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Safeguarding the Future of Manufacturing

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Manufacturers want security solutions that will protect people, product, facilities and process.

The manufacturing sector is extraordinarily diverse, ranging from the manufacturing of advanced fighter jets to ventilators and pharmaceutical products to cars, paper products, steel, clothing, high-tech components and beyond. According to Forbes, the fastest-growing manufacturing sectors are transportation, metal fabrication, food products, plastics and rubber, beverages, machinery, wood, non-metallic mineral, primary metals and chemicals.

Manufacturing is a sector filled with many essential businesses in the age of the COVID-19 pandemic. The National Association of Manufacturers and Business Roundtable joined forces to strengthen the business community’s response to the critical supplies’ shortage facing the nation’s medical community due to COVID-19. This partnership brings together the full strength of the U.S. business and manufacturing communities to help those on the front lines of the pandemic. 

Hence, ensuring the protection of people, product, facilities and process for our nation’s indispensable manufacturing industry is critical to safeguarding our economic future.

So, what is the most pressing issue that the manufacturing sector asks of the security services sector? The manufacturing sector demands fully integrated security solutions. Manufacturing companies are looking for reliable and experienced security partners that help prepare for and manage end-to-end risk that provide comprehensive guidelines for security that focus on threat assessments, situation analysis, and planning to identify and mitigate potential risks. They require physical security programs to protect assets and respond to threats and the electronic systems, and integrated risk management platforms that deliver better business insights and capabilities to force-multiply the physical security programs.

Manufacturers, whose gross domestic product (GDP) was $2.33 trillion in 2018, represent 11.6 percent of total U.S. output. However, no matter how varied or how large the manufacturing sector is, this market sector shares a common thread. They all require a comprehensive and integrated security program that prioritizes employee safety, protects assets and leverages technology solutions designed to optimize security operations and support business objectives. While the majority of manufacturing companies are small and growing, manufacturing is a vital, critically important market sector in the United States.

Additional security demands, that represent a common threat among all manufacturers, include:

  • Cost Savings Assessments – Manufacturers are always looking for cost-saving ideas that can help grow their bottom lines so that they can grow their business. There is not a one-size-fits-all approach to the specialized safety and security needs of the manufacturing and industrial sector. Maintaining cost efficiencies while meeting regulatory compliance can be especially challenging. The security team should be a partner in creating forward-thinking safety and security best practices, while integrating solutions that allow the manufacturer to focus on their core business. Additional integration and cost savings can be achieved by enhancing the roles of the security professional. The security provider should be able to take on in-house duties, such as reception, mail room, badging, etc., freeing employees with industry-specific expertise to focus on other areas of operations. The security provider can also take on tasks that might otherwise have been subcontracted, such as monitoring safety equipment, which helps save on costs without sacrificing quality.
  • Technology – Reducing risks is not a one-size-fits-all solution. By leveraging the right combination of manpower, data and technology, the manufacturer is able to deploy smarter security. Many manufacturers tap into the power of Monitoring and Response Centers (MARC) that provide video monitoring as a service with complete end-to-end security solutions, from cameras, access control, traditional alarms and remote audio features. MARCs leverage video analytics with real-time, event-based monitoring by security intervention specialists which deter theft and mitigate the criminal element. Customized solutions range from situational awareness and threat intelligence platforms, to remote video and alarm monitoring, to integrated commercial security systems, to web and GPS-based patrol route management and robotics to ensure a full lifecycle support of cutting-edge technology to improve security. While there will always be a need for personnel to be involved in strategic decision-making, situational analysis and security response, robots excel at monotonous, computationally heavy, and sometimes hazardous or difficult to reach work. Modern robots help bridge the gap between artificial intelligence and human response.  Strategically deployed robotic devices enable the security department to force multiply traditional security with innovative patrolling, deterrence, forensics and communications. These solutions are cost effective and improve situational awareness while augmenting the capabilities of experienced personnel to focus on more strategic tasks and integrating into a manufacturer’s existing security systems. Powered with video, audio and sensor technology, cutting-edge algorithms and machine-learning, robot solutions can help protect people and assets while interacting with them in their workplace.
  • Industry Quality Standards – Manufacturers’ set the bar high and demand stringent standards from their security personnel. Most manufacturers require that their security partners proactively initiate a quality assurance process that includes on-site visits to ensure service delivery. Manufacturers hold security partners accountable to the specifications detailed in their customized quality assurance plans. Security teams should also schedule formal quarterly business reviews so that they are ensured to stay current on service levels and inspection ratings.
  • Supply Chain Logistics – The security personnel who service manufacturers need to proactively mitigate incidents, improve safety and secure the manufacturer’s supply chain and logistics process. Some manufacturers are tapping into an integrated workforce management platform such as HELIAUS®, which leverages an AI engine to run a series of algorithms that develop actionable information to generate protocol for consistent site monitoring. It also identifies predicted risks, optimizes processes to reduce incidents, and compares past data through clustering and benchmarking. One major food manufacturer, for example, sought to upgrade their antiquated paper record keeping. They turned to HELIAUS® and worked with their security team to create a customized compliance application that tracked over 140 unique incident types. With accurate reporting of their logistics, they saved over $55 million in potential losses at a single site.
  • Security and Security Training – Security professional training programs need to be industry and site specific and establish a clear overview of the expectations and standards for the position. Site-specific manufacturing security training includes continual updates of all industry-specific developments. To remain responsive and vigilant, security professionals must experience continuous learning, and management support should ensure that what is learned is applied. The “one and done” philosophy falls flat when tested in an emergency. Training reinforcement can be a performance measure. Reinforcement, more than any other aspect of training, builds a learning culture that speeds significant change and action. A mix of classroom and online training ensures that information is accessible. Retention improves with content and delivery that are engaging, creative and multi-faceted, yet maintains the integrity of the subject.
  • Insider Threat/Economic Espionage – Without proper security protocols, new products and technology advances can expose companies, their employees and their customers to loopholes for criminals to sweep in and steal valuable information. Many years ago, a major conglomerate was manufacturing a specific compound used in paint. An insider stole their processing and ingredient information which cost the company billions of dollars.

