Distribution centers (DCs) are increasingly the heart of retail, particularly as post-pandemic consumer shopping patterns persist, demanding a range of order retrieval options. DCs may ship goods direct to the customer, may be the area where returns are processed or may be the location where orders are picked up for delivery. Theft and loss in the DC pose a significant threat to retailers, but tactics for securing the physical location and preventing losses differ from those used in retail stores. Many of the same physical security technologies apply to both types of spaces, but their uses are distinct. Here are six technologies that can be used to combat loss in DCs.
1. Access control
Given the large volume of merchandise stored in DCs, access control solutions can both prevent unauthorized access and offer traceability in case a theft event does occur. Whereas retail stores must offer free access to merchandise to shoppers in order to deliver a good customer experience, merchandise in DCs should be accessible only to authorized personnel. Access control installed throughout the interior of a distribution facility can limit access to merchandise and also provide data about which employees accessed specific areas at what times. This data is important for forensic investigations in case of theft or loss.
2. Perimeter security
Often loaded in urban areas, distribution centers can easily be targeted for theft. Perimeter security, when combined with access control, ensures that only authorized personnel and/or deliveries enter the property. Perimeter security systems should be both robust and operational. Automated systems reduce challenges associated with off-duty, temporarily displaced or distracted security personnel. Perimeter security solutions should provide security while also enabling efficient operation. Innovative solutions like the AutoGate Pivot Gate system grant access quickly to authorized vehicles while securing the perimeter.
3. Increased automation
Increased automation in the DC can have a positive impact on loss prevention by increasing accuracy of data around inventory volumes and location. It can also reduce the number of times product comes into contact with people, reducing temptation for theft among employees. Automation also delivers other benefits along the lines of inventory management and accuracy.
4. Video surveillance
Surveillance can provide valuable forensic evidence in case of unexplained losses, which may be purposeful or inadvertent. As an example, if product on the shelf is found damaged, video may help determine if forklifts or other machines are unintentionally causing damage to products and/or packaging. Or if theft suddenly becomes a problem, video or covert cameras can help investigate the individuals responsible.
IoT in warehouses can also increase protection of product and prevent losses due to improper storage. Particularly in the case of perishable products, IoT devices can automatically monitor temperature to ensure product safety and integrity. IoT devices on shipping vehicles or containers can protect product from unknown tampering, damage or theft.
When utilized, the unification of access control, intrusion, video, building automation and IoT on one platform allows the security systems to become a powerful investigation tool. With all information from one database, there is a real savings in time by the operator, which greatly reduces the time spent investigating events.
Don’t miss the critical priority of security when expanding or upgrading distribution centers. Contact our physical security experts at Telaid to plan for securing your DC.