Tighten Physical Security at Food Plants
Food companies are increasingly utilizing video surveillance and access control systems to enhance security and production. Video cameras mounted at key locations in a facility, such as entrances, loading docks, and processing areas, can prevent access by unauthorized people who may be carrying a virus.
Video can also deter theft. By documenting visitor entry and the shipping or receipt of goods, if any theft or litigation issues arise, the video can be reviewed and used as evidence. In food processing or staging areas, video can even be used to improve production.
“We decided to restrict access by installing doorbell cameras at every facility to secure them and ensure that we only have authorized employees entering and exiting,” says Gary Ronning, Vice President of Operations at Frozen Assets Cold Storage (FACS). Chicago, IL-based FACS currently operates cold storage warehouses in the Chicago area.. The company provides cold storage, freezing, blast freezing, exporting, labeling, cross-docking and transloading services, along with full-service logistics. According to Ronning, the FACS CEO and managers collectively decided to contact a technology integrator that had done previous work on their physical security, surveillance, and product inventory scanning systems.
“We contacted BTI and said we wanted doorbell security cameras installed at all our facilities as soon as possible,” says Ronning. “They responded very quickly, completing the installation within a day at two facilities, and a couple of days at another facility.”
BTI Communications Group, a technology convergence provider, serves the food, logistics, healthcare and aerospace sectors. The company acts as a single source provider of physical security, access control, network, and complex phone (VoIP) systems, down to installation of wiring and conduit.
“With doorbell cameras at all three of our existing facilities, and cameras all over the docks, we are basically on lockdown. We do not allow any visitors, outside vendors or non-employees into our buildings. Truck drivers, for example, now have to check through a specific door or a mailbox to handle any paperwork,” says Ronning.
Traditionally, security cameras and access control systems were installed as independent systems by security integrators. However, by entrusting this task to integrators with an extensive knowledge of the available products and component parts of both network and security systems and how they can be interconnected, there can be tremendous added value at food processing and handling facilities.
“Because the doorbell and dock cameras tie in to our existing access control and security system network, our IT manager can remotely monitor what is going on from different viewpoints 24/7 at work or home,” says Ronning.
It is also an advantage to find a technology provider that handles all aspects from installation of hardware to integration with the existing IT network.
“BTI is a one-stop shop. They installed the antennas and did all the networking. They worked at all hours including nights and weekends to get the job done, and we have not had any issues with the system,” he says.
According to Ronning, the surveillance cameras on the shipping and receiving docks also help to deter theft and claims.
“The cameras on the dock provide video proof of exactly how many pallets we load onto the truck before sealing it,” he says. “So, if a different number of pallets is noted on receipt, we can email the customer the video.”