Manufacturing facilities have unique security needs. Facility managers are responsible for protecting everything from people, property, equipment, and products to data, records, and other sensitive information. And while it’s necessary to abide by an array of regional, federal, and industry standards and laws, all of this security and compliance needs to be balanced with allowing workers, contractors, inspectors, and customers to use these worksites safely and efficiently. That’s why a visitor management system (VMS) can be a critical tool in managing manufacturing facilities.
Visitor management systems can address both physical security and cybersecurity needs. And the best systems can integrate with the tools already in place in a manufacturing facility.
Below, we’ll look at some of the ways the manufacturing industry can use a VMS.
The importance of comprehensive facility management in logistics
Manufacturing facilities play an integral role in the supply chain, affecting nearly every product and service in the consumer ecosystem. Any process disruptions can have significant ripple effects throughout the industry or the economy. As a result, protecting manufacturing sites is a complex and multi-faceted endeavor.
To secure a manufacturing site, facilities managers need to perform regular risk assessments and consistently employ the most up-to-date physical and cybersecurity measures. Risk assessments need to take into account factors such as:
- Physical security breaches of the facility
- Product and inventory fraud
- Workplace violence
- Intellectual property protection
- Mobile device security
- Cloud computing risks
- Sensitive data protection
- Maintenance and replacement of legacy systems
- Public health risks from infectious diseases
According to a 2019 CISA report, the manufacturing sector reported the highest number of insider attacks in the critical infrastructure sector. IBM’s most recent Insider Threat Report from 2020 estimated that the average cost of insider attacks – which can come from employees, contractors, suppliers, and other third-party vendors – cost over $11 million in 2020, and the number of incidents increased by 47% from the previous year.
Even when personnel resources are allocated to physical security and cybersecurity and from both insiders and outside bad actors, manufacturing facilities increasingly need to invest in risk mitigation tools, such as surveillance, access control, identity authentication tools, and other visitor management systems and software. Being proactive allows manufacturing facility managers to not only predict, prevent, and prepare for threats, but also deter, detect, mitigate, and report them.
Benefits of a visitor management system for manufacturing facilities
From the moment guests walk through the door of your manufacturing facility, a VMS helps greet and guide them, making a good first impression and boosting your brand image. VMS technology from Sine also follows your guests on their journey throughout your facility, helping them understand the risks and stay out of danger. By the time they leave, people visiting your site have left behind enough information to help you assess future risks, make decisions about how to manage new visitors, and add insight into how people use a manufacturing worksite.
Here are just some of the major benefits a VMS like Sine can help you manage a manufacturing facility:
A digital visitor management system provides a variety of safety features for everyone at a manufacturing facility. For example:
- Access control can ensure that only the people who have a reason to be on your site enter your building. Passcodes, access cards, biometric scans, and mobile device apps can all help grant or deny access to the manufacturing facility or specific parts of it in order to keep people and property safe from anyone who has not been vetted. It also allows facilities managers to gain insight into who uses the building, how often, and for how long.
- Automatic emergency notifications allow site managers to notify anyone who has checked in electronically to receive real-time messages about threats or evacuation instructions. Geofencing technology can also alert anyone in a specific area of threats they may face (or alert security that guests may pose a threat to sensitive equipment or data).
- Touchless check-in with Sine also lets manufacturing facilities keep visitors safe from public health threats, such as COVID-19 and the flu. During outbreaks, temperature checks and vaccine or other health questionnaires can be added to the check-in process.
While vetting your visitors before their entry is a great start when it comes to improving security, manufacturing facilities with sensitive information, special tools, or dangerous equipment may also need a real-time view of what’s happening on site. Tools that record visitor information can even help boost your employees’ productivity by preventing them from being distracted by surprise visitors.
Visitor management tools and integrations that help provide facilities managers in manufacturing the visibility they need include:
- Physical and digital badge printing not only lets visitors scan their way into the site based on their credentials, but it gives your staff an easy way to identify visitors so they can greet them, ensure they’re in the right place, and ask questions when something seems wrong.
- Sine’s VMS software allows facilities managers to manage assets and track the location of visitors via their smart devices, use geofencing to monitor movements into off-limits areas, track entry and exit times to aid in any subsequent investigations, and help report incidents, accidents, or exposures and stay compliant in real-time. It also helps building managers track capacity and alter everything from entrance requirements to HVAC operations, makes employee movements visible for timecard tracking, and makes contact tracing easier in the event of a COVID outbreak.
Collecting visitor data allows for unique insights, but it is an increasingly tricky business in light of new privacy regulations. The manufacturing industry has seen a steep incline in data breaches over the last few years. In 2021, Verizon reported that 66% involved the theft of personal information. That’s why Sine features balance information collection with data protection, and compliance.
- Intuitive dashboards and the reports they can create to provide insight into facility management are a popular feature of Sine. However, companies will want to ensure that they collect only the data they need and do what they can to anonymize or otherwise protect what they decide to store and use for analytics.
- Optimizing workflows in manufacturing using Sine Workflows allows facilities managers to save time and stay compliant at the same time with tools that improve incident reporting and automate company inductions to save time on-site for their employees, contractors, inspectors, etc. Having this “paper”work — from licensing and other credentials to vaccine status and non-disclosure agreements — available in a digital format that can be completed ahead of arrival allows everyone on site to get right to work and lets managers store this information in a way that makes compliance reporting simple.
- As an international vendor, Sine allows manufacturing managers to go the extra mile when adhering to industry-specific regulations and laws on data collection. Non-compliance with data governance rules, such as the EU’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations), can result in hefty fines and open companies up to lawsuits. Investing in privacy compliance upfront can save manufacturing companies millions of dollars or more in the long run.
While manufacturing companies are at increasing risk of security breaches and acts from vandalism to theft can cost time and money, most people who try to enter a manufacturing facility are employees, contractors, and inspectors who have busy schedules and require an efficient check-in or entrance process. That’s why investing in Sine’s solutions is also an investment in convenience.
- Paperless check-in tools, such as check-in apps on mobile phones, take paper out of the picture and replace it with an easy way for guests to identify themselves and secure entry. Check-in features can even include QR codes and face-scanning technology. Different check-in workflows can also ensure that employees have a fast track into the facility while contractors and other irregular visitors get a second look.
- The integration of third-party platforms into Sine’s software also allows manufacturing companies to provide their employees and visitors with maximum convenience. These can do everything from provide free Wi-Fi, automatically admit verified contractors, and allow facilities managers to create custom entry forms for different types of guests.
Integrating visitor and contractor management
It’s crucial for a visitor management system to streamline the visitor check-in process while increasing security and improving the protection of visitor data.
When it comes to managing contractors, all of these issues come up and show just how much Sine has to offer the manufacturing industry. All corners of the industry rely on contractors for their specialized skills, but also have to be careful when it comes to the risks they may pose to employees, for example, when they’re not familiar with facility protocols.
Sine’s VMS and its integrations can cover all of your bases when it comes to managing contractors at a manufacturing facility, including:
- Requesting credentials in advance of a contractor’s arrival
- Sending and receiving forms and liability waivers to prescreen workers and streamline onboarding
- Welcoming contractors to the site
- Tracking compliance across all of your locations
- Securely store the documents you receive
- Send customized site safety instructions and company guidelines