The generalized increase in crime and the management of protocols to prevent Covid 19 infections and its variants, are the challenge that this year adds to the needs of supervision and control that the logistics operation has.
by Iris Alejandra Montoya
The proper management of work in warehouses, storage and distribution centers are part of the dynamics that contribute to economic recovery, so guaranteeing their safety is one of the challenges for the development of Latin America in 2022. This situation is accentuated by the need for growth in the region and the overcoming of the global economic contraction resulting from the pandemic.
We speak with Héctor Manuel Romero Sánchez, Vice President of Logistics and Transportation of the Latin American Security Association (ALAS) in the Mexico Committee and Active President of the Mexican Association of Private Security Companies and Satellite Industry A.C; and with José Luis Sánchez Gutiérrez, National Manager of Labor and Patrimonial Protection of oxxo Supply Chain. Between them, who have more than 50 years of experience, they gave us a perspective of the challenges facing the sector this year and shared with us the possible strategies to face them.
The logistics security landscape in 2022
Héctor Romero believes that the pandemic has generated a new dynamic related to biosecurity protocols and the devices that help manage it. But the staff was not used to working with these conditions and non-compliance with these protocols breaks the supply chain. It also states that "there is a need for greater control for access to different areas, have a reliable registry, cameras such as CCTV and store this information, in terms not only of theft but of accommodation, to have a better location of inventory."
To this is added the contribution of José Sánchez, who indicates that there is now an urgency to prevent intrusions to the different business units within the industrial parks. In this way we can say that, in general, it is a priority to guarantee health conditions and avoid the leakage of information as an action of crime on personnel.
Main security needs in Latin America
For José Sánchez it is vital that the operation of the Monitoring Centers or Control Centers is easily auditable, has remote supervision, in the same way the "photo credentialing capabilities including ease of use and integration with existing access control systems." In general, the operating system to be used should have a friendly and flexible interface with potential to interact with other products, response time and above all with high reliability.
In addition, Héctor Romero explains that biosecurity and prevention of the action of actors outside the law must be integrated into these systems, but always with manuals, protocols and documents to train personnel.
What a strategic security plan should include
For Héctor, the starting point for the creation of a strategic security plan should be the management system, contemplating:
- The ISO 9000 Standard, for quality and customer service.
- ISO 28000, which refers to security in the supply chain.
- The ISO 14000 Standard, dedicated to environmental management.
- The ISO 45000 Standard, intended to protect the physical safety of people.
Hence, do the risk analysis, starting with the recognition of threats, both internal and external. Once the existing vulnerability has been identified, the perimeter area of action must be established. And "it would end with risk mitigation. For this it is essential to understand what type of merchandise is going to be protected, from what and how; choose what kind of technological tools are required. Security rather than an expense is an investment."
Some basic recommendations of business security, which José Luis assures help to protect the accesses in the Industrial Parks, as well as the information and heritage are to fix the scope of confidentiality with the employees, reflecting these limits in the contracts and carrying out trainings.
Establish security policies where the ownership of the information and who can access it is clear. Have a crisis management plan in order to delimit the procedures for incident management. Implement electronic barriers to access information with robust authentication, without neglecting the use of physical barriers and, finally, consider the complexity of each organization, from internal and external factors and their different levels of security.
Key technologies for security
We asked both experts what were the essential technologies today to protect spaces such as warehouses, storage and distribution centers. They told us that biometric systems are on the rise. In the same way, they indicated that it is essential to have access control for people and vehicles, CCTV, microphones and cameras, backed up with software for facial identification and license plates.
New technologies for security management
Faced with the latest trends, José Sánchez mentioned access control with secure credentials that have the integration of two or more biometric technologies. For his part, Héctor Romero nominated the Drones for their ability to monitor wide spaces.
Recurring errors that generate insecurity
Security management is a process where the human factor is involved and therefore there are mishaps that must be overcome, but when these stumbles are recurrent, it becomes an impediment and a loss of value of the logistics operation.
In this regard, Héctor described what he has identified as errors that should be avoided: "Do not do a threat and risk analysis to determine the technology that should be used and where it should be located. Do not make processes, manuals or slogans to complement such technology. Not training the human resource according to the merchandise I am moving. Do not involve all areas of the company of the importance of compliance with the slogans, manuals and procedures".
For his part, José Luis pointed out that the common mistakes are usually "the lack of internal controls and processes, whether their absence, obsolescence or not applying them. The lack of physical means of restricting entry to the facilities. The scarcity of clear information on the incidents presented and not sharing them with the corresponding authorities. The lack of teams dedicated to crisis care. Insufficient vulnerability analysis in facilities, such as risk analysis, environment analysis and anti-sabotage plan. The absence of application of the matrix of consequences of the code of ethics and business values, to give some examples".
Integrate a safety plan with local authorities
Finally, the need to generate action plans in conjunction with the authorities was addressed, in this regard José Sánchez was emphatic that "we must make a prevention program of each business unit we have, call it corporate building, store, distribution center, park or industrial plants, etc. and these must be 'made to measure' in each of the areas and regions, even in each municipality and colony where we operate; it must be kept adequate to the 'mobility' of the type of accident rate identified, such as location, day, time and modus operandi, supported by a real strategy of communication and participation shoulder to shoulder with the authorities".
Consequently, Héctor Romero concluded by explaining his action plan in a rough way: "We deliver to the authority information on when, where and in what way the illicit acts are presented, to work together in making intelligence, with the 3 levels of government: federal, local and municipal part. All this to be more preventive, predictive and projective than corrective."
Recent logistics center events
The outlook of recent years is not encouraging for Latin America: in January 2021, the FedEx Operational Center in Mexico City was assaulted, an act in which around 20 men participated who took dozens of packages and a safe, all valued at several million pesos (MXN).
By November of that year, in Mendoza (Argentina), armed men broke into the Marqués de Montecristo winery, took almost a million and a half pesos (ARS), and robbed two employees and a customer who were there.
This 2022 did not start differently, in January thieves infiltrated a warehouse of a metalworking company, in Bogotá (Colombia), and stole more than 100 million pesos (COP) in merchandise, for this theft several vehicles were used, including a taxi.
In that sense, it is not surprising that, according to the Global Organized Crime Index 2021 report of the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime (Global Initiative), in the countries with the highest levels of crime the region stands out. There is Colombia in second place with 7.66 points (out of 10 possible) and Mexico in fourth place with 7.56 points.