As businesses look to increasingly optimize their supply chains, warehouses are likewise being optimized to help keep processes streamlined and inventory moving.
But as they evolve and become increasingly automated, new distribution and warehouse security risks present themselves.
According to the FBI, $14.3 billion in property losses were reported in a single year.
And though it would be nice to imagine that the only threats were professional thieves, the sad truth is that opportunistic delivery drivers and warehouse staff can be an even greater worry.
Five Points of Warehouse Security
Faced with potential losses from within as well as without, you need a comprehensive security plan to protect your inventory.
Potential thieves have a few different points through which they can attack your security. To maximize your protection, you should go through them point-by-point.
1. Identify Your Vulnerabilities
The first step towards protecting your facility is identifying potential problem areas.
To an extent, these will be dependant on your unique circumstances. Things like building layout and the number of personnel in the building at any time will inform the strategy you take.
However, there are certain warehouse security risks that are more-or-less universal.
2. Avoid Relying on Manual Data Entry
When you receive new inventory it needs to be checked in, and this is the easiest time for product to go missing. If a driver or warehouse employee decided that something wouldn’t be missed, it would be easy to make it fall off the back of a truck, so to speak.
Even if no one has larceny on their agenda, the fact is that manually cataloging inventory upon arrival simply takes up too much time.
For this reason, it is basically essential to have your receiving dock equipped with either mobile barcode scanners or RFID readers to quickly and efficiently receive deliveries.
3. Ensure Proper Data Security Protocols
Physical security shouldn’t be your only concern. Data threats aren’t merely limited to compromised accounts, and you should head the growing need for data protection.
Allowing your warehouse management system to become compromised could be disastrous. It is critical that you make sure only authorized personnel can access these systems, and that they are protected with strong, distinct passwords linked to each individual user.
That way, you can keep a record of who accesses your system, when, and what they were doing.
4. Keep Special Areas Physically Separated Off
It stands to reason that would-be thieves can’t make off with your inventory if they can’t get to it.
Adding physical barriers between sections of your warehouse assigned to different tasks. Institute access control procedures for each area. This will compartmentalize your security and help keep sensitive areas off-limits.
5. Create a Visitor Protocol
It will often be necessary for your warehouse to entertain guests.
Delivery people, contractors, and investors may all need to come and go from time-to-time. It is important to develop a plan to make sure that any visitors are checked-in, checked-out, and only admitted into areas relevant to their purposes.
Design Your Security to Meet Your Purposes
Whether you handle manufacturing, distribution, or storage, proper warehouse security is critical to ensure that your inventory only goes where it is supposed to go. By considering the needs of your business and bearing these tips in mind, you can devise a plan to meet your needs.
For more tips on better business management, check out our other articles.