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Security and its impact on staff morale

Security and its impact on staff morale

Implementing a new security system in your distribution can meet with some resistance from drivers and others with negative responses like “don’t you trust us” and “you think we’re a bunch of thieves!” So before presenting your new security solution to the team, consider all the positives that the introduction of new security measures in our organisations can bring and it isn’t just about the detection of dishonesty.

Whilst security systems are primarily considered to be about reducing a company’s losses, the implementation of a system gives management the opportunity to challenge how things are done, that often leads to positive organisational change, efficiencies and streamlining of processes, all of which assists management to secure jobs in the business.

A robust security management system should ensure that all contact with items of value is limited to just those personnel that add value to the process. Warehouse staff pick, palletise and load goods onto the trailer, whilst retail staff receive the delivery and restock the outlet. The vehicle driver is the means by which the goods reach their destination. He or she has enough responsibility already driving an articulated HGV on busy roads, down narrow streets, having to have knowledge of all the latest safety rules, being patient and polite to other road users - after all he or she is the company’s representative on the road. The security sealing system is out of the driver’s hands and should not be any part of the driver’s responsibility.

The security seal on the rear door indicates any access to the load between DC and destination. If the seal created on the loading bank is the same seal that arrives at the retail store, even if goods received are at odds with the delivery manifest the driver is immediately exonerated of blame and can be excluded from any ensuing investigation process.

Contrast this with a firm that wants to avoid the potential of “insulting” their drivers and using no security sealing system. The driver is the easy target of suspicion. After all, the driver was alone with the goods for all that time with easy access. In any company, suspicion of dishonesty is corrosive and can lead to distrust and victimisation. The honest driver faced with his load being the subject of investigation feels responsible, senses the suspicion which creates a feeling of vulnerability, pressure and stress. It is only a small number of employees that thieve causing the integrity of others to be questioned. Most often it is human error rather than theft that causes discrepancies, so a good security procedure is more about management control than the detection of dishonesty but it covers both and makes any crooked employees seek an alternative, less secure workplace.

At a recent meeting with a well-known high street retailer’s operation’s manager an issue came up that we had not previously considered. One of the drawbacks of security sealing is the cut-off point. A trailer having been unloaded at a retail store and sealed in readiness for the next stage, what to do if urgent returns had been forgotten? Once this situation could not be retrieved without giving the security manager a conundrum: should the single use seal be broken and the journey to the next store or DC made unsecured? Alternatively should store managers be provided with multiple seals to allow for issues such as forgetting to load something that needed to be in that trailer? Handing over multiple plastic seals in most seasoned security managers minds means a loss of security control. This issue is overcome by fitting reusable seals where the seal can be broken and remade under supervision and the manifest updated with the new seal number and countersigned by the retail store manager or supervisor and the vehicle driver, providing great in-built flexibility to the system that leads to a can-do attitude amongst that staff.

Electronic reusable trailer seals bring so many advantages to road transport security such as waste and litter reduction, a lit LED display that’s easy to read in all light conditions and the ability to link the seals to sensors to automatically detect door openings. So this additional flexibility is a positive point we had not previously considered and yet must be greatly valued by all reusable seal users.

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