Using business complexity to handle supply chain risk: Dealing with borders of cargo liability (CORE1209)

Summary: The dominant part of the academic literature on supply chain management assumes that decisions are based on objectivity, determinism and rational choices. They consider seldom complexity of the networks and casting defects that are due to deviating organizational structures and information systems. In order to manage complex risks companies may be willing to make decisions that reduce their own risks at the expense of other supply chain partners. That is an old maid game. The paper presents two cases, where logistics actors confine one-sided own liabilities instead of reducing risks in the whole network. The paper can be viewed here:

Managing the Unexpected – Sustained Performance in a Complex World (CORE1208)

Summary: The book highlights characteristics of organizations that are capable to improve efficiency and manage their risk in challenging operative environments. According to the writers these high reliable organizations pay especially attention to small failures, real-time operations, alternative pathways to keep going and mobilization of expertise. The book presents how quality and continuous improvement philosophy eroded in manufacturing company causing a recall of 10 million vehicles and how they recovered from the crisis. The book can be purchased here

Towards Trusted Trade-lanes (CORE1207)

Summary: The paper explores the concept of trusted trade-lane. In trusted trade-lanes operators implement an internal control system that makes possible to detect, handle and report dubious events in a way that meet requirements of customs agencies. Writers identify three essential characteristics of trusted trade-lanes: single partners are considered reliable and trustworthy, collaboration is based on long-term partnerships powered by viable business opportunities and managed by a clear decision-making mechanism, and control systems ensures integrity of traded goods and transferred data. In addition, the paper presents three alternative scenarios how the trusted partnerships can be designed in cross-border trade. The paper can be viewed here:

Global supply chain design considerations: Mitigating product safety and security risks (Speier et al. 2011)


There is a broad consensus among supply chain professionals that supply chain disruptions are very bad for business: supply chain glitches commonly lower operational performance and reduce shareholder value. Regardless of this, there is surprisingly little research on supply chain design strategies that have the highest potential to mitigate the risk of disruptions. Based on interviews with 75 US-based managers, an industry survey and a case study, Speier et al. (2011) identify types of SCS strategies and examine how contextual factors influence business managers to select a set of SCS design strategies. They argue that the depth and breadth of security initiatives depend mainly on top management mindfulness, operational complexity, product risk and coupling. The abstract is available at:

Review by Toni Männistö (CBRA) based on his doctoral thesis.

Controlling access to pick-up and delivery vans: the cost of alternative measures (Haelterman et al. 2012)


The situational crime prevention theory suggests that preventive security measures often backfire. For this reason, it is problematic that many managers do not have a holistic picture which kind of considerations should precede selection of implementation of security measures. A paper by Haelterman et al. (2012) tests the practical feasibility of a new management model that is designed to highlight the most promising preventive security measures given a set of preconditions and costs. The authors apply this model in the context of pick-up and delivery van operations at a Belgian branch of a major express courier company. Such transport operations are subject to risk of theft and terrorism, especially if unauthorized people managed break into pick-up and delivery vans. To test the management model, the authors collect views of of supply chain practitioners in two expert panels and through a survey. Their analysis covers a broad array of preventive security measures including key card, audible alarm, silent alarm + GPS, notification on vehicles, awareness training, no company logos, formal instructions / compliance checks & sanctioning, double drivers, over security escorts. The abstract is available at:

Review by Toni Männistö (CBRA) based on his doctoral thesis.

Supply chain security orientation: conceptual development and a proposed framework (Autry and Bobbit 2008)


Even though supply chain security has become an increasingly important managerial domain, there is little understanding about what security aware firms are, what enables and drives security awareness, and what are the outcomes of supply chain security (SCS) orientation. Autry and Bobbit (2008) set out conceptualize, validate and operationalize the construct of SCS orientation. Based on 31 interviews with US-based managers, they conclude that SCS orientation comprises four general categories of security solutions: security preparation and planning, security-related partnerships, organizational adaptation and security-dedicated communications and technology. The authors write that these security solutions “could result in supply chain risk management-related efficiencies, such as decreased lead times to customers, greater product reliability, waste reduction, and increased delivery reliability, due to the lessened need for operations workers to perform security-related tasks such as redundant container checking, securing shipments, or other similar tasks.” The abstract is available at:

Review by Toni Männistö (CBRA) based on his doctoral thesis.

