Loss is a big problem in the retail world. The production and shipping process provide endless cracks for merchandise to simply slip through. An effective plan for retail loss prevention must take into account both threats from within and threats from the outside. Retailers not only have to worry about theft that occurs in actual retail locations but also have to be aware of the threats that lurk during the shipping process.
Cargo theft is a growing problem that retailers must get serious about. Losses from cargo theft add up to close to $37 billion per year in the United States. The average value of each stolen container is over $200,000. Food, beverages, electronics, prescription drugs and apparel are all high on the list of commonly stolen goods. Cargo theft is becoming an increasing problem in busy hubs like Texas, California and New Jersey.
Why the Human Element Isn’t Enough
Cargo thieves are often two steps ahead of security guards and the very people assigned to protect cargo. Thieves know how to patiently wait and observe for signs of vulnerability. This often includes observing the habits of guards and transporters. A split-second window of opportunity can give them what they need to obtain the goods they’re after. In addition, many cargo thieves are able to obtain insider information by paying off workers somewhere in the chain of command. Details like where a particular load is headed or the designated stops that will be made along the way are often for sale. All of this paints a bleak picture when it comes to keeping cargo safe. However, radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology is giving retailers a new way to fight back against the tactics of thieves in order to keep their merchandise safe.
How RFID Technology Shields Retailers Against Cargo Theft
Cargo thieves are sophisticated. Thieves around the world orchestrate intricate, carefully planned ways to siphon merchandise from planes, trains, ships and trucks. Retailers are particularly vulnerable during busy seasons of the year and holidays. However, RFID technology is slightly more sophisticated. RFID allows retailers to identify and track merchandise that has been fitted with RFID tags using radio frequencies. These frequencies transfer unique data that makes every piece of merchandise traceable. In addition to preventing loss, this technology can help to increase accuracy, efficiency and transparency throughout a company’s supply chain. It protects against both nefarious actions and human error.
Is RFID Technology Realistic for All Retailers?
Many smaller retailers don’t feel that they have a way to guard against surges in cargo theft because they have limited financial resources. The truth is that having a smart, technology-based strategy can help retailers to shield their cargo without a large financial investment. The payoff is quite worth the upfront costs of investing in some anti-theft technology if cargo can be protected. Working with a company that can provide the technology and support needed to implement and manage RFID tracking allows enterprises of all sizes to have the same security advantages as global corporations.