Saturday, March 6, 2010

RFID: Cargo Security and Product Traceability

(Video: Metro Group/Text:

Whether it’s the result of the weak economy, the increased efficiency of thieves, or better reporting, freight thefts increased dramatically in the U.S. in 2009 — and that raises concerns about the integrity and safety of the supply chain.

A report by FreightWatch showed cargo thefts in the U.S. up 12% in 2009 over 2008 — but that figure doesn’t tell the full story.

The total value of these thefts, $487 million in 2009, represents a 67% increase over 2008.

While a variety of overt and covert methods can be used to identify stolen goods after the fact, whether in black or gray market outlets or in more legitimate channels, preventing theft — or identifying it early enough to stop goods from entering a distribution channel — is more effective.
But whether it’s preventing thefts or tracking goods after the fact, RFID can be a valuable tool.

The FreightWatch report showed that an increasing number of thefts, mostly truckloads, were from supposedly secure lots. On the one hand, that’s good news because it means that hijacking, with the greater possibility of personal injury, is on the decrease in the U.S. (although it is higher in other parts of the world). On the other hand, it means that “secure lots” really aren’t all that secure -- whether because of gaps in security procedures or complicity on the part of employees or others with access to lots. Where does RFID fit in? In virtually every aspect of shipment identification.

Read more here.