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William J. Montanez knows a thing or two about the perils of shipping cargo. As director of risk management for Ace Hardware Corporation of Oak Brook, Ill., he has oversight of the retail-agency operations for the largest retailer-owned hardware cooperative in the industry.

Montanez credits Ace Hardware’s freight-shipping program with avoiding the types of cargo theft problems that other industries are seeing with identity theft, fictitious pick-ups and other scams. Part of the solution is maintaining its own transport team, which it augments with outside haulers when needed; the other half is knowing where its cargo is at all times—at least when it comes to domestic deliveries. 

Ace boasts a private fleet of 400 tractors and some 1,200 dry freight trailers used to deliver to its 4,400 retail outlets in the U.S., from 14 domestic Retail Support Centers across the country. GPS and other electronic tracking technologies are used to monitor all of those shipments. “We have our own loss-prevention folks internally who monitor our distribution centers,” says Montanez. “We always know where a truck is.” 

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