CASSANDRA compendium. Technologies for supply chain visibility and security (Ch. 8)

Summary: Chapter 8 of the CASSANDRA compendium reviews current and future technologies that help managers to improve visibility and security over global end-to-end supply chains. The supply chain visibility technologies, in essence, provide logistics managers with a variety of information - shipment data, performance metrics, inventory levels, production / delivery schedules and sales forecast, for example - in or close to real time. The chapter’s review on supply chain security technologies focus mainly on security sensors (e.g., motion detectors), container seals, biometric user authentication devices (e.g., fingerprints), and non-intrusive inspection equipment (e.g., X-ray screening stations). The section also elaborates modern ways for sharing information among stakeholders that are concerned about security of the supply chain. The CASSANDRA compendium is available for download: Review by Toni Männistö (CBRA)

MARITIME SECURITY – Vessel Tracking Systems Provide Key Information, but the Need for Duplicate Data Should Be Reviewed, GAO, March 2009 (CORE1065)

Summary: The US government considers identification and tracking of vessels at the US coastal areas, inland waterways and ports important for protecting the US homeland and economy from maritime terrorism. The US coastal guards use a range of identification and tracking solutions to detect any anomalies in maritime traffic that might suggest terrorist activity, such as transportation of weapons of mass destruction, use of explosive-laden boats as weapons, smuggling of weapons, drugs, people or other contraband. This GAO report reviews the US Coast Guards’ current and future solutions for monitoring the maritime traffic: long-range identification and tracking system (LRIT), long-range automatic identification system (AIS) and various radar and camera systems. The report elaborates strengths and weaknesses of these identification and tracking solutions and proposes a roadmap for further strengthening of the US coastal security. The future advancements should pay particular attention to tracking of small and non-commercial vessels and to reconsider ways to collect and analyze data that is relevant for coastal surveillance.  Offering background information about vessel-level tracking and tracing of maritime cargo movements, the report is a relevant source document for those CORE demonstrations that involve shipping of containers from, through and into the US. The report is available for download at:

MARITIME SECURITY – DHS Progress and Challenges in Key Areas of Port Security, GAO, July 2010 (CORE1064)

Summary: This GAO report analyses the progress the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has made in maritime supply chain security over the past five to ten years. The report raises problems that the DHS and its component agencies – the Coast Guard and the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) – have encountered regarding improvement of risk management, reduction of the vulnerability to threats of small vessels, implementation of security assessment in foreign ports, and the overall progress in supply chain security.  The report states that so far the Coast Guard has carried out risk assessments, but their results do not allow effective comparison and prioritization of risks across ports. The Coast guard has also identified points of vulnerability related to waterside attacks by small vessels, reached out to the general public to encourage recreational sailors to report anomalies, started tracking of small vessel, tested equipment to screen small vessels for nuclear material and conducted security maneuvers such as vessel escorts. Nevertheless, resource constraints and technical problems prevent the Coast Guard to protect the US coastline and maritime infrastructure from small-vessel threats effectively. Moreover, the Coast Guard has been assessing security in foreign ports, but the lack of the agency’s resources and certain countries’ reluctance to collaborate with the US authorities have slowed down the global security assessment. Finally, as for the general supply chain security, the DHS has been running the Secure Freight Initiative (SFI) in foreign ports to test the feasibility of the 100% scanning of US-bound shipping containers with non-intrusive inspection (NII) technologies and radiation detection equipment. The findings of the SFI pilots indicate that the 100% scanning is not a feasible policy because it would disrupt port logistics, damage international trade and raise healthy concerns, among other things. The report is available for download at:

PORT SECURITY GRANT PROGRAM, Risk Model, Grant Management, and Effectiveness Measures Could Be Strengthened, GAO, November 2011 (CORE1060)

Summary: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has granted almost 1.7 billion USD to port security through the Port Security Grant Program (PSGP). The program is administered by a component agency of DHS, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). This GAO reports highlights some problems that the grant program has encountered. The first issue is that the risk assessment the FEMA uses to assess risk levels and assign grants to different ports does not take into account how security improvements affect the vulnerability of the ports to terrorist attacks. The report recommends the FEMA to design a vulnerability index that accounts for security improvement and to coordinate with the Coast Guard to get access to the most accurate vulnerability and threat information. The second issue with the grant program is that much of the grant money does not get used and translate into practical port security projects. The GAO report proposes acceleration of the grant granting process with updated administrative procedures and with more administrative staff.  Finally, this GAO report recommends the FEMA to develop performance metrics to assess its administration in relation to the Port Security Grant Program. The contents of this GAO report is not very relevant to CORE because no US seaports are partners in the project. The report is available for download at: