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Companies often overestimate the effectiveness of their supply chain security programs, which leads to complacency and, often, to a security breach, says Barry Brandman, president of Danbee Investigations.
"One of the most common mistakes is for companies to have a higher opinion of their supply chain safeguards than is true in actual reality," he says.
As a best practice, companies should re-assess their security to determine what aspects are superficial and where there is meaningful protection. "It is important to go beneath the surface and to test systems to see if they can counteract the type of threats we are seeing today," he says. These include inventory theft from DCs, cargo theft in transit, sabotage, product tampering and the placement of unmanifested materials or weapons inside conveyances bound for this country or moving domestically, Brandman says.
Once an assessment is made, companies need to strengthen areas of weakness. "This is not a one-time process," says Brandman. "Supply chain risks change over time. Security programs should be re-assessed every three to four years." In addition, it is extremely important for companies to audit their programs, he says. "As President Reagan said, 'trust but verify,'" says Brandman. "It is only by identifying areas of weakness or non-compliance that a company can effectively remedy those problems or eliminate weaknesses that could be exploited by someone inside or outside the company."
Sometimes undercover work may be the best way to get to the bottom of security issues, he says. "Undercover information can shed tremendous intelligence on individual theft, collusion and fraud, and can uncover problems like workplace substance abuse, poor supervision, neglect or non-adherence to company policies and procedures," says Brandman. "These are issues that can negatively impact the bottom line and expose a company to significant loss, which is why undercover continues to be frequently used." Brandman says there are cases in which his clients have kept undercover workers on staff for 20 years or more, with only a few top executives ever being aware they were not a regular employee.
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