All beverage categories in the industry are excellent examples of the constant change syndrome (CCS) because products and packages in the marketplace, as well as the methods by which they were created, are forever changing in some fashion or another.

The drivers of change usually are competition, consumer demands, innovative products or packages, and the ever-present manufacturing cost. Normally, the marketing and sales focus is on increased volume, more shelf space and expected profits from promotions and other incentives.

The majority of marketing and/or sales activities are performed outside of the beverage production or distribution facility as the last step (distribution) in the supply chain. But before this happens, we all must be constantly aware of the crucial activities performed inside the facilities and understand the necessary protection that must be provided to the assets of creation. Let’s take a look and review what the protection of assets realistically involves.

Many high-priority tasks are present in the daily operations of beverage production or distribution facilities; therefore, the assets that are used to accomplish these tasks should be protected. Specifically, the assets are the people and the facility. Because these assets are classified as critical, protection must involve a safe and secure environment for people and facilities. That should make safety and security a high-level priority for management. But how should they be protected, and why should they be protected?

From production to retail, most finished packaged beverages become highly desirable commodities that are exposed to difficult operating conditions whether at the beginning at the production end and damage, pilfering and other acts of theft at the other end.

From an operations perspective and an engineering viewpoint, safety and security primarily are the responsibility of operations personnel. A review of each aspect will serve to emphasize the importance with possible approaches (philosophies, programs and policies) that should be used to provide asset protection.

Safety: The safety area should be addressed with a two-part, comprehensive program involving personnel and the facility in which people operate. Observations, studies and experiences in numerous beverage categories indicate that well-intended safety programs are designed and installed but often fail to achieve results because they have not been effectively executed.

There also has been witness to such failures, usually in the personnel portion, because significant parts of the program were omitted, installed with untrained personnel or not thoroughly understood. This is unfortunate and can continue to occur, resulting in lost-time accidents and production, lawsuits, and even death. Therefore, personnel safety must address training in philosophy, policy and procedures for each operation; clothing, including hard hats, safety glasses, gloves, steel-toe shoes and compact uniforms; and operating environment awareness throughout the plant.

These are examples of the minimum criteria, and more comprehensive guidelines are available from government departments and national agencies, which also provide rules and regulations for compliance.

The second area is facility safety, designed to ensure a plant’s physical conditions have been designed or modified to prevent personnel from performing unsafe acts. Traditionally, this is accomplished by providing non-skid material on floors, adequate and properly placed lighting at work stations, overhead conveyor nets, floor guardrails for operating equipment, locked restricted areas, and sufficient operating space at each operation.

Another facility safety area deals with loading docks and forklift travel routes throughout a plant. Identification and protection of such areas are necessary for restriction and/or limited access. Again, available guidelines from various sources should be utilized to ensure these areas are conducive to a safe operation.

Security: As mentioned, all types of beverages are vulnerable to acts of sabotage, theft and other forms of illegal attempts to subvert the legitimate flow from production to consumer. An informed personnel role is essential to security programs; however, the physical facility, externally and internally, is the major thrust in our brief of protecting assets.

Some basic approaches should be considered regardless of the methods or security system used.

Planning for facility security should begin from the outside looking into the property. Viewing the property, the buildings and the various access points to the site in this manner allows proper determination of a one-way (controllable) personnel and traffic flow through a gatehouse into and out of the site. Protective devices such as fencing, lights, gates and doors all are part of the controlled security, whether infrared beams, spots or sensors, they require proper decisions. Operations managers must ask: what should be protected and how?

Internal areas such as raw materials storage, promotional documents, testing laboratories, computer centers and other operational areas (compressors, generators) are assets that, if not protected, are exposed to perversion addicts.

Safety and security in the beverage arena is ongoing and endless. BI