How Data Integrity Contributes to a Stronger Supply Chain

Pool Distribution Model

All supply chains depend heavily upon one primary element; data integrity.

If you are unfamiliar with the practice of data integrity, it is best defined as the smooth, efficient and safe transmission of data internally or between parties. 

In order for any type of business to survive and thrive, data must flow without restriction. Now, that may sound like a rather simple, fairly mundane thing. But when we are talking about data that might contain sensitive information such as customer addresses, financial records, or industry secrets, there are a lot of other, more complex things to consider.

This means having a few layers of extra security in place to ensure that the data is transferred safely. After all, in modern times, no data is ever 100% safe from hacking attempts or corruption of files. 

When something like this happens, it can thoroughly cripple a business ability to keep its doors open. Worse yet, if data isn’t secure and customer information is stolen and results in an identity theft case, the company responsible for securing the data may be held liable. 

Data integrity is not a ‘wish-list’ item for supply chains – it’s a requirement. 


The Threat of a Data Security Breach 

We all know how damaging a security breach can be to a company.

And contrary to popular belief, cyber crime is not vanishing anytime soon. 

In fact, solutions such as the implementation of SSL help companies stay ahead of hackers. But just as soon as one hole is fixed, another five are discovered. 

One mistake that many companies make is downplaying the hacker’s ability to find creative ways of penetrating their solutions. This only makes it easier for them to go unnoticed.

There are a few common sources of data integrity lapses that plague supply chain partners. 

In fact, in recent years, many hackers have focused their efforts specifically on logistics companies, since many of their employees make the following mistakes... 

  • Weak Passwords: When a supply chain business manages accounts on Amazon, Facebook, and other social platforms, poorly generated passwords are the biggest pitfall to look out for. 
  • The exploitation of system vulnerabilities: Cyber professionals find this issue common with companies that have not upgraded their TMS or CMS solutions in a while.
  • Email Integrity Issues: Many logistics companies don’t spend enough time or resources properly educating their employees on how protect the company from email hacks. These planned attacks can lead to far-reaching data integrity problems. 


Strengthen Your Data Integrity Game

While simple education and training can significantly reduce the potential of a data breach, software upgrades are just as important. 

Your software solutions are in place for a good reason, to keep your data safe. But it can only do that if it is equipped with the most current tools. 

As we mentioned previously, hackers are inventive and they can easily find outdated systems. Of course, outdated systems are the easiest to break into because newer attacks are just not something that they are equipped to handle if they haven’t been updated or upgraded regularly.


Perform Better Inventory Management

One issue often overlooked is the impact data breaches have on inventory control processes. 

When a data breach occurs, quite often the supply chain operation is forced to shut down their tech solutions while IT professionals attempt to locate the source of the hack. Once located, they generally rebuild the system to prevent it from happening again. 

To reduce the potential of large inventory lapses that often result in many hours of physical counts and correcting inventory errors, keep backups of all inventory data and upgrade your systems regularly.


Reduce Freight Delays

When your data is secure, it also helps you keep up with freight shipping volumes and delivery speeds. Data breach attacks can flag your customer accounts with carriers. 

In many cases, in order to protect their own systems, if a customer’s account is compromised, they will suspend the account or require the customer to set up a secondary account. 

While this is understandable, it usually results in your ability to efficiently schedule freight movements. If you depend on efficient delivery of raw materials and supplies, it can also reduce your ability to manufacture new products. 


Final Thoughts

Taking the proactive step of improving your data integrity can make or break any supply chain organization. Not only can it help to protect your valuable information, but also that of vendors, suppliers, or most importantly, your customers. 

If you’re looking to improve your data integrity solutions for your freight movement or supply chain technology software, working with a proven 3PL like Redwood Logistics is a logical step.