Ian Hodgson, managing director, north region at ADT Fire & Security, looks at the key security measures to consider that can improve factory and warehouse security and deter criminal activity in these environments
Factories and warehouses can be seen as goldmines for would-be criminals, targeting high value goods, equipment and materials and drawn by the potential to escape with vast quantities of stock in a short amount of time. Robust security should therefore be a priority for any operations manager to help ensure asset security, business continuity and staff safety while helping to mitigate potential risks.
We know that the operational and commercial success of any business depends on its ability to manage risk and many achieve this by going well beyond basic standalone physical security systems. Businesses are increasingly combining access control, video surveillance and intruder detection systems into one integrated solution designed to offer maximum protection of assets and a safe and secure working environment for employees by enhancing the effectiveness of security systems through vastly improved communication.
It is therefore vital that these security solutions be tailored to the specific business requirements and specifications of the building and site, looking specifically at the layout, location and surrounding areas to determine the most effective solution. Additionally, premises security is also an important consideration due to insurance, with a physical security system often being a policy requirement.
In recent times, there have been cases where criminals have used vehicles to ‘ram raid’ walls to gain access to a factory or warehouse. In addition to stock loss, such acts also cause large amounts of structural damage and significant disruption for the business. Security should therefore begin at the site perimeter, to restrict and control access to the site. Access control systems; such as barriers, bollards and ramps can help to physically control the flow of vehicles to and from the site.
Access control for vehicles can be controlled using radio-frequency identification (RFID) for contactless access control and automatic number plate recognition (ANPR); ensuring only permitted vehicles are allowed to pass through with minimal inconvenience for staff, contractors and visitors. When ANPR is combined with high definition Mega-Pixel CCTV at each access point, security operators are able to track the flow of vehicles and staff to and from the site through clear, sharp images. This reduces the chance of any suspicious activity going unnoticed.
Biometrics (fingerprint or retina scanners), smartcards or passwords, can be used in order to control the movement of people within the building. Access control smartcards can also be integrated with employee time and attendance, providing additional analytics, cost savings and benefits to the business.
HD CCTV technology is being rapidly deployed as it provides a higher quality of discernible detail compared with older CCTV technology, thereby greatly improving image quality for facial recognition purposes. CCTV can also be mounted on existing IP networks; reducing installation costs, allowing for remote monitoring and providing greater coverage through more versatile camera placement.
This level of detail also means that post-event analysis can be conducted far faster; enabling investigators to analyse and process data more efficiently and accurately in the event of a problem. Electronic timestamps also allow for quicker and more accurate searching of archived data for police and security staff when conducting criminal investigations.
Bringing it together on a PSIM
A Physical Security Information Management (PSIM) software platform unifies all of these solutions, simplifying the command and control of otherwise disparate security systems. It seamlessly brings together events from individual access control, CCTV, intruder detection and fire systems, thereby greatly enhancing the situational awareness of security operators and reducing the time needed to react to any security infringements. Pre-defined logic can also be programmed for incoming events; this means that an appropriate response and workflow is presented to operators based on the unfolding scenario.
Operations managers want all of these technologies on an easy to manage platform, one which allows 24/7 remote monitoring and offering cost efficiencies without sacrificing overall security levels. This is known as an ‘Integrated System’, where each, previously standalone, component communicates with a focal platform.
By following the tangible steps discussed, and implementing a multi-layered integrated security approach, factories and warehouses can easily enhance their overall security, ensuring both the safety of staff, the protection of stock and safeguarding their bottom line. Combine this with the constant surveillance of people and vehicles on the property and operations managers can be reassured their property is secure – no matter what time of day.
ADT Fire & Security
T: 0800 4587 999