Any electronics manufacturer knows the importance of their supply network. Without the raw materials, components, and parts from an assortment of companies such as TE Connectivity LTD, making and delivering goods to your end-users would be impossible. For that reason, it is vital to constantly monitor and upgrade the security of your supply chain.
Understand the Scope of Your Network
Without a comprehensive map of your first-, second- and nth-tier suppliers as well as the companies with which they do business, you cannot get a grasp on the risks you need to protect against. Mapping involves every entity from your raw materials producers to your end users.
Trace Information Flow
If communication is blocked somewhere along the line, you can expect supply chain bottlenecks. Therefore, you also need to track information flow from origin to endpoint. This includes packaging guidelines, security protocols and delivery routes as well as clear records of which users have been granted access to sensitive information.
Form a Supply Chain Risk Management Team
Assessing and mitigating risks along your entire line requires buy-in from every stakeholder involved. Be sure to bring together a diverse and multi-talented group that can speak for the various interests in the company. During your meetings, all members can bring up their specific points of view and concerns. Examples might include the legal team wanting to focus on compliance and contractual obligations or the security group concentrating on bolstering threat intelligence tools. When all parties are involved, the integrity of the entire supply chain can be strengthened.
Enhance Security Awareness Among New and Current Staff
Supply chain security is everyone’s responsibility. However, it falls short when people don’t know what their role is or are ignorant of errors or oversights they may be making that are jeopardizing the infrastructure. Security-focused training should not only be a part of the onboarding process but should also be updated regularly to adjust for changes in company policy and technological innovations. You might also consider expanding it to your third-party partners to ensure that your procedures are in alignment with theirs.
Set Standards for Third-party Partners
In addition to awareness, the organizations that provide you with labor, consulting, materials and components need to understand your expectations when it comes to supply chain security. These should include your standards for the physical security of their factories and delivery sites, how they protect their digital assets from breaches, the documentation you require and information about the access control guidelines they have put in place. Furnishing partners with a self-assessment audit sheet that is followed by on-site visits from your team. External audits can also provide objective data to ensure compliance with your requirements.
Develop Benchmarks and Best Practices
When everyone knows what is expected of them and how they can prove that they are living up to these requirements, the entire supply network runs more smoothly. To that end, your security team should gather input from disparate sources such as member associations and social media groups that can be brought back to the larger group for discussion.
Balance Security Improvements with Operational Efficiency
No matter how effective a new strategy is in theory, it must pass another test. If the costs of its implementation exceed the benefits it will bring, the team will need to go back to the drawing board to see if it can be altered to fit in with organizational financial constraints or priorities.
The benefits of a more secure system are tangible: decreased shrinkage, more efficient delivery, better incident response and enhanced reliability of information networks. When partners become a part of the solution, the advantages are even clearer. Tightening your supply chain security is a project well worth undertaking.