Cargo theft is a worldwide problem that affects thousands of manufacturers and consumers. Recent data shows that damages caused by cargo theft spiked to $19 billion in the first quarter of 2022 in the United States. This shows a massive 73% increase from 2021.
As a warehouse operator, your top priority is protecting your warehouse from cargo theft. Frequent inventory shrinkage can be a big problem in the long run. In most cases, cargo theft is under-reported. This calls for the urgent need to build a high-security warehouse and practice security measures.
While security measures can be applied to all warehouses, keep in mind that the challenge you’re facing depends on your warehouse’s unique location. Here are the following security measures you can use to improve safety measures for both goods and warehouse personnel.
Tips to Improve Your Warehouse Security
There are many ways to improve the security and safety of your warehouse. Here are the top nine tips to decrease cargo theft and protect your business:
1. Invest in High-End Security Cameras
Security cameras play a big role in ensuring the safety of a warehouse. Their innovation over the years has come a long way. Today, you will find all kinds of security camera systems that are suitable for your warehouse. These cameras produce high-quality footage, are powered by artificial intelligence, and often have cloud-based storage. An innovative surveillance system is one of the keys to improving your warehouse security.
Take a look at two different forms of warehouse security cameras:
As the name suggests, bullet cameras come in cylindrical outer casing shapes. In a bustling warehouse where people, goods, and vehicles come and go, the presence of this camera hardly goes unnoticed. Most warehouse operators choose bullet cameras to deter people who are planning to steal goods.
Moreover, bullet cameras have larger lenses and are ideal for long-distance viewing. A bullet camera is ideal if you are hoping to cover a wide, long-range warehouse or places with high traffic. The installation and repositioning of the camera is a no-nonsense procedure.
Dome cameras, on the other hand, are less intrusive and subtle. They often come with adjustable arms and can be installed directly on the walls and ceilings of the warehouse. Unlike bullet cameras, dome security cameras can only provide a panoramic-style viewing angle.
Warehouse operators who use a dome camera often rely on its discreet and non-intrusive appearance. It is often installed in warehouse offices and supply rooms.
Now that you know the two types of warehouse security cameras, let’s look at the factors to consider when choosing the best model for your warehouse:
Warehouses often require durable and weather-beaten hardware that can withstand the harsh elements of environments, equipment, and the lack of temperature control. The security camera should withstand dust and heat, too. When choosing a security camera, make sure it’s weather-rated and vandal-rated.
Security cameras with dust-tight and extreme water protection can secure your warehouse in the long run. These cameras are designed to resist impact, shock, and other harsh elements that are often present in a goods warehouse.
Security cameras with grainy, low-quality footage are as good as nothing if you can’t figure out what’s going on or even make out the face of the culprit. Make sure to invest in a security camera with high-definition footage that allows you to play it back and review the surroundings. Some security cameras with high-quality footage also allow you to zoom in and jot down details.
When it comes to warehouse security, only managers should be given access to the video footage monitored by the security camera. Cloud-based NVR nowadays allows you to access and view the recording from your phone or laptop. The footage is stored safely and is available for remote viewing anytime, anywhere. You don’t need to be tied to your office just to view the footage.
2. Strengthen the Security Gates
One of the most vulnerable entry points in a warehouse is the door gate itself. Adding security measures to the door gate can help to prevent unauthorized entries.
For instance, a fixed scissor gate helps prevent unauthorized access while keeping it open. You don’t need to sacrifice the comfort and airflow of the warehouse just to keep it safe. This works well if your warehouse is located in a warm-climate area.
Some security entrances are designed to deter and resist attacks for up to 10 minutes. This gives ample time to alert the authorities about unauthorized access.
3. Improve the Warehouse Lighting
Dark entry points around a warehouse are an invitation to the burglar and other tempting behavior. As a warehouse operator, you must improve the visibility in and around the warehouse. Poor lighting can easily hide the criminal act or be used as a blind spot against security cameras.
Start by adding exterior lighting in all entry and exit points of the warehouse. Make sure that the parking lot has improved visibility, especially the loading dock areas. It makes it easy to spot unauthorized vehicles coming in and out of the warehouse.
Here are some factors to consider when choosing the best warehouse interior lighting:
Brightness is the first thing to consider when choosing the best lighting for your warehouse. Adequate lighting ensures the safety and efficiency of operations in and out of the warehouse. Consider the wall color of the warehouse when choosing the brightness level. For instance, a light-colored wall will do good with a lower lumen output. But if your warehouse is gloomy and painted in darker colors, you might want to opt for a higher-lumen output.
