Why a Facility Health Check is Important for Supply Chain Security

Guest blog by Jamie Rutherford, Director of Sales – Supply Chain at MHI member company, Vector Security

Today’s supply chain ecosystem has become increasingly complex and ever-changing. Assessing security and network applications may not be top of mind when navigating the market and all its current challenges. However, a facility health check is essential for gauging a supply chain provider’s protection against external and internal threats.

Why is a facility health check so important?

Whether warehouses deploy autonomous mobile robots to move picked orders or have people on the floor with RFID scanners and tablets, smooth operations demand powerful and seamless Wi-Fi throughout your facilities. Keeping Wi-Fi performing optimally, however, requires a secure and reliable network for it to run on.

While some level of network downtime is a recognized inevitable cost of doing business, warehouse operations teams will want the right technology and teams in place to mitigate the risk and get the network restored and restarted. The cost to the business is too great to ignore.

In fact, according to a recent Information Technology Intelligence Consulting Research survey, most businesses estimate that one hour of downtime can result in $100,000 in lost revenue. A facility health check can help ensure business downtime remains at an absolute minimum.

More than Just Network Performance

Network performance and reliability is only one part of the equation for successful warehouse operations. What occurs inside facilities is just as important. Inventory loss can have a detrimental impact on a business’s bottom line and create unnecessary bottlenecks. This is why access control is critical to the safety of a business’s products and employees. Traditional lock and key methods are less reliable than modern access control systems.

Aside from doing away with traditional keys, an integrated access control system allows supply chain leaders to better monitor who enters and exits their facilities. They can assign specific access control permissions to floor staff, upper management personnel, executives and guests, which is vital if supply chain facilities have restricted areas with sensitive items. Data records also indicate who was in what location if an incident occurs, allowing businesses to keep better tabs on their employees. And with remote capabilities, business leaders can adjust access permissions from anywhere, at any time, and on any IoT device.

Along with effective access control measures, supply chain leaders need reliable eyes on their facilities. Video surveillance plays a key part in ensuring both the inside and outside of warehouses, distribution centers, and 3PLs are carefully monitored. However, having outdated video cameras can create avoidable problems. There could be blind spots, connectivity issues, or complications with video storage.

When an incident occurs, a reliable video surveillance camera will give management concrete evidence of the event. With a facility health check, supply chain leaders can be confident knowing that every corner of their facility is covered. Video surveillance not only makes operations safer for employees but can also prevent theft, product tampering, loitering, trespassing, and unnecessary downtime from employees.

Finally, warehouse operations teams should consider a facility health check for end-of-life security products. There comes a time when all systems need to be updated and replaced. A manufacturer’s guide can help estimate the lifespan of critical security products; however, these are just approximations. When there are persistent issues with a system or product, such as connectivity or reliability issues, then that’s a telltale sign that these systems need evaluated and possibly upgraded. And if there is no support for the security products installed, a facility health check may be needed sooner rather than later.

Ultimately, a facility health check is beneficial for the business, its employees, products, stakeholders, and partners. It can help supply chain leaders align current business goals and plan for the future, and it gives them greater control over their business. If there’s ever a concern over the performance or reliability of a network or security system, then it’s time to consider a facility health check.