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163 Ways to Supercharge Your Supply Chain (end)
Security breaches in the United States cost industry tens of billions of dollars each year. If you manufacture, distribute, or ship high-value items, your company's security could be at risk. Follow these tips to secure your facilities and cargo.
140. Put in place physical access and employee/visitor control. Ensure employees always wear photo ID badges, and that visitors display clearly visible badges that document their identity, date and time of visit, and the person they are seeing. Always escort visitors, and never compromise controlled access to sensitive areas.
141. Make pre-employment verification a priority. Thoroughly interview and screen potential employees. In addition to asking applicants to submit a resume, employment history, and references, have them sign a release form authorizing your company to perform a background check.
142. Protect against malicious behavior by former employees. If an individual is terminated, ensure that all company property, identification badges, passwords, and other documents are returned, then escort the individual from company premises.
143. Stay up-to-date on security regulations. The global supply chain is at risk from terrorists who will exploit any weakness. Make sure you understand and conform to known World Customs Organization/U.S. Customs and Border Protection regulations.
144. Protect your facility with proper security fences. Install perimeter fencing around container and truck yards, and inspect the fencing regularly. Guard security gates continually, and closely monitor access to terminal locations.
145. Keep an eye out. Install external lighting, specifically in terminal areas that see little activity or traffic. In many cases, it makes sense to install video surveillance.
146. Increase security awareness among employees. Workers can minimize the potential for cargo theft by knowing how to respond to unexpected situations involving intruder entries and terminal incidents. Provide annual training, at a minimum. Better yet are quarterly training sessions on topics such as customs and law enforcement; how to identify and report suspicious activities; recognizing internal collusion; and the promotion and maintenance of sound security procedures within the supply chain.
147. Protect your IT/data center. IT personnel are especially vulnerable to security breaches, so access should be limited to authorized personnel. The IT center should be set apart from other operations, and have a separate source of non-interruptible power, as well as a firewall device to restrict users to pre-determined content. Password-protect desktop access, and maintain a fully secured data structure with appropriate backups at regular intervals.
148. Test your security program. Testing can be done at little or no expense. You can, for example, park an unmarked vehicle in an area that is off-limits to through-traffic, plant a person with a visitor's badge in a sensitive area of your facility, or deliberately change some aspect of a container's identification, such as its bill of lading, container ID, or seal sequence number. Then monitor, observe, and critique how employees and gate personnel react to these scenarios.
149. Apply for C-TPAT certification. What better way for your company to identify its true strengths and vulnerabilities than through a thorough self-assessment? Any company that qualifies for C-TPAT status should immediately contact U.S. Customs and Border Protection to obtain an application. C-TPAT eligibility requires a vulnerability assessment conducted via a customs-supplied questionnaire. This initiative alone should expose most security weaknesses within a company's supply chain.
150. Conduct random container/trailer inspections to help identify irregularities. Drivers should surrender their identification to your guard, who verifies the information. The guard should record the container number, license plate of the rig, seal number, date, and time. Random spot checks of containers are always beneficial, and should be done in the presence of more than one security officer.
151. Apply high-security seals. As identified by ISO 17712, high-security seals conform to all current and upcoming sealing mandates and regulations. Train all users to recognize compliant, high-security seals, and to identify indications that suggest theft or pilferage. Make sure that test documents proving compliance to ISO 17712 exist, that the test facility is A2LA-certified and independent, and that the manufacturer has been audited by a certified entity.
Most companies know supply chain vulnerability poses a threat to their operations, yet few perform analysis or plan strategies to minimize risk to the bottom line. These tips can keep your supply chain flowing during any disruptions.
152. Identify and assess current risk. Quantify and prioritize risk, then develop a mitigation strategy. Start backward from the customer and gauge the revenue impact of supply chain disruptions. Follow that trail through the manufacturing cycle to the potential sourcing or logistics constraining factors.
153. Do rigorous "what-if" analysis. Identify situations that could disrupt operations and develop contingencies to overcome these scenarios. Ask questions such as "What if we lose this supplier?" to create a strategic supply chain design that is optimally hardened against disruptions and serves as a cornerstone for a comprehensive business continuity plan.
154. Ensure you have multiple transportation plans in place. Ruptured transportation means products and parts face delays in getting to customers. You can continue shipping products to customers—if you have alternative transport plans.
155. Update plans regularly. Factors such as new government regulations or suppliers can cause fluctuations in your company's vulnerability levels. It's vital to put in place consistent programs for updating your supply chain's resilience by reevaluating its design and instituting a corporate culture of security.
156. Create a balance between supply chain network efficiency and operations resilience. Take a holistic view of your supply chain to determine optimal network designs that ensure products are manufactured in the right location at the right time and will ship to the right customers.
157. Compare the cost of stockpiling inventory against the risk of losing sales and customers, and creating a negative impact on bottom-line profitability. Too much inventory at the wrong location adds to bottom-line costs. Determine optimal inventory policies and levels to sustain your company.
158. Empower your trading partners. Institute a collaboration platform and communications framework designed to facilitate information exchange, while cutting costs and reducing errors.
159. Select vendors in different geographic regions who supply through secondary ports. Maintaining a diverse base of suppliers—even when equivalent materials are available from suppliers in the same region—will help if one country experiences a disruption.
160. Fully engage in supplier relationships. Because you will need to rely on them for help if disruptions arise, monitor suppliers for any potential problems. This includes knowing the suppliers' risk factors: financial strength, regulatory compliance, risk management practices, and the political stability of their countries.
161. Take control of logistics processes. Instead of abdicating to the suppliers' delivery, bring items closer to home where it makes economic sense, and globally source where savings are balanced by assurance of supply. It is crucial to take ownership of both the supply and delivery processes to understand the inherent risk, regardless of who has economic responsibility for delivery according to the terms of the sales contract.
162. Jointly plan for and collaborate about potential supply chain disruptions.Include suppliers, logistics service providers, and customers in your collaboration plans. Drive toward mutually available risk plans for each link in your supply chain.
163. Build flexibility into processes so you can promptly adapt to changes with minimum impact. Share forecast and demand information with trading partners so you can be more responsive to customer demand fluctuations. Develop a corporate culture of agility, rather than reactivity. Agile companies can respond rapidly and effectively to manage supply or demand changes.