The humble warehouse plays an outside role in the operation of many companies. Literally, a house for cared-for commodities, warehouses contribute an important service to their industries. Warehouses give products and supplies a place to be when they're not in motion.
So, warehouses are the buffer, the damper, and the sponge which soak up excess products when there are too many and release them when there are too few.
While the warehouse itself is static, it allows the dynamic operation of the company to flow through it. This makes warehouses not only useful but indispensable - and vulnerable.
Considered from a different angle, looking in from the outside, the warehouse is the place where the greatest amount of a company's physical value is collected.
Since warehouses don't move, these valuable goods are also the easiest to find.
Without active operations occurring, like at a factory, refinery, port, or another large repository of goods, warehouses are less likely to be staffed, and so, are less defended. Which makes an easier target - a flock of geese high in their V, or a sitting duck? Without a competent security warehouse system, your warehouse is that duck.
Sadly, we live in a world where one's loss can be another's profit. Companies face potential threats to their warehouses including theft, sabotage, and even outright occupation by intruders. While we typically think of threats as external, these issues can also arise internally.
Additionally, natural forces like floods, winds, and infestations may also damage or devalue warehouses.
Warehouses need effective security systems to protect against human, natural, internal, and external threats.
Elements of warehouse security systems include static and dynamic defenses. Some defense mechanisms are complex, with elements of both. Static defenses include measures such as fences, walls, and other physical barriers.
Static defenses don't move or take action; they only provide physical obstacles that malicious actors must pass under, through, or over to reach their vicious goals.
Dynamic defenses are defenses which do move, like people. While other dynamic defenses have been used throughout history - guard dogs, for instance - the best defense is often people. There is no wall which can be built which cannot be crossed unless somebody stands on top to guard it. So why not lose the walls and hire more security guards?
Simply put: money. Walls and fences cost money to build, but not so much to maintain. Human security guards cost a lot to maintain. Hiring enough security guards to protect a warehouse, without increasing their strength and ability with fences, walls, and sensors would be prohibitively expensive.
The best method of warehouse security, then, is a combined method. Fences and walls keep out malicious actors. Security teams allow employees and other approved individuals inside the warehouse. Since security teams can move, they don't have to be everywhere at once. Anytime a possible threat arises, however, they must be able to respond quickly and accurately to handle the situation.
Sensors bridge the gap between static and dynamic defenses. Sensors - including cameras but also temperature sensors, motion sensors, and door alarm sensors - are static defenses in that they are motionless. They are dynamic in that they enable action - when an intrusion or dangerous situation is detected, sensors relay critical information. Then, security personnel are alerted and know where to go and what they might find when they get there.
Complete security warehouse systems involve sensors which can cause dynamic defensive action before any human security arrives.
For instance, if a motion sensor detects unauthorized access, the warehouse system can respond by automatically locking doors.
More advanced responses can be programmed into sensors as well, so long as this is done with foresight. Say a cooling leak above a diesel turbine has resulted in a super-heated fog of poisonous glycol collecting at the roof of the warehouse. A "canary" sensor measuring atmospheric composition could detect the glycol and use the HVAC system to vent the toxic fog.
These systems involve multiple components and are as different as one warehouse is to the next. Even if the buildings look the same, their products and vulnerabilities won't match exactly. Building sensors into a complete warehouse security system involves tiered information transit.
Devices known as remote terminal units combine sensors and transmission technology. These devices should be located everywhere a warehouse manager suspects a vulnerability.
Locations include fence lines, doors, and rooftop heating and cooling units.
These remote terminal units continuously monitor their areas and send alerts to a central master station when something goes awry. Master stations collect this data and transmit it to a browser interface, where security teams observing can notice and respond with the right resources.
These systems also often include video surveillance of important areas, such as doors, product storage, and employees at work, as well as surveillance of valuable equipment, such as machinery and plastic pallets. When security personnel notices something going wrong on camera, they can respond.
Both static and dynamic defenses are necessary components of security warehouse systems. Cameras and sensors combine the best elements of both, keeping employee costs down while informing appropriate security responses. To implement or improve a warehouse security system, consult with experts on remote monitoring and surveillance.
Image courtesy Unsplash
You need to see DPS gear in action. Get a live demo with our engineers.
Have a specific question? Ask our team of expert engineers and get a specific answer!
Sign up for the next DPS Factory Training!
Whether you're new to our equipment or you've used it for years, DPS factory training is the best way to get more from your monitoring.Reserve Your Seat Today