Warehouses are an integral part of any supply chain and are usually home to large quantities of high-value goods.
They are and have always been, a lucrative target for criminals, and due to their size and complex layout, vulnerabilities are inevitable.
Securing warehouses and their assets can pose quite a challenge for the owners and managers with threats from both the outside and inside the premises.
Internal threats, such as employee theft, is a real issue faced by almost all warehouse owners, and keeping a check on the people inside is just as important as guarding it against outside dangers.
One thing to note here is that it’s not just the inventory in a warehouse that needs protection. When evaluating warehouse security, three things need to be considered – property, people, and data.
Focusing on these three will help you come up with the best practices to secure your warehouse from all kinds of threats.
Here are our top tips for improving warehouse security and ensuring that you, your property, and its people stay safe and protected.
TIP # 1: RUN A RISK ASSESSMENT
The first step towards eliminating risk is to identify it. All warehouses are different; some may be prone to break-ins while others might be at a greater risk of fires.
A security risk assessment ensures that you have the best and complete information on hand to make informed decisions about your warehouse security.
Knowing which areas to focus on will help come up with a much better security plan that takes into account all the vulnerabilities and potential threats.
According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), warehouse owners must conduct a proper risk assessment where they identify the risks, determine who or what is at risk, evaluate the risks, record the observations, and implement the necessary measures to eliminate them.
To get the best results, have your warehouse risk assessment conducted by a professional security company where an experienced contractor will come to your warehouse and identify all the potential risks on the premises. These include all the at-risk entry and exit points along with the fire hazards.
They will then make suggestions to implement new security measures, if needed, and help improve the existing ones for the best results.
TIP # 2: SECURE YOUR DOORS AND WINDOWS
The doors and windows on a property are the first lines of defence against intrusions and theft. They are the main access points into the warehouse and it is mandatory to secure them.
When choosing a target, the main thing, apart from how much valuables they hope to find, burglars look for ease of access. According to statistics, 67% of burglars break in through a door and 29% break-in through a window.
Flimsy doors and windows that can easily be knocked down or broken are as good as not having them at all, which is why strengthening all the potential entrances, on all sides of the property, with high-quality locks is vital.
Some people think that just having a lock is good enough, but they could not be more wrong. The security of your entry points is only as good and strong as the locks on them.
Burglars use a very common technique known as “lock-snapping” where they snap open doors fitted with standard euro-cylinder locks. All it takes is a few seconds, some DIY tools, and a bit of strength.
TIP # 3: INSTALL BURGLAR ALARMS
How great would it be if there were an automated system that would alert you the second someone tried to gain unauthorised access into your property? Well, good news! Burglar alarms were made for just the purpose.
Burglar alarms are a basic physical security requirement that alert people of an intrusion, possibly scaring away the perpetrators.
They work using a series of sensors that go off as soon as they detect any suspicious activity, notifying the owners, keyholders, or anyone in charge to take the necessary action.
Burglar alarms come equipped with different kinds of sensors. Motion sensors are used to detect movements and are very handy when the requirement is to detect unusual activity in the warehouse.
Other sensors include infrared, ultrasonic, microwave, magnetic, photoelectric, and glass-break detectors.
There are different types of burglar alarms, each of which offers a different level of alertness to its users. The bells-only system is the most basic intruder alarm type that triggers an alarm in the form of sounds and lights and relies on people nearby to respond to it.
Dialler alarms do the same with the addition of automatically dialling the warehouse owners, managers, or whoever’s nominated to be contacted in the event of an alarm trigger.
The best, and most secure, form of burglar alarms for warehouses are the ones that are professionally monitored by an Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC). They guarantee a response and offer great peace of mind to the owners, managers, and workers, and are particularly effective when the warehouse is uninhabited, such as during the night.
TIP # 4: USE SURVEILLANCE
Most warehouses are built over an expansive area and keeping an eye on every corner of the property can be very difficult.
Instead of employing security guards on every corner of the warehouse, which can be quite heavy on the pocket and a little difficult to manage, warehouse owners must invest in surveillance systems and install CCTV cameras on the property.
Using the risk assessment to identify the areas that need a constant lookout, such as the main entry and exit points and areas where high-value inventory is stored, CCTV cameras must be used to record and monitor the footage both in real-time and also to be viewed later.
The fear of being watched keeps criminals away and the employees’ behaviour in check. In addition to being one of the most effective deterrents against burglaries, the footage captured by the cameras helps make catching the criminals much easier by identifying them and using the recordings as evidence in the court of law.
There are various types of CCTV cameras, each of which comes with specialised features used for a specific purpose.
The most popular ones include bullet, dome, C-mount, PTZ (pan/tilt/zoom), day/night, infrared/night vision, network/IP, wired, wireless, and high definition (HD) CCTV cameras.
Choosing the best one for your warehouse depends on several factors that include the camera’s resolution, the field of view, placement (indoor or outdoor), power supply, budget, and additional features that include professional monitoring, smartphone notifications, remote access, and two-way communication.
TIP # 5: LIMIT AND CONTROL ACCESS
Most crime takes place due to illegal, forced, and unauthorised entry. With so many workers running here and there, heavy machinery being used back and forth, and daily turnover of shipments, access control in warehouses can be a bit of a challenge.
The first step to tackle the issue is to stop relying on manual data entry processes and implement an automated access control system to keep track of who’s entering and leaving which area and when.
Access control systems, also known as keyless door entry systems, eliminate the use of keys and offer much more in terms of control by managing access along with establishing access permissions for different areas of the property.
