Warehouses are the lifeblood of supply chains, serving as storage hubs for valuable goods, equipment, and inventory. As such, they are often prime targets for theft, vandalism, and other security threats. Ensuring the security of warehouses is not only essential for protecting stored assets but also for maintaining the trust of vital clients and partners.
VLT Logistics are well versed in the complexities of mitigating security risks through the following warehouse security best practices.
1. Access Control and Surveillance Systems
Access control is the first line of defence with regards to warehouse security. It is vital to control who can enter the facility and employ up-to-date surveillance systems that allow you to monitor their movements, should you suspect any ill intentions.
The following are crucial access control considerations for our warehouses:
- Secure entry and delivery points
All entry points to warehouses should be well-secured with sturdy locks, access card systems or biometric scanners. This includes interior and exterior delivery points, windows, loading docks, gates and fences.
- Access cards and key fobs
Secure entry points should be further protected by granting access only to trusted individuals and employees with personalised access cards and key fobs. This not only prevents unauthorised entry to the warehouse, but allows monitoring of who enters and exits the building, and at what time.
If there is a security threat inside the warehouse, this system provides instant data on who was inside the building at the time of the incident.
- Security cameras
Comprehensive networks of security cameras provide a visual overview of the internal and external warehouse premises, allowing clear, timely monitoring of key areas. Entrances, storage areas and loading docks can be monitored by an internal security team to keep on top of potential security threats, and reviewed if there are reports of unauthorised individuals on-site.
- Alarms and alerts
Intrusion alarms are an integral part of warehouse security. When linked to CCTV systems, they can detect unauthorised entry before it is picked up by human eyes. These systems can trigger alerts and notify security personnel or law enforcement in case of a breach.
- Perimeter security
Warehouses should have a perimeter of secure gates, fencing and alarms to prevent entry. This will prevent theft and vandalism from occurring, and provides an additional level of solidity.
- Regular security audits
Regular security audits allow for swift identification of vulnerabilities in the security of warehouses before they are exploited externally. They ensure that all systems and personnel are operating effectively, and that policy is adhered to.
2. Employee Training
Employees are an essential part of a warehouse’s security ecosystem. Studies have shown that 95% of cybersecurity breaches are due to human error.
Training and background checks are crucial to ensure that everyone is committed to maintaining a secure environment, and fully aware of the threats that the warehouse environment faces.
All employees should undergo strict security training to learn about access control, surveillance systems, and how to prevent and respond to security breaches. This covers both physical and cyber threats. In every secure warehouse, clear procedures are established for reporting suspicious activities or security incidents as they occur.
It is also vital that every new employee has a thorough background check conducted before they are inducted into the role.
3. Airtight Inventory Management and Tracking
Inventory management is not only essential for efficient warehouse operations but also for security. Maintaining tight control over your inventory helps prevent theft, loss, and mismanagement of stock.
Inventory audits: Regular inventory audits give a broad account of all items within the warehouse, and the ability to investigate discrepancies immediately.
Secure storage and loading procedure: Implement strict protocols for loading and unloading goods. Checking incoming and outgoing shipments ensures the accuracy and integrity of moving stock, which should be stored in secure, limited-access areas within the warehouse. Use locked cages or safes when necessary.
Inventory tracking systems: Implement inventory tracking systems that use RFID or barcodes to monitor the movement of goods within the warehouse. These systems can help detect unauthorised removal of stock.
VLT Logistics implements the use of Real Time Data Warehousing which allows instant access to data, with information readily available.
4. Cybersecurity and Data Protection
Cybersecurity threats are becoming more sophisticated and in many ways, safeguarding digital assets is even more critical than protecting physical property. Warehouse logistics companies have access to a broad range of sensitive and GDPR protected information including customer, employee and client data. Cybersecurity measures are essential to ensure that this sensitive data is protected.
- Network security Cyber attacks can be prevented through the implementation of robust firewall security, intrusion detection systems and regular software updates.
- Data encryption: Sensitive data must be encrypted to make it unreadable to unauthorised users. This is particularly important for financial data and employee records.
- Employee training: The majority of cybersecurity breaches occur due to human error making employee training vital in the fight against cyber attacks. Warehouse employees, regardless of responsibility, must be trained to practise safe online behaviour. This covers anything from phishing attempts to scam phone calls and other GDPR training.
- Backup and Recovery: Whilst prevention is the first step to protecting companies from cybersecurity threats, disaster recovery plans must be in place in case of data breaches or system failures. A secure back-up plan can make the difference between complete disaster, and the continuation of a company should an attack occur.
5. Warehouse layout
Proper lighting and warehouse layout can play a significant role in deterring theft and security breaches. For example, ensuring the warehouse has clear lines of sight for both personnel and security cameras will eliminate blind spots where unauthorised activities could go unnoticed.
Adequate lighting inside and outside the warehouse provides clear surveillance footage and discourages theft as entry to the site will be easily noticed by on-site security.
Ensuring the security of warehouses is an ongoing process that requires continuous assessment, proactive planning and mitigation strategies that span every area of the business. As trusted logistics experts, VLT Logistics have access to over 500,000 square feet of secure warehouse storage which we protect using quality control services, under-cover loading, 24 hour manned security and CCTV, to keep your goods and data protected at every stage of the supply chain. When you put your trust in us, we follow through.