, only a handful of them are practically viable. Read on to know more about it.
RFID and QR Codes
RFID tags are something that have gained widespread popularity across the whole fleet management industry. The idea being that if you can track your cargo accurately at any point of the supply chain, identifying theft becomes easier. Along with stakeholders being able to track packages, it also allows them to know if goods have been tampered with. Special RFID tags called tamper-evident RFID tags can be used for this purpose. They feature a seal that usually covers the opening. If it has been tampered with, the seal will make it apparent and alter the signal emitted by the RFID tag.
For example, the pharmaceutical industry saves $30 billion each year by using RFID tags. This is because fake goods have been tackled effectively by this technology.
Not only the trucking company but also the wholesale supplier and retailers can track packages easily using traceable RFID tags. They are most prominent in the electronics industry.
From the origin of a product to its destination, each stop on the way can be easily known to stakeholders. This is done by just scanning the tags present in the shipment. Similarly, QR codes can be scanned by the customers or the retailers to know every last detail about the shipment. Any smartphone can be used for this purpose.
Another high-level application of RFID is to detect unusual amounts of vibration in the cargo (some examples include the usage of cutting tools or heat). Whenever such occurrences happen, an alert message is sent to the relevant parties.
However, this method is not without its drawbacks. One main issue is as to forwarding a product to the next step in the supply chain without giving out vital information about it. A stop-gap solution has been to provide as little information as possible, without affecting the tracking and theft protection features. Last, RFID and QR codes are some of the most cost-effective solutions to identify and fight theft.
Dashcam-based Fleet Tracking Solution
Another cutting edge technology that is helping minimize the impact of cargo theft is the use of dashcam for fleet tracking. Real-time tracking using such methods is a solution to a lot of problems that fleet managers face.
For example, BlackVue, originally a dashcam manufacturer, now offers a simple solution to track and protect your whole fleet of vehicles. Moreover, the installation process is very straightforward. All you need is a cloud compatible BlackVue dashcam paired to a Wi-Fi router installed in the vehicle.
The dashcams record the front and rear (or interior) of your vehicles continuously. When an event is detected (harsh braking, impact), the dashcam automatically uploads the corresponding video clip to the cloud. You can also activate geo-fencing features. Whenever your cargo goes out of range, or enters a specific area that you can set up, you get instant alerts.
One account is all you need to sleep in peace while your cargo is safe. You will be able to track hundreds of cameras and access the last 90 days’ GPS tracking data. Also, you get driving-reports that display speed, idle time, speed violations, etc. If you want a reliable and easy to set up fleet tracking solution, then this is what you should go for to protect your cargo.
Sensors embedded in the doors and other entry points of the truck help in sending alerts to the owner whenever they are opened–forcibly or not. Besides, these devices sense how long the door stays open and can send emergency alerts when an “open” event is detected in the middle of a journey. This is another fool-proof technology to combat cargo theft.
The sensors are so efficient that they detect forceful entry and even attempts to damage the device itself. They can be integrated with other types of sensors like IoT-based sensors, fingerprint sensors and pressure sensors to pose as a deterrent to cargo theft. Last, they are also very easy to install and generally won’t burn a hole in your pocket.
We cannot find a single drawback to this system and hence, we think they are a must-have for any fleet. This, along with dashcam-based fleet tracking, should be on the top of your priority list.
Regular Internal Security Audits
If you can use technology to improve your security measures, you can bet criminals will also use technology to find new ways of breaching in. They will come up with innovative ways to steal your cargo. Hence, once you adopt new technologies, you should always consider how you will keep those technologies secure in the long run.
Some thieves use cyber-security flaws to their advantage. They infiltrate your unpatched systems with malware or Trojan horses to get sensitive data from your side. To protect against such threats, consider using the services of professional IT technicians to maintain all your connected systems up to date.
Periodic supply-chain-audits are another way to make sure that you are doing enough to protect yourself from cargo theft. A good approach to go about audits is to look for loopholes and perform penetration tests on all connected devices. In other words, you need to anticipate a criminal’s moves rather than react to them.
As you might have understood by now, cargo theft is a serious issue that has the potential to damage your business’ integrity, brand image and bottom line. Therefore, it is better to be safe than sorry. Criminals always find innovative ways to steal your cargo, and to stay a few steps ahead, you need to adopt the latest technologies. To some business owners, the complexity introduced by technological advances can be daunting. However, the rewards in terms of productivity and cost savings down the road are worth the initial investment in most cases.
While caught up in the technological arms race, though, remember that common-sense techniques help too. These include training drivers adequately, instilling a culture of trust, asking them to park tail to tail, careful selection of partners and intermediates, etc. With all these, combined with adoption of the latest security technologies, you can not only minimize cargo theft occurrences but also turn security into a selling point for your business.