Review of Takeaways from GPS Cargo Tracking Forum

I recently read the notes of Walt Beadling of Macungie, PA from his attendance at a forum sponsored by the Rx-360 Cargo Theft/High Risk Areas Workgroup as well as the Pharmaceutical Cargo Security Coalition. The forum focused on GPS Cargo Tracking technologies and their specific usage in pharmaceutical industry supply chains. These notes appear on the Cargo Security Alliance website.

This Diagram Shows GPS Cargo Tracking in Trucking

GPS Cargo Tracking in TruckingWhile the forum was hosted by and targeted toward the Pharmaceutical industry, the points taken away by Mr. Beadling are almost universally useful for supply chain transportation security in literally any industry. Below are some of the key points that I found very relevant to OpticalLock’s business and user base:

Takeaways on GPS Cargo Tracking in Pharmaceutical Supply Chains

  • There is quite a bit of anectodal evidence that tracking of cargo by electronic means (including GPS Cargo Tracking) – in conjunction with  cargo security best practices and generally heightened awareness – has been a strong deterrent to cargo theft as well as enabling the enhanced recovery of goods if they are stolen.
  • The numerous GPS cargo tracking solution providers who were represented at the forum, as well as the sophistication and breadth of their offerings demonstrates the rapid growth and promise of the technology.
  • Some users are choosing to “self-track” their shipments rather than relying on vendor-provided services and control centers.
  • GPS cargo tracking is moving out of the early adopter phase, as evidenced by large companies such as AT&T and Deutsche Telekom dipping their toes in market via strategic partnerships.
  • Vendors are reacting to the increasingly competitive environment by attempting to avoid “hardware widget commoditization” via the use of value-added applications using data analytics and supply chain integration, among other methods.
  • As costs continue to drop and technologies become more capable, electronic tracking technologies will migrate from “high value” goods to literally any bulk shipment industry.
  • Technical challenges which remain include battery life, reliability, transmission & coverage limitations and in some regions the use of “electronic jamming” by sophisticated thieves.
  • The PRC (mainland China) actually has a law against “sending signals out of the country”. Some vendors do not offer services in the region because of this, although others are accepting the risk of penalties.
  • A multi-layered approach to security is very important in addition to GPS Cargo Tracking, including but not limited to tamper-resistance, tamper-evidence, supply chain employee vetting and training, end-to-end chain of custody and other physical security provisions.

The OpticalLock iLock fits perfectly with the notes from this conference. Not only does OpticalLock include GPS tracking but also includes other electronic and physical security provisions such as on-board RFID, tamper-evidence technology and real-time wireless alerting triggered by a variety of security sensors, all within its traditional padlock form factor.

You can review Mr. Beadling’s complete notes at

Please contact us to to explore how OpticalLock products can help enhance the security of your high value goods via GPS cargo tracking, tamper evident locking and real-time wireless alerts.

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