Creating open yet secure environments for logistics facilities

The 2023 U.S. freight and logistics market value is estimated at $1.27 trillion. At the heart of this market are the distribution centers, warehouses, and trucking companies that store and carry goods. These impressive numbers also point to an unfortunate reality; logistics facilities are prime targets for theft and shrinkage. It’s estimated that more than $50 billion in inventory is stolen on average every year from U.S. businesses by employees alone. Workplace violence is another risk that must be addressed, as it threatens not only the safety of staff and visitors, but also the brand itself.

This need for robust security must be balanced against the need for facilities to offer an open and welcoming environment. Both workers and visitors should feel they are being congenially received, not that they are approaching a fortress. Personnel are more comfortable, and possibly more productive, when their surroundings feel warm and friendly. These two seemingly opposing needs can both be successfully managed with a layered security strategy that takes into consideration the vulnerabilities in each area of the facility, as well as the fact that there are distinctly different risks at points of entry and exit. 

Entry vs. exit liabilities 

Ingress security is responsible for preventing criminals and potentially violent individuals from entering a facility. To that end, entry solutions should provide the ability to detect and/or prevent tailgating and piggybacking, provide line-of-sight restrictions and employ bullet-resistant or vandal-resistant materials to prevent access via brute force. Egress security is tasked with minimizing theft and shrinkage. This can include establishing line-of-sight in open areas to ensure optimal visibility for surveillance cameras with video analytics, as well as minimizing any places near exits where products can be easily concealed, reducing collusion opportunities between employees. There should also be screening areas available anywhere there is a high probability of inventory theft, and break areas should be segmented from exits and ingress divestment areas.

Creating a layered strategy

Planning your layered strategy should include weighing the specific requirements of each entry point. Today’s security entrances and sensor technologies provide the best way to maintain the level of throughput needed, while optimizing physical access at critical entry/egress points. Many secured entry solutions work well at attended entrances in managing traffic flow while detecting and deterring unauthorized access.  Other solutions are engineered to help prevent unauthorized access at unattended entrances, a growing imperative with hybrid work schedules. Generally, security entrances can be classified into three groups: deterrence, detection and prevention. 

  • At the most basic level of security, you can deter unauthorized access by installing security entrances such as tripod or full height turnstiles. Under the supervision of security personnel, these discourage any casual unauthorized attempts to enter a facility.
  • At the next level, you can choose security entrances like optical turnstiles with embedded sensor and access technologies that detect unauthorized entry attempts, including tailgating and piggybacking, and issue alarms in real time. This enables security personnel to take swift action. 
  • Finally, for the most secure access points, you need to prevent unauthorized entry and exit, including tailgating and piggybackingHere, you should choose entrances such as interlocking mantrap portals or security revolving doors that can be integrated with other technologies to identify unauthorized attempts and block the bad actor from entering. These highest-end solutions virtually eliminate the need and expense of supervised guards. 

Secure workflow: One example

The following example demonstrates how to create a secure workflow throughout a manufacturing facility.

Perimeter and parking lots

Prevent unauthorized access resulting from tailgating and piggybacking with two-way full height turnstiles equipped with access control, intercom, video monitoring, and an adjacent ADA pedestrian gate. Additionally, by collecting metrics gathered by sensor systems embedded in these solutions, security personnel can predict and quantify their actual risk of infiltration. 

Facility entry, divestment and screening

Upon entry to a facility, employees should divest their personal belongings into lockers, and proceed through a metal detector attached to one-way inbound full height turnstiles equipped with access control and tailgating and piggybacking prevention, ADA entry portal, and weapons detection screening.

Breaks and lunches

Employees enter and exit work areas through a waist height, tripod turnstile. This allows management to collect data on who is on and off the floor, and for how long. 

Entry/egress to loading docks

Drivers needing access to the interior of warehouse facilities from secured loading dock and exterior areas can enter or exit waiting/holding areas through full height turnstiles with access control. To prevent any chance of unauthorized entry into interior protected zones, these areas should not have direct access to interior areas of the facility. 

End-of-shift theft deterrence

Use dual waist height turnstiles to facilitate randomized screening. When exiting a facility, employees approach an array of two waist height turnstiles: one turnstile leads to an exit, and the other to a search/pat down area with a guard. Both a deterrent and a preventive solution, this exit solution can help put an end to shrinkage due to employee theft. 

Facility exits

Use one-way outbound full height turnstiles for individuals leaving the randomized screening process area to access lockers and exit the facility.

Secured entry/egress workflows are proven effective for distribution, logistics, and warehouse facilities. Such initiatives can help ensure safer and more secure business environments, mitigate risks and liabilities, generate tangible ROI, and help increase profits. Because each warehouse facility has unique characteristics it helps to work with experienced industry specialists who can help you plan the best possible layered secured entry solution for your application.