Protect and optimise manufacturing operations

Protect and optimise manufacturing operations

Physical security has always been a top concern for the manufacturing industry. Firas Jadalla, Regional Director for Middle East, Turkey and Africa, Genetec, discusses the latest physical security trends for manufacturers and explores some innovative solutions that can augment the security landscape.

Manufacturing organisations face a diverse set of security risks such as theft, sabotage, violence, vandalism and fires. They account for a large number of injuries and fatalities, cause serious damage to property, lead to downtime and cost organisations billions of dollars every year. Another important challenge is to maintain workplace safety, as work-related accidents continue to be a major issue. That is why implementing strong safety management and control is critical for manufacturing organisations to protect their assets, improve safety in the workplace and reduce the impact of accidents.

Even with supply chain challenges, labour shortages, and an uncertain economic environment created by the pandemic, the manufacturing industry remains strong. According to a report from the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) global manufacturing production has, overall, been growing at a stable pace for the last few quarters and is now well above pre-pandemic levels. But, in spite of this positive trend, the industry is concerned with how to maintain this in the future. For many manufacturers, continued growth depends on reducing unplanned downtimes.

The cost of unplanned downtime

Interruptions can occur for a variety of reasons, including theft, perimeter breaches, and cyber-attacks. These can result in massive delays in output that carry significant costs. Depending on the industry, unplanned downtime can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars every single hour. According to Forbes, industrial manufacturers can lose as much as 1-10% of available production time at a total cost of up to $50 billion a year. So, what can manufacturers do?

To reduce these interruptions, manufacturers need to:

1 – track materials and products,

2 – use and protect data more effectively,

3 – extend security to the perimeter, and

4 – ensure the safety and security of their workforce.

A unified physical security solution, like Genetec Security Centre can help reduce the frequency and duration of interruptions while also bringing manufacturers into a new age of digital transformation.

Supply chain management: warehousing and transportation risks

In a recent Deloitte poll, 72% of executives surveyed believe that the biggest uncertainty for the manufacturing industry is ongoing supply chain disruptions. Given the global nature of manufacturing, maintaining the smooth operation of the networks that produce raw materials, transform them into intermediate goods, and then create the final product is vitally important. Organisations can increase supply chain resilience by using tagging and fleet monitoring technology to keep track of highly valuable material as it moves through their facilities. Tagging involves affixing tags or labels to assets to identify each one individually and to monitor real-time locations. Fleet monitoring allows organisations to retrieve, store, and review all vehicle data, which makes vehicles easier to monitor. Both solutions can help reduce interruptions caused by assets going missing or being stolen.

Using a unified security platform, together with solutions like the Tag Tracker plugin and Security Centre Fleet Monitoring from Genetec, can reduce unplanned downtimes by making operations more secure. Specifically, by providing physical security teams with insight into where assets are along the supply chain, manufacturers can mitigate potential theft or loss in the distribution process and make investigations faster and easier.

Digital transformation and the importance of cybersecurity

Embracing digitisation and moving towards more connected, efficient, and predictive processes at facilities can help manufacturers capture growth and protection-term profitability. In 2022, 45% of manufacturing executives surveyed by Deloitte stated that they are anticipating further increases in operational efficiency as a result of current investments in the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). The goal is to reduce interruptions by leveraging the benefits of connected machines and automated processes.

Greater connectivity and automation can also increase the amount of data that manufacturers can access as most IoT and IIoT devices are transformed into sensors for data collection. Manufacturers can use this data to generate real-time insights that will increase their competitive advantage. Using a unified security system, like Security Centre, to collect and analyse data from multiple sources can give manufacturers a more complete view of their processes and help them make key decisions about how to improve efficiency. They can use the data to develop accurate forecasting and planning models, improve strategic decisions, and perform predictive maintenance, which both decreases unplanned downtime and extends the life of machines.

This data can also help manufacturers comply with government regulations. In the US, for example, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has mandated a reduction in Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)by 15% of their baseline levels by 2036.Monitoring levels of regulated chemicals in manufacturing facilities, like the HFCs for cooling and refrigeration, can be done through data collection and analytics. Non-compliance with any regulation scan result in steep fines as well as costly downtime and production delays.

It’s important to remember that increased interconnectivity can make organisations more vulnerable to interruptions caused by cyberattacks. Data breaches can have a significant impact on production. In addition to losing valuable data and intellectual property, manufacturers run the risk of having their operations halted altogether. To help mitigate these risks, manufacturers should plan to include cyber-hardened physical security solutions as part of their comprehensive approach to cybersecurity. These cyber-hardened security solutions can reduce vulnerabilities and protect against threats that could lead to expensive and damaging data breaches.

Moving security to the perimeter

Perimeter protection is the first line of defence against intrusions that can lead to costly delays. In addition to securing their perimeter, manufacturers also need to coordinate effective responses to threats in order to limit potential disruptions. Increasingly, plants that produce highly sensitive or valuable materials are at risk of experiencing drone intrusions. A hacker or malicious agent can use a drone to access wireless networks and cause interference as well as gain access to proprietary information and trade secrets. As with any intrusion, a drone can cause delays that impact a manufacturer’s overall efficiency and output. Mitigating the risks of intrusions requires a physical security solution that makes investigating and responding easier and more effective. Speeding up the processes and making them more efficient can help manufacturers get operations up and running again with minimal downtime. Security solutions that offer intrusion detection technology for Restricted Security Areas (RSA), including radar and laser-based systems, are important for protecting the perimeter and operations.

Keeping workers safe

While workplace safety has always been a top priority for manufacturers, it became increasingly important during the pandemic. Like everyone, manufacturers focused on maintaining basic safety precautions, including enforcing social distancing measures on the production floor and sanitising workspaces. They also increased their monitoring of people entering and exiting facilities as well as dangerous locations.

With their access control systems (ACS), manufacturers are able to ensure that the right people have the right access to the right areas. This can include ensuring that only properly trained people can access sensitive equipment or potentially hazardous materials. Working with a unified physical security solution means that manufacturers can modernise and streamline their access management process to increase operational efficiency and avoid costly downtimes. With a physical identity and access management solution, like Genetec ClearID™, manufacturers can strengthen security policies by automating visitor requests while also improving the flow of people. And, with detailed audit trails of every visit, security teams can quickly investigate incidents and help get production back on track.

The manufacturing industry has been experiencing strong growth despite uncertain economic times. To build on this success and capture growth in the future, manufacturers recognise that they need to find ways to reduce costly interruptions and ensure the quality of their products and safety of their people. A unified physical security solution like Security Centre can help reduce the frequency and length of interruptions in operations by protecting the supply chain, improving decision-making, reducing cybersecurity risks, and enhancing workplace safety.