The Challenges of Fulfilling Orders in a Post 9-11 World

June 11, 2012 at 10:25 am by SEM

The Challenges of Fulfilling Orders in a Post 9-11 World: How Bin Laden changed the simple task of delivering a package

As we watched the events unfold before our eyes that fateful September day, more than one news anchor observed that, “The world will never be the same; everything will change.” Although we all nodded in agreement, no one could have imagined just how far-reaching the effects would be.

The simplest taskshave takenon a new level of complexity. Packing for a trip used to mean asking, “Does this tie go with this suit?” Now we are forced to ask, “Does this toothpaste exceed TSA size limitations?” Applying for a bank loan required nothing more than a credit report, a signature, and a handshake. Now? Don’t forget to sign-off on that Patriot Act Information Form to make sure you don’t plan to channel your apartment down payment to terrorist organizations.

Increased security has not only affected our travel routines and loan applications, but also how deliveries are made to government and military facilities. Some changes implemented after 9-11 include:

  • Increased security at facility entrances – All delivery trucks are systematically stopped and searched before entering government and military facilities. Searches may include:
    • X-Rays – All parts of delivery vehicles are x-rayed to check for the presence of explosives
    • Dogs – Trained canines are often used to sniff-out explosives and other contraband
    • Inspections – Security personnel physically inspect items to make sure what is being delivered matches delivery documents (e.g. bills of lading). If any discrepancies are found, delivery trucks can be turned away and forced to obtain better documentation for the items being delivered.
  • Increased highway security – To protect roads and bridges from being the targets of terrorist attacks, freight and parcel companies can be subject to random searches and inspections in-transit.
  • Personnel screening – Freight and parcel companies have been forced to enhance their security screenings of drivers and delivery personnel. Screening procedures include:
    • Enhanced background checks and fingerprinting
    • More rigorous trainings and certifications for drivers delivering to government facilities
    • Freight and parcel companies must obtain site-specific identification cards and security
      clearances for drivers delivering to government facilities.
  • Liquid restrictions – Deliveries of liquids, especially petroleum based products like SEM’s High Viscosity Shredder Oil, face greater scrutiny. Leaky bottles or volumes of liquids that exceed what is permitted at a particular facility will be summarily rejected.

These security measures not only increase security at these locations, but also raise awareness to the dangers of terrorism and the need for continued vigilance in combating it. However, these measures have also increased both the time needed for freight and parcel companies to access government facilities and the cost associated with such deliveries. An hour spent waiting at security checkpoints is an hour that a driver is not making progress on other deliveries. It means an hour of engine-idling leading to increased fuel costs.

So what can be done to help streamline the security screening process?

  1. Be sure to supply your vendors with accurate point of contact information. A driver that has to fumble around for good contact names and numbers will be suspect. This will lead to increased scrutiny and delays.
  2. Provide your vendors with correct addresses. Wrong building numbers, misspelled streets, and other problems with addresses will, again, lead to more scrutiny and more delays.
  3. On their bills of lading, vendors must be very specific about the products being shipped. Vagueness about the contents of a package could result in the package being opened by security personnel for physical verification. Any discrepancies will result in the delivery truck being turned away until proper documentation can be obtained. 

When it comes to delivering to government facilities everything, indeed, has change

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