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Investing In Security Now Could Save You Later

By Amy Radishofski, Features Editor, Manufacturing.netHaving systems in place to protect your people and your property can keep you from feeling the pinch later on.

For manufacturers, a good safety and security system is like an insurance policy -- you hope you never have to use it, but if you need to, you’re glad you have it. That’s according to a study on safety and security in manufacturing and warehousing companies by Frost & Sullivan and Protection One.

One of the biggest assets a manufacturing company has is their employees. Employers are required by law to protect workers, and while it may seem like a no-brainer, you could end up with a costly workers comp lawsuit if you take safety lightly.

“Over 6 percent of workforce injuries occur at manufacturing operations in the United States,” said Dilip Sarangan with Frost & Sullivan. “Costs can add up for employers in terms of leave, downtime, medical bills, and higher insurance costs.”

Obviously, anything you can do to better protect your workforce would be a good investment. But your people are only part of your assets.

Have you thought about your product lines? Do you know if your inventory is safe?

“Inventories can be affected by theft, fire and water damage, and quality control issues,” Sarangan noted.

Even employee productivity can cause expensive issues for employers. Do some of your employees slack off while on the job? Is anyone intentionally doing something harmful to affect the quality of your products? Would you know if they were?

“If you have workers that are negligent or indifferent in what they do, they could get hurt and you could be paying for workers compensation,” Sarangan said. “If they aren’t paying attention to what they are supposed to be doing, you may also face quality control problems.”

So what’s a nervous employer to do? Try a threat assessment as a first step, Sarangan says.

“Find out what areas of your business are vulnerable to problems,” he suggests. “Maybe there is an area that is heavily accessed that may need a surveillance system. Maybe you need sensors to monitor your inventory. You need to identify threats before you can fix the problem.”

When you’re ready to invest in a security or safety solution, Sarangan says vendors should be upfront with you about timelines for returns on investment. There are a lot of options out there, and each can provide different benefits.

For example, say you need a surveillance system for your parking lot area. You can buy a cheaper camera and it may catch one or two people, but for each person you catch, you may miss five. A more expensive camera has the potential to help you better prosecute individuals, but you may not see a return on it right away.

“Investments like this can range from tens of thousands to millions of dollars, but you can always scale your investment up or down,” Sarangan said. “You could go all in and buy everything available, or you could buy just a few systems and hope you have covered all your bases.”

And depending how much you are willing to invest, you may not have to even be there to monitor your operations. If you have multiple locations, you may want to consider virtual monitoring.

With virtual monitoring, you can have your security or IT departments keep an eye on all of your locations from a central location. The virtual monitoring vendor may also offer to monitor your operations and alert you of any problems, similar to how a home alarm system works.

Simply put, the more you invest, the better you’ll probably be able to sleep at night. Moreover, combining multiple security and safety solutions can bring a bigger and faster ROI, according to Sarangan.

“Companies need to look into investing in their safety and security. The cost is a secondary factor if the system works” he said. “If someone steals 20,000 computers, that’s a major cost. Even if you’re insured, you face higher premiums. Prevention is priceless.”

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