manufacturing plant security

How to best guard your factories, goods and systems from the latest risks 

As a manufacturer, your job is to keep the wheels in motion for global businesses and consumers alike. Whether you assemble the cars we drive, the clothes we wear, or the food we eat, the world relies on your machinery and skilled workforce to keep us fed, clothed, housed and in motion. 

What if a security breach disrupted your vital manufacturing processes? What would be the cost implications for your facility? How might a manufacturing plant security incident effect your entire supply chain — and the consumers and businesses who rely on it? 

To be effective, you need a modern manufacturing plant security strategy suited to the times we live in. The threats are changing, along with the technology, physical environments and the more agile, flexible and secure way we need to operate.  In October 2021, global executives in a McKinsey survey singled out supply chain turmoil as the greatest threat to growth for both their companies and their countries’ economies – greater than the pandemic, labour shortages, geopolitical instability, war and domestic conflict.

Cyber security – just one major threat to the industry

Perhaps most seriously, the supply chain crisis has led to another problem: cyber security breaches. A 2022 IBM Security report details how in 2021 ransomware criminals attempted to “fracture” the backbone of global supply chains with attacks specifically on manufacturing plants. In fact, manufacturing became 2021’s most attacked industry (23%), overtaking the usual targets: financial services and insurance. An alarming 47% of attacks on manufacturing were caused due to vulnerabilities, and gaps in the system that had not been addressed – and could not be patched in time!  According to a 2022 Deloitte survey of manufacturing sector executives, Eighty-two percent expect their organizations will invest more in cybersecurity in 2022, with nearly one quarter budgeting at least 10% more than in 2021. 

But what about physical security – the threats to your equipment, warehouses, machinery – and workforce? How has that changed? Is physical security still as important?

Acts of violence and injuries have become the third-leading cause of fatal occupational injuries in the US, according to OSHA. Closer to home in Ontario, we are seeing an increase in workplace injuries and fatalities, particularly in the manufacturing sector.  

One of the problems is this: many industrial facilities across North America still lack the strong physical security programs required today. 

It’s not just about adding layers to your physical security. Manufacturers today need to take an integrated and modern approach to risk mitigation – and invest in a manufacturing security strategy custom fit for their specific facility.

So how can you best keep your production lines humming – and sleep better at night?

manufacturing plant at night

Here are three ways to bolster your manufacturing plant security

1. Access control – through authorization, identification, and cards.

Access control should be central to any manufacturing security plant security strategy in the post COVID world. With it, you can ensure no one has access to restricted areas and machinery, except authorized and fully vetted personnel.

In the old days, simple gates, barriers, and guards sufficed. Today, however, a vast range of technology-driven solutions exist that will ensure you more robust and reliable security technology suited to the needs of modern manufacturing facilities. 

 These technologies use one or more of the following approaches to ensure only authorized users get access:

  • Authorization: through individual passwords, PINs, or special codes
  • Identification: through mobile phones, phone numbers, hardware keys or identity card
  • Recognition: through advanced systems and the latest Biometrics: think fingerprints, voice recognition and iris scans!

Access cards: a good place to start.

Access cards themselves can be the easiest solution, especially for larger facilities where only certain people require access to certain rooms. These cards can even be coded to restrict access to these areas to certain times, dates, or hours, to ensure no nighttime visits transpire and to prevent entry at unapproved or unpatrolled hours of the day or night.

Access control is effective in curbing unwarranted entry and undocumented use of your facility. But it also serves to protect your people. By ensuring that only fully trained and authorized employees get access to machinery and industrial zones, you are taking an important step to avoid on-site accidents, injuries, and damages – even plant emergencies– all commonly caused by human error.

2. Surveillance – CCTV security cameras for manufacturing plants

It’s no longer enough to have either cameras or guards. You must have both. And when it comes to CCTV units, the technology, usage, and monitoring requirements have changed.

The right surveillance strategy — combining physical guards on site and CCTV units — is vital to ensure the physical security of the plant and its premises. The trend today is not to use CCTV cameras to replace guards, but rather to extend their reach and empower them to do their job in a more effective way.

Certainly, modern CCTV technology has increased the scale of video surveillance improving the quality of monitoring and incident handling. Round-the-clock live remote monitoring brings benefits beyond crime and accident prevention. They can be used to monitor operational efficiencies, track the arrival and dispatch of products, and even watch inventory levels.

But when it comes to risk mitigation CCTVs are a must have. With fewer personnel on site, cameras installed in low traffic areas can help keep you stay alert to undocumented ingresses and egresses, mechanical failures – and even critical accidents and injuries that might occur in isolated places. Monitored video cameras can watch the entire property simultaneously. It can also monitor areas where it’s not safe for people to go like on the roof and in certain areas of the building because of the machinery. 

Plant owners and security executives are seeing the light – and rushing to adopt the latest CCTVs in droves. It’s a trend underscored by recent statistics: the global video surveillance market is estimated to increase by about $30 billion by 2025.

There is no question that when it comes to manufacturing plant security, the latest automated CCTV cameras integrated with your alarm system and the right security personnel, are your best bet to mitigate risk during these changing times. 

3. Security guards – vigilant, tech savvy, and specially trained for manufacturing facilities

Despite the rise of complex technologies, systems, and a move away from the human element, the right guards are an essential component of any modern manufacturing plant security strategy.

Security guards for manufacturing plants need to be specially trained and equipped. They will need to possess a requisite level of knowledge and skills in:

  • Your manufacturing plant rules and protocols
  • Your mechanical processes and machinery, respond expertly in the event of an accident
  • The complex layout of your facility, including your warehousing and industrial zones
  • The latest technology including CCTV, access cards and other technology driven systems protect your facility

Guards you can trust:

Today, it is more critical than ever to only work with reputable security firms that provide only well-trained, and carefully screened security personnel. This is especially the case in light of some crimes being committed from the inside – by guards not fully vetted and background checked. 

By trusting in a reputable security guard firm, you rest easy that the guards on duty will never be the ones committing crimes. You will also be more equipped with the right crew trained to spot any internal or external transgression and take steps to stop criminals in their path.

A good place to start: conduct a manufacturing security risk assessment.

The first big step to beefing up your security is getting a holistic, detailed risk assessment. An in-depth survey of your facility’s vulnerabilities will inform what types of security you need to invest in and how to implement your security strategy. 

Integrated solutions manufacturing security — for today and tomorrow

Today, manufacturing facilities face a variety of threats, from workplace accidents to factory security breaches and supply chain disruption. The ultimate solution lies in an integrated approach – CCTVs, guards, access controls and new protocols all working together to secure your physical premises and people, no matter what. 

Winston Stewart, CEO & Founder

Winston Stewart, CEO & Founder

For more than 30 years, Wincon Security has delivered property monitoring and protective services to retail, commercial, industrial and condominium clients across the Greater Toronto Area. You can rest assured all our security guards are fully trained, carefully vetted, and ready to be deployed to keep your assets and people protected in the post-COVID world.


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