10 steps to loading dock security
- — 07 October, 2008 12:30
Beef up access control
Regulations like C-TPAT that address loading dock security place access control above all. Badges, gates, cameras, guards, barriers, bollards, turnstiles, biometric devices -- Purtell recommends that his clients employ several of these at the least, backed up by well-documented procedures and well-trained personnel. "High-risk areas should have concentric rings of security," he says, starting with access badges, video cameras and gates, and rising to biometric devices such as fingerprint readers or retina scanners for the most insecure areas or where the potential value of loss is high.
Keep the overhead doors locked
Under the heading of access control, don't succumb to the temptation to let overhead loading dock doors stay open during business hours, advises Alan Greggo, associate VP of loss prevention for Luxottica Retail, an eyewear retailer. "Access to the key that unlocks those doors should be severely limited, perhaps to just one supervisor. When those people go on break and lunch they will press a button, the camera clicks on and shows who the person is and then lets the person in," says Greggo. That door is also wired to the control room. As much as employees might complain, the key is to not leave those doors open so people go in and out at will. "If you do that, you lose internal and external control. Sometimes people want the ease of flow, in and out, but from a security standpoint, there is not enough control," he says. "Just having a rent-a-guard there does not give enough security. You have to find out who's present and who is overseeing what is being taken in and out of the facility."
Secure your supply chain
It is human nature to concentrate on what is directly in front of you. Many companies therefore work hard to secure the loading docks at their own facilities but don't pay much attention to security measures used by their supply chain partners. "People lose sight of cargo when it leaves their factory and it goes into a black hole called the supply chain. They pay for high security at their factories and contract manufacturing locations," he says. "But unless they put requirements into their supply chain, they won't like the way it's treated and stored. A lot of companies turn a blind eye to it unless they have huge exposure."
Focus on trucks
In the Alltel robbery mentioned above, the thieves stole trucks locally and brought them to the warehouse to load up with loot. In this instance, the warehouse and loading docks were the locus of the loss. But First Advantage data collected from customers indicates that 85 percent of financial loss now occurs at the trucking stage, as opposed to warehousing. "A few years ago, warehousing accounted for 40 percent of losses, now it's 10 percent or 12 percent," says Purtell. It pays to concentrate more on the truck features as well as on driver training. Drivers should be restricted to a waiting room and bathroom, he adds, and have no access to the count area. "Drivers should be restricted and controlled in the dock. They should not have access to a shipping/receiving area. That driver could take a couple of boxes from the prestaged cargo area in the next bay and put them on one of their palettes. Or make plans for a future attack," says Purtell.