When Steve asked me to write this blog I felt really out of my depth. I am not an expert in manufacturing, nor am I a manufacturer, far from it! But before you switch off, bear with me…
I am not an expert in manufacturing. I have, however, been working with the sector for several years - a relatively short amount of time in the grand scheme of things, but long enough to understand some of the main challenges of the sector:
- Raising the profile of UK Manufacturing.
- Being seen as a career of choice.
And I have the benefit of being on the outside looking in.
As you may know, I am a security consultant. I have a background in the military, but am I an expert in security? The more I learn, the more I realise I am a long way from that. But I believe solving some of the security issues will also solve some of the other issues manufacturers are facing.
Look beyond just ROI!
A hard one this, I know, but some of the most effective ways to reduce criminal activity doesn’t see a return on investment. At least not in the traditional way….
Most manufacturers concentrate on direct methods of crime prevention - physical measures such as gate & barriers and technical measures such as security systems and IT security because they can see a direct return on the investment. But greater focus should sit with operational and educational measures….
Educating staff and creating a security culture within the business far exceeds any traditional return on security investment yet is sparingly used as risk mitigation. Used correctly it can make the business more efficient and increase overall profitability.
I am not saying that manufacturers don’t need ‘traditional’ security measures, because they do. What I am saying is that manufacturers need to be more innovative when it comes to security, think outside of the box.
No security measures are impenetrable. Given enough time & resources, any security barrier can be breached. But creating resilience within the organisation and the community can be a highly effective deterrent.
Change of Focus.
Preventing offences, such as burglary or theft, for example, can absorb significant capital with little to ‘show’ for it. Switching focus to nurture the offender and preventing the conditions in which a villain ‘attacks’ can prevent crime as well as improving the standing of the organisation within the community.
Providing paint etc. to a gang of youths who tend to commit anti-social behaviour, and instead allowing them to create a mural on a factory wall, for example, creates a sense of ownership of the space and inclusivity with the organisation that can prevent the opportunity for crimes to be committed. Changing focus from preventing offences to nurturing the offender, in this way, can have a significant impact on keeping a business secure.
Indirect crime prevention can be extremely effective at reducing crime and raising the profile of the organisation. It also influences the local community as it provides reassurance that their neighbourhood is not seen as attractive to vandals and the credibility created ensures the manufacturer will attract the right talent to ensure its future success.
Become part of the Community.
By taking a proactive approach to the local community manufacturers can focus on building its reputation further through factory visits/open days, community projects and STEM school events.
Investing in the local community is a great way of raising awareness of the organisation. Participation in local events, sponsorship of local sports clubs, as well as financing of local community projects can cement the organisation as part of the community.
Rather than being a target of criminal or anti-social behaviour, the organisation is seen as one with the community. Reducing crime and attracting the right talent. It’s standing within the community ensures it is seen as a career of choice.
Over the past few years, I have had the opportunity to work with many manufacturers who recognise the need to actively seek out and address their security issues, both internal and external and it gives me a good feeling knowing I have helped them to achieve stability within their business through innovative protection of their assets.