Traceability. Recalls. Fraud. Cargo theft. National security. These are all buzzwords to describe the food industry’s daily challenges in securing and protecting America’s food chains. Whether its cross-border security concerns or monitoring the integrity and transport of food processed right here in the United States, the security of today’s supply chains encompasses all parties concerned.

Case in point: a simple GPS device may not be enough to ward off the bad guys. That’s why today’s security devices help food manufacturers enhance and protect the security of their cold supply chains.

For example, Tyco Integrated Security, Boca Raton, Fla., will be introducing a cloud-based critical condition monitoring service that’s equipped with wireless sensors and monitors temperature and humidity while automatically logging data and sending alerts.

“This comprehensive [advanced fleet security and control] solution with location sensors and an onboard control system can detect trucks that are off route and remotely shut down a truck to prevent cargo theft. There’s also a technology that can remotely lock trailers, in addition to trucks,” says Don Hsieh, director of commercial and industrial marketing.

TycoIS also provides security not just as stand-alone systems, but also as an integrated solution, Hsieh says, to enable automated workflow and proactive response.

“TycoIS’ physical security information management (PSIM) solutions automatically link disparate monitoring devices like video, access control and equipment sensors to minimize the risk of manual oversight and immediately respond to the highest priority real-time alerts,” he adds.

Canada-based MAGTEC Products, Inc. helps food manufacturers maximize cargo and trailer security with Power In-Lock, an internal lock that’s easily mounted to standard trailer roll-up or swing-out doors.

“One of the biggest challenges shippers are facing today are fraudulent pickups,” says Mark Ochitwa, vice president, operations and administration. “Thieves are going to great lengths to pose as the legitimate transportation company that is expected. Another critical element of in-transit security is confidence that the integrity of the supply chain is maintained. MAGTEC’s trailer/reefer solution combines covert GPS tracking with the Power In-Lock. This lock can be solely controlled over the air by authorized administrators using MAGTEC’s Mobile Command and Control (MCC) web-based platform.”

Last June 2013, UPS and UPS Capital Corp., Atlanta, introduced UPS Proactive Response Secure, targeted at time-sensitive, high-value and perishable goods. UPS Proactive Response Secure combines UPS’ logistics expertise and proprietary package tracking technology with a dedicated response team that continuously observes customers’ critical shipments and takes action when needed, says Dave Zamsky, vice president of marketing. If a potential risk is identified or if a shipment can’t be delivered as scheduled, the system initiates service recovery procedures based on customers’ pre-defined instructions.

“The service is ideal for companies with frequent high-value, time- or temperature-sensitive shipments, such as those in the healthcare, perishable foods, agriculture or veterinary sciences industries,” he adds. “One such customer is a shipper of expensive mushrooms, which has narrow windows of delivery to exclusive restaurants.”

For its part, Supply Chain Solutions, Inc., Grand Rapids, Mich., offers a full suite of transportation management capabilities, such as carrier procurement, shipment planning and execution, mode optimization (determining the most cost-effective mode of transportation based on historical data and/or real-time data, taking into consideration volume, tariffs and delivery constraints), freight bill settlement, freight brokerage, global trade services and global transportation management systems (GTMsys), which manage a suite of software tools to plan, procure, execute and monitor all transportation events in a logistics network.

“In order to avoid fraud with product destined for other parts of the world and to keep it from ending up in areas they are not intended for, it is important for the producer/manufacturer to control the cargo and also work with a reliable agent, one who understands the nature of the product,” says Bahl.

Supply Chain Solutions is also testing a long lead time inventory optimizer (IO) that will allow it to plan shipments in small quantities and more frequently.

New supply chain security solutions aside, how can companies adequately train their employees on new security protocols? How do you develop effective training for these specific protocols?

“Many of these security requirements stem from FDA and the importance FDA is placing on product security with regard to the soon-to-be-proposed rules on sanitary transportation and FDA’s food defense rule,” says Laura Dunn Nelson, vice president of technical services and business development for Alchemy. “Because of these FSMA-related requirements, companies are working to identify possible security breaches and gaps within their cold chain and creating procedures and processes to mitigate these security risks.”

That’s why the Austin, Texas, manufacturer debuted SISTEM (Standard Industry Skills Training and Education Media), a training platform that enables companies to use established, industry-vetted content or develop their own training content to address critical operational needs such as the proper use of chemicals.

“Alchemy’s SISTEM Platform has been designed specifically to help the food industry easily meet training requirements, exceed inspector expectations and achieve compliance requirements often related to a secure facility,” Dunn Nelson adds. “These courses are targeted at the hourly worker following a highly visual, proven pedagogy to effectively train hourly workers. An aspect of the platform is SISTEM Creator, which is a custom course authoring tool. It allows you to turn your specific security protocol content into professional interactive and effective training courses. More importantly, it provides you with defensible training records for future inspector visits.”

 Regardless of your company’s supply chain challenges, it pays to be safe and secure.