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5.3.23 – Security Today  – By Mark R. Perkins

Ask any industry analyst to identify the biggest potential risks and liabilities facing distribution, logistics and warehouse management teams today, and the costs related to inventory shrinkage and theft are surely to be near the top of every list. In fact, it’s estimated that more than $50 billion in inventory is stolen from U.S. businesses by employees on average every year. This does not take into account losses from good old-fashioned thieves that prey on the supply chain for a living.

Due to their very nature, what better places are there to steal from than distribution, logistics and warehouse facilities that are stocked from the floor to ceiling with almost every type of merchandise imaginable – virtual candy stores for criminals.

While thefts impact bottom lines, they can also involve physical violence, which adds a whole different dimension and priority to controlling access to distribution, logistics and warehouse operations. The need to curtail workplace violence is another high priority, as it can negatively impact long-term corporate culture and productivity, as well as the reputation of an organization’s brand.

Unfortunately, profit losses due to criminal activities are not a new phenomenon, yet their financial implications continue to increase, further driving the costs of merchandise and operations higher.

However, there are proven ways to help combat criminal activities and loss prevention at distribution, logistics and warehouse facilities by implementing the right combination of physical security measures. Here are seven proven crime prevention tactics being employed at the industry’s leading distribution, logistics and warehouse facilities:

  1. Protect the perimeter/border of facilities so that pedestrian and vehicular traffic can be tightly monitored and controlled.
  2. Secure all facility entrance points so that all visitors and personnel must transverse secured portals upon entering and exiting a facility.
  3. Create multiple entry and exit barriers so there are several layers of entry/exit points when entering/exiting a facility and protected areas within.
  4. Integrate and layer otherwise disparate physical security systems to combine their inherent abilities to identify and authenticate individuals, document their activities, and establish physical barriers that better protect people, property and assets.
  5. Employ visible crime deterrents to let would-be and known criminals realize that security personnel are actively on the lookout for criminal activity.
  6. Establish zones of protection to protect facilities from exterior to interior locations and vice versa.
  7. Collect and analyze entry/egress data to enhance active security and improve workflows.

Go 7 for 7 with a Layered Secured Entry Strategy
Deploying a well-conceived secured entry workflow strategy across all entry and exit points at the perimeter of your distribution, logistics and warehouse facilities, and the access points to critical assets and areas within, will help reduce shrinkage, mitigate liabilities, and maintain compliance – all while reducing costs related to supervised labor, energy conservation, and more.

Like any enterprise level solution, a secured entry strategy needs to conform to established best practices that optimize employee time, training and labor resources, and accommodate the deployment of the latest technologies. Selecting and implementing the best workflow for a secured entry solution depends on the specific entry/exit point workflows for your facility.

Layering security entrances and sensor technologies provides the best way to maintain the level of throughput specific users need, while establishing high levels of physical access at critical entry/egress points.

Consequently, there are security entrance solutions that work well at attended entrances to help best manage traffic flow, and effectively deter and detect unauthorized access. And there are field-proven solutions designed to help prevent unauthorized access at unattended entrances, which has become more of an imperative with hybrid work schedules. To help assist in selecting the right entrance solution for each specific zone of protection, security entrances can be classified into three general classifications.

  1. Prevent tailgating and piggybacking
  2. Detect tailgating and piggybacking
  3. Deter by monitoring or controlling traffic

Security entrances that prevent tailgating and piggybacking allow for the elimination or reallocation of guard supervision, providing security and facility managers with tangible ROI. Also, by collecting metrics gathered by sensor systems in these solutions, security personnel can predict and quantify their actual risk of infiltration. Used often at employee-only entrances and to secure areas containing high-value inventory, sensitive data or personnel, security entrances that prevent unauthorized access deliver the highest levels of protection.

Security entrances that detect tailgating and piggybacking provide a strong visual obstacle against intrusion, and when coupled with biometric and access control devices, can detect unauthorized entry attempts in real-time and issue alarms for security personnel to take immediate action. This category of solutions facilitates both security and visitor management operations and can also support regulatory and risk reduction compliance mandates.

Security entrances that deter unauthorized access serve as a deterrent against casual attempts to gain unauthorized access, and more often are in place to provide an added barrier layer and to help keep people honest. They accomplish this by monitoring or controlling traffic under the supervision of security staff. Solutions that deter unauthorized access are appropriate for exit only applications at facilities that cater to large crowds like retail box stores and warehouses.

Defining Zones of Protection
An effective layered secured entrance solution strategy entails combing the right complement of security entrances in a workflow that facilitates fluid throughput staff and visitors without compromising security. The following is a typical secured entry/egress workflow for distribution, logistics and warehouse facilities.

Perimeter/parking lots can prevent unauthorized access resulting from tailgating and piggybacking with two-way full height turnstiles equipped with access control, intercom, video monitoring, and an adjacent ADA pedestrian gate.

Facility entry, divestment and screening is performed autonomously as employees enter and divest their personal belongings into lockers and proceed through a metal detector attached to one-way in-bound full height turnstiles equipped with access control, ADA entry portal, and weapons detection screening.

Tracking breaks and lunches is performed when employees enter/exit work areas through a waist-high, tripod turnstile. This allows management to collect data on who is on and off the floor, and for how long.

End-of-shift theft deterrence facilitates randomized screening using dual waist-high turnstiles. When exiting a facility, employees approach an array of two waist-high turnstiles: one turnstile leads to an exit, and the other to a search/pat down area with a guard. Both a deterrent and a preventive solution, this exit solution can help put an end to shrinkage due to employee theft.

Exiting facilities is controlled using one-way out-bound full height turnstiles for individuals leaving the randomized screening process area to access lockers and exit the facility.

This is just one working example of a secured entry/egress workflow that is proving effective for industry leading distribution, logistics and warehouse facilities.

The deployment of these physical security devices, many of which do not require supervision, also allow security personnel to focus on other potential penetration points such as loading docks or waste disposal areas. Such secured entry initiatives can help ensure safer and more secure business environments, mitigate risks and liabilities, generate tangible ROI and ultimately help increase profits.