Before a driver leaves your facility your cargo, you need to collect and record important information, which must be kept in an easily accessible place (for example, on a corporate intranet or a shared network drive) in the event the load is stolen en route to the intended destination. Some of that documentation should also be given to the driver with explicit instructions to keep it on his or her person at all times.
The first information that needs to be collected concerns the driver. A photograph of every driver should be taken, as well as a scan of the driver's license. From the license, your staff should record the driver's name, date of birth, address, license number and license expiration date. Gate employees should also record each driver's company name, dispatcher number (if applicable) and personal mobile phone number. Drivers should receive a photocopy of their driver's license and a printout of all other records in the event that they are forced to exit the truck without their wallet.
Information about the tractor and trailer also needs to be collected. You should photograph the tractor and trailer from the side and rear. Vehicle identification numbers, license plate numbers, year/make/model and a written description must be recorded. Again, a printout of this information should be given to the driver along with instructions in the event of a cargo theft incident.
By arming your carrier and your company with essential information about the driver, tractor and trailer, you significantly increase your chances of recovering cargo if it is stolen. Typically, when a trailer full of cargo is stolen from a truck stop, law enforcement officials need more details than they receive. There are thousands of "white trailers with writing on the side" operating daily on the interstates. Conversely, by immediately providing police with actual license plate numbers and full vehicle descriptions, they know exactly what to look for.
Finally, after a shipment has left the facility, work still needs to be done. You must catalog and store all records and photos about the driver and vehicle. Access to this folder must be quick and convenient in the event of a theft.
Your company also needs to have guidelines about how to react in the event of a cargo theft. If the on-call supply chain person receives a call from a driver at 11:30 p.m., that staffer should know exactly who to contact, how to transmit relevant data and how to initiate the recovery process (if applicable).
You can mitigate cargo theft risk using a few basic preventive measures: carrier selection, driver education, physical security and information recording. With careful planning and diligent management, your shipments will remain secure even during a busy retail season.
About the Author: Salvatore Marino is the director of business development for CargoNet. In this role, he fosters and manages strategic relationships with a focus in the supply chain arena. CargoNet is part of ISO Crime Analytics, a division of ISO that helps insurers and policyholders predict, plan for and respond to property crime. More information on CargoNet at www.cargonet.com.