The color temperature also plays a huge part when it comes to choosing warehouse lights. If you want to increase the productivity of your workers, opt for a color temperature somewhere between the range of 4000K to 5000K. Make sure there is enough balance between cool white and a blue tint to avoid eye strain.
The positioning of the lighting can help to create a productive working environment. Make sure that there is enough space between light fixtures to avoid overlapping. In most cases, it can cause too much glare which is not good and may even cause accidents. You can always consult an expert contractor when it comes to positioning the layout of light fixtures in the warehouse. They will ensure that all areas of your warehouse are adequately illuminated.
If the lighting doesn’t fix a blind spot, you can use a mirror instead. Mirrors are widely used for increasing visibility in areas that are hard to reach. They also improve the safety of the warehouse workers who are busy moving back and forth, in and out of the warehouse. Areas between aisles can also benefit from a mirror, which would monitor all movements involving the inventories.
4. Install Security Storage
Prepare your warehouse for the possibility of an intruder managing to get past all the security measures placed in and around by installing security storage. All documents, supplies, and materials that are crucial to your business must be stored here. Securing important assets can lessen the damage of cargo theft and the impact of stolen goods.
When the documents or materials are not in use, it’s best to store them in lockable storage. You can opt for stationary or mobile storage that comes with partitions, wire cages, and passcodes. These options are designed to secure tools, materials, and documents that are hard or can't be replaced once lost.
5. Set up a Reliable Burglar Alarm System
Setting up a reliable alarm system can deter and prevent stealing attempts. Proper installation of an alarm system can alert the authorities or security if it detects an attempt. Most thieves will flee or abandon the goods once the alarm starts blaring. It also helps to catch thieves and detain them before they escape with the stolen goods.
Here are the different types of burglar alarms:
Bell Alarm System
This alarm system makes use of loud sounds and flashing lights to alert the authorities. It is activated by detecting motion and relies on nearby personnel to take action once it starts sending alerts. With this type of alarm, someone should always be present at the warehouse to leap into action if it goes off.
Monitored Alarm System
This type of burglar alarm system generates a loud noise when it picks up unusual activity and automatically alerts an Alarm Receiving Center (ARC). The ARC is usually managed by a group of professionals who instantly notify the warehouse operators and police of the cargo theft attempt.
Smart Alarm System
This is similar to the monitored alarm system with the advantage of being connected to your phone and other smart devices. The application will send notifications to your phone once it detects a burglar attempt. For example, the alarm is triggered by unusual motion during nighttime. The smart lights go on, deterring the burglars. Smart alarm systems are designed to cover all areas of the property and heighten security and safety.
6. Hire Security Guards
You can install all the smart alarm systems that you can, but if no one is around to respond to the triggers, they will be useless. Consider hiring security guards to patrol the areas, especially at nighttime. A security guard can secure the door and gates, monitor the vehicles that are coming in and out, conduct security sweeps, especially in darker areas, and monitor the areas around the warehouse.
Also, consider investing in a uniform for the security personnel team. It creates a strong visual crime deterrent and often discourages any attempts of stealing cargo from your warehouse. A professional security guard is trained and has the skills to handle theft situations, catch burglars, and keep the warehouse safe and secure.
7. Fence the Perimeter
To keep uninvited people from places they shouldn’t access, consider fencing the perimeter of the warehouse. Workers feel safer in a heavily gated and fenced warehouse property. Make sure that you pair the fencing with decent, adequate lights surrounding the warehouse.
8. Review Your Warehouse Operation
Sit down for a meeting with your workers and review the warehouse operation. To minimize theft, try to simplify the process as much as you can. That being said, a single order from your warehouse shouldn’t have to go through a dozen touches before it gets dispatched. The simpler the process, the easier it is to track your inventory. It also eliminates unnecessary wait time, improves productivity, and smoothens the workflow in your warehouse. This is the best solution to deter thefts involving internal sources.
9. Limit Access
Lastly, try to limit access from unauthorized persons, especially in restricted areas. You can do this by improving your access control system. Non-employees shouldn’t be able to easily step into restricted places such as offices and storage rooms. By reducing traffic in and out of your warehouse, you can also decrease the chances of cargo theft. Data, files, and products can be protected by making sure no one can get into them easily. No storerooms or offices should be unlocked, allowing anyone to walk in unchecked.
Equipped with these security tools and ideas, you can start upgrading and improving your warehouse security. You can also consider hiring professionals to help you every step of the way – from choosing and installing CCTV systems to hiring security personnel to protect the goods, you can rely on their expertise. Regularly improving the safety of your warehouse, identifying loopholes, and coordinating with your team can protect your business in the long run. Internal and external threats are everywhere. As a warehouse owner, you must always be thinking several steps ahead of thieves to prevent cargo theft problems.