The New Warehouse: Part Two
Written by: Mark Hill, Vice President and General Manager, Avery Dennison RBIS Global Innovation and Solutions Development
For fashion items, central monitoring can identify stores that don’t have goods available on the floor on schedule, as well as target in-season replenishment to fast-moving stores, reducing both out-of-stock and future markdowns. This results in better availability of the merchandise and helps associates focus on the customer versus the stockroom, delivering a better shopping experience that ultimately drives customer loyalty.
RFID-enabled inventory accuracy also gives Loss Prevention professionals the timely, actionable intelligence they need to focus their efforts on problem areas, pinpointing dishonest store associates and stores or departments that are suffering unusually hitch levels of shoplifting. Leading-edge retailers have integrated RFID into the care and content labels sewn to garment at-source, which can help make shoplifting less rewarding. The RFID tag’s data can be updated at point-of-sale indicating that it was part of a legitimate transaction. If a shoplifter managed to get an item through security and then tried to return it for a refund, they would be caught red-handed as the tag would indicate the item had never been sold.
Integrating RFID into the garment at-source also provides end-to-end visibility that improves accuracy throughout the global supply chain. RFID-enabled packing stations at the garment factory can ensure that all orders match the retailers packing instructions, enabling more extensive use of sophisticated store-level packing plans that bypassing Distribution Center (DC) put-away and picking operations and accelerating time-to-market. As cartons arrive at the DC, RFID enables 100% inspection of incoming shipments versus the 10% inspection most DCs practice today, enabling more thorough identification of discrepancies between what was ordered and what actually arrived. For goods that require pick and pack operations, RFID-enabled pack stations ensure all outgoing shipments are accurate, without the increased cost of labor for manual validation. As these shipments arrive at the store, they can be quickly and accurately received, and store associates can get alerts about incoming items that need to move to the sales floor immediately to prevent stock-outs.
Avery Dennison is proud to be a driving force in the industry's adoption of RFID. Our solutions for RFID pilots enable suppliers and retailers to get up and running quickly, saving resources and accelerating the time to achieve the impact and ROI of that RFID delivers.
Google and NIST Address Supply Chain Cybersecurity
As high-level supply chain attacks hit the news, Google and the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have both developed proposals for how to address software supply chain security. This isn’t a new field, unfortunately. Since supply chains are a critical part of business resilience, criminals have no qualms about targeting its software. That’s why identifying, assessing, and mitigating cyber supply chain risks (C-SCRM) is at the top of Google and NIST’s respective agendas.
High-Profile Supply Chain Attacks
According to Google, no comprehensive end-to-end framework exists to mitigate threats across the software supply chain. [Yet] ‘there is an urgent need for a solution in the face of the eye-opening, multi-billion-dollar attacks in recent months...some of which could have been prevented or made more difficult’.
Here are several of the largest cybersecurity failures in recent months:
- SolarWinds. Alleged Russian hackers slipped malicious code into a routine software update, which they then used as a Trojan horse for a massive cyberattack.
- Codecov. Attackers used automation to collect credentials and raid ‘additional resources’, such as data from other software development vendors.
- Malicious attacks on open-source repositories. Out of 1,000 GitHub accounts, more than one in five contained at least one dependency confusion-related misconfiguration.
As a result of these attacks and Biden’s recent cybersecurity mandate, NIST and Google took action. NIST held a 1,400-person workshop and published 150 papers worth of recommendations from Microsoft, Synopsys, The Linux Foundation, and other software experts; Google will work with popular source, build, and packaging platforms to help companies implement and excel at their SLSA framework.
What Are Their Recommendations?
Here’s a quick recap: NIST has grouped together recommendations to create federal standards; Google has developed an end-to-end framework called Supply Chain Levels for Software Artifacts (SLSA)—pronounced “Salsa”. Both address software procurement and security.
Now, here’s the slightly more in-depth version:
- NIST. The organisation wants more ‘rigorous and predictable’ ways to secure critical software. They suggest that firms use vulnerability disclosure programmes (VDP) and software bills of materials (SBOM), consider simplifying their software and give at least one developer per project security training.
- Google. The company thinks that SLSA will encompass the source-build-publish software workflow. Essentially, the four-level framework helps businesses make informed choices about the security of the software they use, with SLSA 4 representing an ideal end state.
If this all sounds very abstract, consider the recent SolarWinds attack. The attacker compromised the build platform, installed an implant, and injected malicious behaviour during each build. According to Google, higher SLSA levels would have required stronger security controls for the build platform, making it more difficult for the attacker to succeed.
How Do The Proposals Differ?
As Brian Fox, the co-founder and CTO at Sonatype, sees it, NIST and Google have created proposals that complement each other. ‘The NIST [version] is focused on defining minimum requirements for software sold to the government’, he explained, while Google ‘goes [further] and proposes a specific model for scoring the supply chain. NIST is currently focused on the “what”. Google, along with other industry leaders, is grappling with the “how”’.