One of the many advantages of outsourcing your fulfillment needs is easy access to comprehensive warehouse security. Of course, when you outsource the tasks associated with managing your inventory to a third party, you are vesting a tremendous amount of trust in them. You trust the fulfillment center to genuinely monitor and protect your products and materials from mishandling, tampering or theft.

By placing your inventory needs in the hands of a qualified fulfillment company, you transfer your security concerns to an organization with more specialized experience and greater resources.

Before choosing a fulfillment company to handle your inventory demands, it is to your benefit to learn as much as you can about the security systems that will stand between your products and unwanted intrusions. Below are three questions that you should pose to your prospective fulfillment company before placing your trust (and your inventory) in their hands: 

1.    What is the layout of your warehouse facility?

An often overlooked, but absolutely critical dimension of warehouse security is the facility’s layout. Design actually plays a determinant role in how effectively your fulfillment company monitors activity, prevents unauthorized intrusion, deters employee theft and responds to security breaches.

Among the most important layout decisions that your fulfillment company must make is theplacement and quantity of doors. Limiting the number of doors allows for easy monitoring of all entrances and exits. The use of emergency fire alarm bars on all non-regular entrances and exits ensures proper safety standards, while additionally reducing opportunities to carry stock out of the warehouse undetected.

Another layout decision concerns the location of your fulfillment company’s shipping and receiving docks. Constructing these too close to one another makes it much easier for employees or unauthorized personnel to move items between docks. This can obscure ongoing theft through a storage facility’s shipping channels, meaning that products can be pilfered before they even enter the warehouse. You should seek out a fulfillment company whose docks are located on opposite ends of a facility, or at least separated from one another by an impassable barrier.

Additionally, considerable space should be placed between the warehouse facility and employee parking lots. This ensures that anybody trying to carry stolen goods off the premises must first cover a good distance on foot. In addition to creating a deterrent against internal theft, this distance allows for the strategic placement of security personnel, checkpoints and surveillance cameras. 

2.   What security procedures do you have in place?

Once you are satisfied that the layout of your fulfillment company allows for comprehensive security, you need to know that the procedures in place effectively support this goal. Security procedures should incorporate the effective distribution of personnel, surveillance equipment and locks into the facility’s everyday operations.

First and foremost, inventory security calls for the strategic deployment of trustworthy and experienced security personnel. Guards should be deployed to patrol storage areas, shipping docks, employee parking lots and the perimeter of the facility. A security team should also be in place during business off-hours, both presiding over the reception desk and responding to any evidence of possible breach.  

Security personnel should also be given support by the latest in security technology. Video surveillance, motion sensors and alarm systems should all be regarded by the fulfillment center as basic requisites in inventory security. Increasingly, remote security monitoring is also gaining popularity through smartphone applications and other wireless technology. Advanced locks employing keycard entry systems also limit the possibility for entry by unauthorized personnel. These security features significantly reduce the threat of theft by both unauthorized personnel andemployees.

3.   Do you conduct regular inventory audits?

When you choose your fulfillment company, you want to know that your goods are protected through both provision of comprehensive security and consistency in inventory methods.

In general, you want your fulfillment company to conduct regular inventory audits simply as a level of assurance that inventory figures are accurate and reflective of actual stock. However, this is also an important measure of security against employee theft.

If your fulfillment company’s employees sense that inventory auditing is conducted with regularity, accountability and accuracy, they will also sense that internal theft is not going to go unnoticed. By combining frequent auditing with well-kept records of employee scheduling, your fulfillment company creates a powerful psychological deterrent against internal theft.

If you would like to receive an inventory security consultation from a dedicated fulfillment company CLICK HERE and we’ll be happy to tell you about the advanced security solutions in place at USA Fulfillment.