The Friday Report: June 8th, 2018

Quick wrap up of a few hot topic newsworthy stories in the supply chain logistics industry

2017:  200% Increase in Cyber Attacks against Supply Chains

Here is a statistic that may keep you up at night.   In 2017, there was a 200% increase in cyberattacks, specifically attackers injecting malware implants into the supply chain.  This malware was used to infiltrate unsuspecting supply chains.  In years prior to 2017, these cyber attacks occurred only four times annually but in 2017, there was a cyber attack against the supply chain every single month.

Using hijacking software provides attackers with an entry point. This allows the perpetrators to compromise well-protected targets or can enable focus on a specific sector or region.  The most well-known example of this is the Petya/NotPetya (Ransom.Petya) outbreak.  This outbreak exploited a Ukrainian accounting software as the point of entry.  It then employed numerous methods to spread across corporate networks , deploying the perpetrators’ malicious payload.

Nyetya, the global attack against FedEx and Maersk that cost millions, also started by hijacking software updates. Symantec Security Response noted that this is a major issue for supply chain businesses, one of deep concern that is likely to be repeated in the future.  

Another trend is the use of malicious agents starting small but dwelling within systems for years, only to attack unnoticed later.  According to Symantec, 71% of cyber attacks perpetrated in 2017 began with spear phishing.  Also of note, IoT attacks increased 600% and use of mobile malware variants rose 54% year-over-year.

Read more about how to prevent ransomware from threatening your warehouse on our blog.


UK Food Supply Chain Industry Bands Together to Advise Negotiators about Brexit

Companies across the UK food supply chain have expressed concerns regarding Brexit causing disruptions.  Recently an executive with the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) advocated having the food industry put forth workable, practical solutions to potential problems involving Brexit so that negotiators can present them in Brussels.  Drafted by food and drink supply chain organizations,  the UK Food Supply Chain Manifesto defines the need for positive outcomes relating to domestic agricultural policy, regulation, labor and trade.

Issues regarding food safety, tariff-free UK-EU trade in agrifood and drink goods, access to EU Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) during and after the transition period topped the list of food and drink industry concerns.  The food and drink industry also wants to ensure that there is no physical border in Ireland where food and drink are the majority of goods traded.  Being able to trade in a manner that avoids added costs and delays is also of paramount importance. At this point, Brexit will occur in 10 months.  Acting together to create the manifesto document that was sent to the Prime Minister, food and drink industry executives are hopeful that identifying critical needs and offering potential solutions will aid in future negotiations.

 Why are 2D Barcodes Increasing in Popularity?

In today’s complex, “smart” warehouse, having the ability to retain more detailed product information, place barcode labels in tight spaces and vertical locations while retaining the ability to scan and process data quickly is highly desirable.  Especially in e-commerce fulfillment operations and warehouses, the work is fast and furious, with speed and accuracy critical elements of daily processes.

Today’s 2D barcoding solutions are capable of more versatile scanning, more robust tracking and can handle a larger amount of data in a smaller format.  Most warehouses today rely on barcoding.  Busy warehouse operators need automated data capture to facilitate faster, more accurate operations.  Product information is captured and relayed to a warehouse management system.

In looking at both 1D and 2D barcodes, there is a definite difference.  Limited in storage capacity, 1D barcodes contain only a limited amount of data, up to 20 characters whereas 2D barcodes can store thousands of characters of information.  This is possible because 2D barcodes encode data both horizontally and vertically. Smaller than 1D barcodes, 2D barcodes are idea for rack bay or bin areas that contain a dense number of positions.

Using 2D barcodes enables one scan to capture and relay an array of information including product name, serial number, lot number, arrival date and much more. 

Stored within an inventory management system or warehouse management software, the data is then easily accessible and retrievable for immediate use. 2D barcodes can also be used in vertical (totem) locations.

Image scanners must be used to read 2D barcodes and can read it in any direction, making the scanning faster and easier to accomplish.  Although 2D image scanners can also read linear barcodes, they do have difficulty reading any barcode that has a glare off a glossy finish.

2D barcodes fit the bill for today’s busy warehouse operations where speed, accuracy and efficiency are essential to keeping supply chain costs down and order fulfillment at the highest level possible.

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