How many measures do you put into practice to improve the security of your warehouse? Warehouses are the places of transit or permanence of our clients’ merchandise and that makes them places to protect. But… What do we do to make this security a reality?
There are several approaches from which warehouse security can be analyzed and treated: from the very design of the facilities to the prevention of theft. And, how can it be otherwise, we must analyze what are the consequences and benefits that our efforts will bring us when it comes to shielding our warehouses.
What can I do to increase the security of my warehouse?
Safety is one of the most important things we have to think about when designing our warehouse. Some people may believe that security consists only of avoiding theft, but the care of the merchandise also has to do with preventing the merchandise from suffering involuntary damage during its life in the warehouse.
Among the main ways to achieve this is the planning and separation of spaces. That is, adequately delimit and easily visible areas for various tasks: preparation of orders, transfers of merchandise, reception of materials, waste, etc. This also includes the visual and/or physical separation, when possible, of the transit areas for personnel and for machines.
Another method is the elements that protect the components of the warehouse itself. Among the most feared logistical nightmares is an accident that causes multiple racks to topple over each other in a domino effect. To minimize this risk, there are protective barriers for racks, which are placed on the sides of the racks to avoid impacts. When installing them, remember to take into account that they represent a reduction in space, including that available for machinery (such as forklifts) to maneuver.
Finally, it must be remembered that security also includes the exterior of the ship. In this case, we refer to the installation of elements that prevent the possible entry by force through the use of vehicles as a battering ram. That is, in a similar way to the anti-moon landing measures that are commonly used in businesses.
caring for people
The importance of warehouse design should not make us forget to take care of the human side, which is the most important and the most fragile. It is common to see warehouses in which the use of protective elements -safety footwear, clothing that increases visibility, gloves, etc.- is still not respected, even though there is signage reminding them of their obligation.
The best way to implement these good habits is by example. It is very difficult for a staff to internalize them if they see how managers and office staff go down to the warehouse without conforming to these rules, so they too will become lax in complying with these protocols.
The management of the company must also ensure that the workforce is trained in the use of security elements and the machinery with which it works, in addition to the good condition of said machinery. If the employees see in their day to day that the safety or work elements are in poor condition, they will be creating an ideal breeding ground in which contempt for safety forms part of the company’s culture.
A warehouse is often accessed by various people outside the warehouse and the company
Prevent against theft
Thefts are a source of decreases in merchandise. The large shopping centers calculate each year the percentage of thefts that they estimate they will suffer, and the world of logistics -and the companies that partially or totally manage their supply chain- is no stranger to this.
The origin of the thefts can be internal or external. The most common thing is that a warehouse can be accessed by various people outside the company (people who deliver or collect merchandise, people even not related to the activity of the warehouse, etc.) and that they can also be from many companies, to do it all in one little more complicated.
In any case, the recipes to try to prevent theft are going to be common for both cases: prevention and signposting. Preventive measures include access control, monitoring and recording of merchandise areas and entrances and exits, additional restrictions in especially sensitive areas (or with objects and products of higher value), etc. With regard to signage, it is necessary to underline the deterrent effect of notices that what happens in the facilities is being recorded. There is a part of the thefts that are not premeditated or “professional” but are due to opportunism or the impulse of those who think they see a good opportunity; to prevent these cases, signs are usually especially effective.
Benefits of good security
Improving the security of our warehouse will have very positive consequences for the company and its environment. A staff that carries out its work in an environment in which safety is valued and in which it is provided with the necessary materials and training will be more motivated and will feel more identified with the company.
The image of the firm itself will also be reinforced. Customers who can visit your facilities and those who notice an improvement in the number of incidents (losses, breakages, etc.) will raise their perception of our quality and the service received.
Finally, we must also highlight the improvement in costs for the company that owns the warehouse. Although in everything related to security the first point is always the physical integrity of people, in the background there will also be cost improvements due to the reduction of accidents, casualties, thefts or compensation to customers for possible breakages.
In summary, a warehouse in which safety is the central pillar will improve the happiness of workers, the image of the company, the service and the relationship with customers. There are plenty of reasons to review what else we can do to improve the security of our logistics warehouses.