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How Microsoft is reducing risk of cargo theft with Overhaul

Electronics giant proactively manages risk in its supply chain to prevent theft

The easiest way to stop cargo theft is before it happens, and that is what Overhaul is trying to do with its risk management products. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — As cargo thefts on the rails began picking up in the past few years, Microsoft used insights it had from risk management partner Overhaul to shift loads back to truck transportation. It was able to do this because it had confidence in the services Overhaul provided, but also in the data itself.

Overhaul is a risk management platform that proactively identifies opportunities where cargo theft or risk is most likely. In the event of a theft, the company’s platform and team of personnel jump into action and recover 99% of all stolen cargo, often within hours, according to Frankie Mossman, chief customer officer.

Microsoft uses Overhaul’s Sentinel product to protect its high-value loads of computers, Xboxes and other technology-based products.

“There is really a joint opportunity and vision for us to drive enhancements through the supply chain,” Erin Duffy, principal of logistics and sustainability for Microsoft, told FreightWaves in a meeting at the Gartner Supply Chain Symposium/XPO 2022 conference at Walt Disney World’s Dolphin Resort on Wednesday.

Joined by Mossman, Duffy explained why Microsoft is able to benefit from Overhaul’s platform, and in particular the insights it gains that allow it to proactively protect shipments.

“Having Overhaul as a partner allows us to drive visibility and … insights,” Duffy said, noting that being proactive is important for supply chain resiliency.

The Sentinel platform tracks cargo and provides data into risk potential along routes, Mossman said. She explained that in some cases, Overhaul can be proactive and bring added security measures forward when warranted, as sometimes happens in Northern California. There are a few truck stops in the region, Mossman said, that are “very open” and easy targets for cargo thieves, so Overhaul and its clients can be prepared for those situations.

“[The platform’s] whole mission in life is to sense problems,” Mossman said.

Not surprisingly, the riskiest part of any trip for cargo is the first 200 miles. The Sentinel platform reports if truck drivers are stopping often in those first few miles or deviating from the plan in any way, potentially putting the cargo at risk. In those cases, the client is notified and can be proactive about contacting the driver to further assess the situation.

Duffy, though, said Overhaul is “not about a dot on the map,” and noted that it offers much more in terms of value for Microsoft as it works to secure loads. Mossman said the platform can identify if a load can’t be delivered in the expected time window and suggest possible changes, including delaying shipment, to a time that would have lower risk value.

Overhaul also has relationships with police departments across the country through its Law Enforcement Connect program. If a load is stolen, Overhaul can have identifying information on the trailer or load in officers’ hands almost immediately.

With the average trailer load monitored around $250,000 and a container load between $500,000 and $700,000, Overhaul’s services have been recommended by many insurers. Mossman, however, said loss of entire trailerloads is giving way to more “pilferage” of items. Thieves are more frequently following trucks to a truck stop, opening the back door and stealing a few boxes at a time. As a result, Overhaul is looking into new technologies that might help prevent this.

“What I’d really like to do is get to the point where the [load isn’t stolen],” Mossman said.

The company has recently launched several additional products: Asset Manager, TruckShield and cargo and auto insurance programs. Asset Manager takes the same approach to cargo visibility and proactive management but applies it to the assets themselves. TruckShield monitors behaviors of drivers, such as excessive speeding or slowing, frequent stops, etc. that might increase risk. And the insurance product is part of an effort to create a one-stop shop for customers.

All the products are designed to interact with each other, giving carriers more options to protect loads, equipment and people.

Click for more articles by Brian Straight.

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Brian Straight

Brian Straight leads FreightWaves' Modern Shipper brand as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler. You can reach him at [email protected]