One of the drawbacks of security sealing is the cut-off point; a trailer having been unloaded at a retail store and sealed in readiness for the next leg of the journey, what to do if something had been forgotten? This situation could not be retrieved without giving the security manager a conundrum: should the single use seal be broken and the journey to the next store or back to the DC be made unsecured? Alternatively, should store managers be provided with multiple seals to allow for issues such as forgetting something that needed to be in that trailer? Handing over multiple plastic seals, in most seasoned security managers’ minds, means a loss of security control.
On a recent visit to Halfords DC in Coventry, Wincanton’s National Transport Manager, Adrian Bridges, explained that it was such a dilemma that brought them to the decision to purchase a reusable security seal. Deliveries to and from retail stores require a level of flexibility. There is often that moment after the seal is made when someone remembers an important return that needs to be on the vehicle that a customer might be waiting for at another store. The reusable seal allows the seal to be broken, the previously forgotten item loaded and the seal remade with a new seal number under complete control, allowing sign-off by both the store management and driver without compromising Halfords’s robust security system.
The choice made by Halfords was to fit Unisto C2K reusable electronic seals to their extensive fleet of trailers, giving them the convenience of a sealing solution that avoids the management of thousands of plastic security seals through their system and the related waste material when the single use seals are removed. With a lit LED four digit display, the C2K Seals are easy to read in challenging light conditions leading to fewer misreads and transposing of figures particularly at peak season, the lead-up to the festive period when the hours of darkness exceed those of daylight, cutting down the number of investigations their security team needs to make.
Adrian remarked that their choice of C2K has been a great success, enhancing Halfords responsiveness and flexibility in their distribution process.
Whilst securing vehicles in transit is vital, the contents of the vehicle also need to be managed and controlled whilst in storage and at the point of dispatch and arrival, focus point of vulnerability. The use of mobile containers such as tote boxes, roll cages and pallets provide the opportunity of security control beyond road transport and enable tracking and tracing of goods using security seals with radio frequency tagging or the more traditional bar code. Bar code reading continues to remain very popular as it entails inspecting both the seal and container to which it is attached, whereas RFID avoids personal interaction with the individual container which can mean that the RFID tag is present but without the goods that it was supposed to secure!
In future, reusable packaging will communicate its status wirelessly at distribution nodes, interacting with personnel data to sense and confirm that containers have remained closed whilst in transit, communicating route, vehicle/driver and loading bay and download data centrally to provide the ultimate in management by exception. At Unisto we are convinced this will become the future of distribution security.
Technology companies such as Get Me Connected are working together with Unisto to secure their distribution of high tech equipment for Wi-Fi at events. Allowing valuable equipment to be sealed in a robust, protective tech-case and scanned in and out whilst using standard parcel carriers or courier companies to move the equipment, ensures far greater flexibility to be able to provide their service for events the length and breadth of this country and beyond. Unisto supply an integrated, complete kit solution of both seals and secure totes that ensures a workable end-to-end solution from the start.
New technology, whether it is high resolution CCTV capable of scanning the QR or bar code of both in and outbound seal numbers at the gatehouse, RFID or NFC is transforming the way things are done worldwide. Unisto is working together with end users and enabling technology companies to make automatic secure and controlled security seal reading a reality and in doing so removing both human effort and human error from supply chain security.
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