Companies of all industries depend on warehouses to store and ship valuable goods. And storing large quantities of valuable goods or machinery can make you a target for theft or other crimes—which means that warehouse security is crucial to running a successful business. Warehouse security problems can result in financial losses and impact employee morale, and poor security can even delay shipments. Logistics experts agree that warehouse security is critical in ensuring overall work efficiency.
In this article we will discuss:
- Why warehouses need a security system
- The importance of physical security
- Warehouse safety guidelines
A security system can help you safeguard valuable goods.
In general, companies involved in the supply chain operate with the understanding that some loss will occur. Production lines can go down, equipment might break, items in transit get lost, and—at least currently—global supply chain problems can all put a dent in your profit.
Accounting for traditional types of loss is one thing. But the threat of theft, and the impact theft can have on the bottom line, can cause major unforeseen issues.
If you’ve noticed that stock levels do match sales records or have missing sales invoices, you may already be experiencing loss from theft.
It’s no secret—the purpose of a warehouse is to store and ship goods. That means it’s critical to protect goods and materials while in storage at the warehouse. The issue for many warehouse managers and owners is that theft can be a real concern: from employees and others.
Here are several alarming stats that illustrate warehouse theft is an ongoing problem:
- The incidence of warehouse theft has increased worldwide over the past two years
- In the U.S., cargo theft in particular is a $15 to $30 billion problem
- 40% of respondents to a national survey say their warehouse experienced theft in 2020
Warehouse theft is a problem. Here are tips to improve physical security.
Physical security is any security system or device that works to deter and detect theft. At a warehouse or distribution center, physical security should consist of four components.
1) Burglar Alarm System: A burglar alarm system installed at a warehouse is about as straightforward as they come. Place contact sensors on all entrance and exit points, including employee entrances, fire doors, and even roof hatches. Most companies will arm these contact sensors 24 hours per day. You can also consider placing motion sensors strategically to provide security coverage for exterior walls and near entrances. A central keypad and online dashboard will allow you to control the burglar alarm and view its status at any time.
2) Security Cameras: A security camera system serves two purposes. One, cameras are necessary physical security tools that can help deter and identify thieves. And two, recorded video helps when auditing stock and investigating accidents. Make sure to place security cameras near overhead doors that receive orders and ship items—areas of great vulnerability for most warehouses. Other points of interest include next to employee entrances, near high-value stock, and on the exterior of the facility. Some security cameras even come with advanced analytics that help stop crime before it even happens.
3) Access Control: An access control system is a powerful security tool that makes it possible to keep close tabs on activity throughout your warehouse. A card- or fob-based access control system enables you to restrict access to specific areas while also helping during internal investigations. Access control systems record and save data. Used with security camera footage, you can narrow down who entered an area, when they entered, and why.
The question is, should you put access readers on every door? Our advice: restrict access to the warehouse floor. Give access to only those employees who work on the floor. Other employees, like those who work in HR, likely don’t need regular access areas with high-value goods.
4) Security Guards: The presence of on-site security guards is a common loss prevention technique. Guards can act as a deterrent to theft, help monitor entrances and exits, and respond to alarms. Base the number of security guards you need per shift on your warehouse’s size and number of employees. A typical warehouse, for example, might employ two guards per shift: one stationed at the entrance to verify employee badges and help visitors and one stationed on the exterior of the building to inspect trailers and keep an eye on entry points.
Employee safety and warehouse security go hand-in-hand.
Building up physical security systems will no doubt fortify your warehouse against theft. But theft is not the only loss you should be worried about. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) says that American warehouses suffer a disproportionately high employee accident rate. The fatal injury rate is also higher in warehouses than the U.S.’s national average.
Warehouses are active environments. People are constantly moving. Heavy machinery is commonplace. Production lines have many large and dangerous moving parts.
Reducing the accident rate is key for businesses in the shipping and logistics industry. Employee injury is costly and can impact the bottom line. Employers face lost productivity, replacement costs, and costs associated with potential liability.
So, what does that all mean? A workplace safety plan is a must.
When it comes to warehouse safety, your first step should be to follow all OSHA guidelines. OSHA has developed workplace safety regulations and guides and failing to follow their rules can result in fines, penalties, and litigation. Many of these guidelines may already be in place; but it’s always a good idea to audit existing policies and update procedures where necessary. At a basic level, a warehouse safety plan should have policies and procedures in place that account for:
- Personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Vehicle and equipment safety
- Clear hazardous materials communication
- Emergency action plan (EAP)
Developing and communicating warehouse safety guidelines is important in preventing workplace accidents, protecting staff, and reducing loss.
Prioritizing security and safety is good for business.
Warehouses that prioritize security and safety can improve employee satisfaction and experience more productivity. Physical security in the form of burglar alarms and security cameras enable loss prevention specialists to keep a close eye on inventory. A robust employee safety plan keeps the workplace running smoothly and can lead to fewer disruptions. If it is not already, make protecting staff and product a focus going forward.
To learn how Bay Alarm can help secure your warehouse, contact us today! Our state-of-the-art security systems are custom built and professionally installed to secure your company and meet all building codes. Get in touch now.