Anything that can be stolen from a manufacturer gives a competitive edge to their rivals. How does physical security help reduce insider theft and criminal activities at a site? Security may see an employee working on Christmas Eve when they are not scheduled to be on-site, for example, and raise the alarm. Surveillance monitoring via CCTV may pick up the activities of a contractor or employee who is duplicating proprietary customer lists or other confidential documents. Security personnel may see an employee leave a prototype for a new smart phone in a non-secure area.

Security professionals who serve the manufacturing sector are trained not only to recognize safety hazards and economic espionage threats, but to also respond by taking appropriate action.

Manufacturing Security Personnel are Highly Skilled

Manufacturers demand high standards in the hiring of security personnel. Meeting these high standards starts with the hiring process. Prospective employees should complete industry-specific training programs before they begin working. They should be trained on customer service standards and should complete emergency training, and be familiar with the manufacturing facility’s evacuation routes and procedures. Throughout their employment, on-going training and coaching will allow employees provide the highest level of security each and every day.

The manufacturing sector taps into a diverse and varied skillset in the security sector, including EMTs to full operating SWAT teams to more traditional armed and unarmed security officers. For example, a petroleum production plant would require that all security personnel be DHS-certified with specific HAZMAT and chemical response training.

Security professionals provide additional value by performing other industrial security services, such as fire extinguisher checks, handling visitor reception, sign-ins and badging, credentialing employees, escorting visitors, performing lighting inspections, conducting job safety analyses relevant to their duties, managing emergency and weather-related preparedness planning, supporting loss-prevention, including employee or visitor searches and distributing mail and packages.

Safeguarding manufacturers is also important to the physical security sector’s bottom line. The revenues for private security companies used in manufacturing facilities is projected to increase 3.5 percent annually through 2023 to $6.1 billion. Guarding services accounted for 59 percent of security services in the industrial market in 2018, significantly higher than any other service type according to Freedonia’s 2019 market study. In the manufacturing sector, whether security is providing 300 or 80,000 hours a week of service, the stringent requirements of that industry are in place to ensure that people, product, facilities and process are all protected.

David Szady is Vice President, National Accounts at Allied Universal, a leading security and facility services company in North America with more than 235,000 employees and revenues over $8.4 billion. Prior to joining Allied Universal, he served as Assistant Director, Counterintelligence division at the FBI. He can be reached at David.Szady@aus.com.

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