January 2017

janvier_2017

Supply chain security: the importance of the equipment

Thanks to numerous advances made in the organization of the production chain, the efficient management of a company’s flows of goods and information – also known as logistics – has helped greatly improve customer satisfaction.

In particular, one of the key aspects of this success is the proper functioning of logistics security. With increasingly promising technology, the customer is tolerating delays, mistakes, breakdowns, or equipment failure on the part of the supplier less and less. It’s therefore important that this equipment guarantees both the security of the supply chain and that of the personnel involved in this crucial step.

More specifically, we can identify three places where it’s crucial that the equipment ensures optimal security along the supply chain without any problems: transportation, lifting, and the personnel involved in these operations.

Protecting the transported goods

One of the first levels of protection concerns the transported goods. Their security must meet certain systematic protocols that will help keep real control over their journey.

Securing the goods therefore involves several levels of control along the supply chain:

  1. Knowledge of all participants in the chain
  2. Inspection and validation of the transported goods
  3. Advance notice to the destination to inform them of the contents of the transported goods
  4. Securing the goods during transport using appropriate locking systems and seals
  5. Inspection of the cargo upon arrival

The personnel in charge of supply chain security should be able to rely on high-quality equipment. For example, the seals should be easily recognizable, readable, and in good condition. Within the context of international transport, they may need to be identifiable by customs services.

Protecting the lifting points and warehouses

Security must be present everywhere and necessarily at the trans-shipment points. Especially during handling operations, containers, boxes, and pallets are the most vulnerable (not to mention the workers). We should therefore consider using equipment such as (but not only):

  • Overload protection systems for forklifts
  • A logbook for the forklift with inspection lists
  • Tilt level indicator and fork height indicator
  • Lifting tower for high-density rack structures and tight spaces
  • Visual barriers around fixed gear

Protecting the employees

The employees should also be easily identifiable (badges, etc.) and of course protected from any incidents.

Traditional protective equipment includes:

  • helmet
  • worksite uniform and fluorescent vest
  • goggles
  • gloves
  • reinforced shoes
  • mobile lighting systems
  • signage

While the equipment on this list hasn’t changed much over the years, its quality has greatly improved. Some of it, such as signage and lighting solutions, is even based on proven military technology and is suitable in all conditions.

There are also new types of equipment that guarantee optimal security in places where machines and personnel cross paths. Among these, we find:

  • systems that prevent collisions between pedestrians and motorized equipment (electric pallet trucks, forklifts, etc.)
  • remote detection of pedestrian badges or fixed badges located nearby

What you should keep in mind

We see that, at all levels of logistics security, the impeccable quality of the equipment is essential. The protection and traceability of the transportable goods is at the heart of a much wider system. Whether it’s on a worksite, in a warehouse, or during the shipment of goods and merchandise, logistics security cannot be a weak link in the overall supply chain (a concept also often referred to as supply chain management, or SCM).