In an ideal world, businesses and organisations would be able to store stock, equipment, and other valuable items with minimal security. In reality, we all understand that threats such as organised crime, opportunistic theft, and vandalism mean that any warehouse needs to be protected by an effective security system.Taking responsibility for installing or updating warehouse security, therefore, requires a good deal of careful thought and planning. While all security products and services have their uses, no one solution can claim to be able to solve the problem of warehouse security entirely.
Instead, it is essential to consider the specific requirements and circumstances of the warehouse in question in detail. This is no simple task, so to help we've put together this brief guide which includes some factors to consider, and an overview of the types of warehouse security solutions which are available.
Warehouse building and surrounding area
From a security perspective, a purpose built warehouse building located on a large plot away from residential or retail areas has many obvious advantages. Security features such as fixed CCTV cameras, lighting, alarms, and fencing can be built into the facility, and a low footfall will limit exposure to the risk of opportunistic theft or vandalism. It is also possible to integrate APNR technology with any gates or barriers in order to monitor and control vehicles entering the premises for much less than you would have thought. It gives you the benefit of being able to search back through video footage by the number plate of a vehicle. However, an isolated warehouse can also be a disadvantage, as incident detection or police response could be hindered or delayed.
Similarly, older warehouse buildings located in urban areas are both threatened and protected by the local population. Anyone responsible for a warehouse of this type will need to engage with the local community and the police, and take extra care to ensure that the security technology they install works effectively with the building itself.
If you are in the process of acquiring a warehouse facility, consider striking a balance between these two extremes by opting for a modern, purpose built building located either on the fringes of an urban area or on a small industrial estate within the town boundary.
Nature of items in storage
Very often, the principal security threats which must be addressed are dictated by what is actually being stored. Consumer goods, especially small electrical items, are attractive to thieves and staff, so a warehouse manager responsible for securing such items would be well advised to concentrate resources on installing extensive CCTV and alarm technology. CCTV offers 24 hour protection, and can be monitored remotely to reduce staffing costs. It can also be combined with face recognition technology and access control systems to audit who goes in and out of certain areas and restrict access to unauthorised personnel.
Food, on the other hand, is important to monitor and control access to the production and storage facilities from a health and safety perspective. Using Access Control technology, as well as through managerial supervision and strategy can reduce a chance of contamination. CCTV can also be used to monitor a production line to ensure best practices are followed.
Items with no obvious monetary value to the general public, for example museum archives or sensitive data, can be targeted by professional criminals. Therefore, a more sophisticated approach to security which could utilise advanced techniques such as face recognition technology or Avigilon's Unusual Motion Detection (UMD) system is required. This technology is also useful in warehouse security more generally.
Staffing and operations
The number of staff on site and the way in which the warehouse operates has many security implications. Staff can trigger false alarms, thereby compromising the efficiency of the security system, and might themselves pose a security threat. So effective training for staff on the purpose and use of the system is essential. Equally, frequent deliveries and dispatches of goods increases vulnerability to theft. At the same time, any security system which is in place must be able to operate with minimal disruption to the day to day running of the warehouse. The complexities here are self-evident, so seek advise from an experienced security consultant before making any firm decisions.
Integrate security solutions
It is worth pointing out that all of the security techniques mentioned above can be applied to a greater or lesser extent in most warehouse security scenarios. However, a specific item of security technology won't always be appropriate. For example, a basic motion detection system might be unsuitable if a security staff are patrolling on site due to the likelihood of frequent false alarms, or if the premises operates 24 hours a day. The key to success is to be aware of issues like this and to install a variety of security equipment which can be co-ordinated using a central control system to create an integrated security solution, with an emphasis on the technology which is most effective in the circumstances.
The advantages of installing an advanced warehouse security system are undeniable and these include:
- Reducing the need security operatives
- Preventing losses due to external and internal theft
- Enhance the efficiency with which the warehouse or production line operates.
- Monitor and improve health and safety related issues
At Contact Fire & Security, we highly advise implementing a 360° security strategy which utilises most, if not all of the strategies mentioned above in order to ensure optimal 24-hour warehouse security. Arranging a free visit from one of our expert security consultants is an excellent first step towards finding out exactly how this can be achieved at your own warehouse.