Today’s industrial environment provides myriad of challenges to most operation managements and research, but safety and security issues remain at or near the top of the list. Experience, observations and many studies indicate that these issues are more important in beverages than in many other consumer type products. To reflect on this premise, it’s necessary to follow the supply chain of practices, problems and philosophies that have prevailed on these two issues from early on to present conditions. 

Across the beverage arena, it is a fact that highly desirable products are made available for human consumption. Having such a highly desirable product, presents the source of many safety and security problems and philosophies ― everybody wants some kind of beverage.

That means safety and security must be considered a tandem project because they are dependent on each other as you analyze the operational flow.

Safety involves physical plant conditions, personnel whom operate there, and practices/procedures used to produce/distribute products for sale. Safety, philosophically, means practices must be adhered to throughout the entire supply chain starting from processing, packaging/production continuing to the warehouse and beyond. The scope of safety in this flow includes all equipment and other material handling tools as well as protective clothing for operating personnel. It also means that safety practices and comprehensive training should be established for all personnel, particularly as variable conditions change. Therefore, a “safety attitude” must prevail not only throughout the production facility, but also at end of the supply chain during distribution operations.

Yet, questions about security still remain:

  • How does it relate to safety?
  • Are there impacts and how important are they? 
  • How is beverage security practiced?
  • Who is responsible? 

A beverage facility must be a secure entity, externally and internally. Externally, lighting facilities must be adequate to deter accessibility and location should cover entry to 360 degrees. In addition to lighting, accessibility can be a theft problem. Unless in/out entry gates are controlled, theft always will be problematic. First, product vehicles, where checkers make in/out/return quantity checks is “standard.”  Second, employee and administrative access should, if possible, be separate from the product vehicle gate. The alternative, everyone uses the product vehicle gate to abate the theft issue. 

Apart from product flow in/out of the plant, to abate theft or fraud, internal security is necessary. Competitors or unhappy employees can present a security problem in several ways. Critical raw materials should be accessible only by authorized personnel 24/7. Production counts and finished product inventories also are sources of potential theft and procedures should be used to discourage and/or prevent theft in these counting operations.

From another view, delivery vehicle security should use lockouts to deter theft on route.

From an operations perspective, safety and security are critical. Unless programs are designed, documented and implemented within local conditions, other factors can be impacted ― insurance, loss costs, supply chain malfunction and legal problems. A safety and security program philosophy must be weighed against these factors, as knowledge of the two “S’s” saves money, resources and headaches.