These permissions not only determine the areas the user can be granted access to, but can also include specific permitted hours of access as well.
These systems are particularly effective since keys can be lost, stolen, or copied, compromising the security of the warehouse.
Access control not just prevents external threats but also manages internal threats, such as employees trying to gain access to a prohibited area, and logically speaking, it is much easier for employees of a warehouse, who are familiar with the layout and activities, to steal products and money than it is for an outside burglar.
There are various types of authentication methods that access control systems can use to grant or deny access through their entry points. The simple ones, such as access cards and pins are relatively cheaper, whereas biometric verification and smart access can be a bit on the pricier side.
TIP # 6: INVEST IN FIRE SAFETY
Warehouses store all kinds of goods, some of which can be highly flammable, and their improper storage and handling may lead to serious risk of fires causing damage to both life and property.
All commercial properties, including warehouses, are required by the law to conduct a thorough fire risk assessment to identify the risks and do what needs to be done to prevent any accidents or fire-related incidents.
As a general rule of fire safety, warehouse owners must invest in fire alarm systems for the early detection of fires and to avoid smoke inhalation causing injuries to the warehouse workers.
All fire alarm systems operate using specialised detectors that can sense smoke or heat. In the event of a fire, a fire alarm is capable of alerting everyone in the premises to evacuate immediately and more importantly, call the fire department to deal with the blaze before it spreads and becomes uncontrollable.
There are two types of fire alarms to choose from; conventional and addressable systems. While both link initiating devices such as sensors, detectors, and pull-stations to the control panel, they differ in the way they are linked and work.
Conventional fire alarms are set up in zones that help identify the location of the fire by identifying the zone on the system, whereas addressable systems enable the identification of the exact place where the fire erupted.
Fire alarm monitoring is a great feature to be used for warehouses that links the fire alarm system to a professional Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) that constantly monitors your system. The ARC is guaranteed to take an instant action in case of a fire by reaching out to the fire department and relevant authorities.
TIP # 7: TRAIN YOUR EMPLOYEES
The safety and security of your warehouse are directly linked to how well-informed and trained your employees are. Therefore, as part of warehouse security, it is essential to train the workers to understand and efficiently use the security systems installed to make the working environment safe and comfortable for everyone.
As part of a more inclusive work environment, involve the employees in the decision-making process and be open to input and suggestions from them. After all, they’re the ones who have to use and properly implement them.
Some workers, due to age or whatever reason, might be reluctant on switching to automated and more advanced systems and might face a difficult time getting used to them.
You, as the warehouse owner or manager, must ensure that all the warehouse employees are properly trained to ensure effective warehouse security.
TIP # 8: IMPLEMENT A STRICT SCREENING PROCESS
Your employees are the backbone of your business and, as mentioned above, your security is only as good as how good and loyal they are.
You must hire people you can trust, and who do not have a criminal record, since a lot of the threats faced by warehouses come from the inside – specifically from disgruntled employees and those with ill-intent.
When hiring employees, make sure you put them through a strict screening process and run background checks on each. It will help you identify the ones who might be a good fit and add to the safety and security of your warehouse, in addition to identifying the ones who could contribute to inventory theft.
TIP # 9: KEEP A SECURITY DOG
Dogs have been around much longer than security alarms, CCTV cameras, and access control systems, and are known to provide great security benefits to all kinds of people in both residential and commercial settings.
Dogs, if used along with other security systems, can add to the security of a warehouse and help keep intruders and burglars away.
If trained properly, they can pick up on discrepancies in their surroundings such as certain words, voices, and body language and, quite like the sensors in burglar alarms, dogs keep a vigilant eye on their surroundings and take action as soon as they detect something unusual.
Dogs develop what you call a territorial instinct and strongly identify with what they think is theirs by becoming extremely protective. Their alertness, responsiveness, and natural hunting capability, are enough to scare away anyone trying to sneak into your property and cause you any sort of harm.
Some of the best dogs for warehouse security are German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Dobermans, Akitas, and Rhodesian Ridgebacks.
TIP # 10: CHOOSE A RELIABLE SECURITY COMPANY
Just implementing security systems and measures is not enough to guarantee maximum warehouse protection. You must choose a reliable security company to provide you with state-of-the-art services and also guide you along the way.
At Calder Security, we understand the special security that warehouses require and are here to provide you with a comprehensive security solution that includes not just professional installation but also monitoring, maintenance, and repair services.
We understand that every warehouse is different and the specifications of the system depend on several factors including the type of warehouse, the nature of the inventory, and the number of employees and staff.
We are SSAIB approved installers and follow all the best practices in the industry. We do not compromise on quality and install only high-quality, state-of-the-art security equipment.
We offer various levels of monitoring via a 24-hour monitoring centre, using Dualcom and BT Redcare signalling, which is the most secure alarm monitoring system and the largest supplier of intelligent alarm signalling services in the UK.
We understand the importance of having to regularly maintain security systems since the inability to do so might result in serious faults and consequent vulnerabilities in the security.
We provide professional maintenance checks and reminders for when the checks are due to help you stay compliant with the law, and work fast to restore your security systems to excellent condition.
We have been working in the security industry for over 40 years and have the experience to work on several systems.
We offer a 24-hour call-out service for customers and can also repair systems not installed by us. Our engineers are highly skilled and can restore faulty systems to full working order in one visit.
Contact us here or call us on 0800 612 9799 to talk to our experts right away!