Ensuring food safety is more critical than ever today for the industry and supply chain, from trucking to processing and packing to storing food in temperature-controlled environments.
Now, frozen food processors are looking to restrict physical access to those with appropriate clearance only, and to limit the number of people who can enter a building to protect the safety of food and better prepare for COVID-19.
“When Illinois mandated shutdowns in March, we were deemed an essential business. However, at that point we decided to restrict access by installing doorbell cameras at every facility to secure them and ensure that we only have authorized employees entering and exiting,” says Gary Ronning, vice president of operations at Frozen Assets Cold Storage.
Chicago-based FACS operates three cold storage warehouses with a fourth opening in late fall 2020. The company provides cold storage, freezing, blast freezing, exporting, labeling, cross-docking and transloading services, along with full-service logistics.
According to Ronning, the FACS CEO and managers collectively decided to contact technology integrator BTI Communications Group, which had done previous work on the company’s physical security, surveillance and product inventory scanning systems. The company acts as a single source provider of physical security, access control, network, and complex phone (VoIP) systems, down to installation of wiring and conduit.
“We wanted doorbell security cameras installed at all our facilities as soon as possible,” says Ronning. “They responded very quickly, completing the installation within a day at two facilities, and a couple of days at another facility.”
Ronning adds, “With doorbell cameras at all three of our existing facilities, and cameras all over the docks, we are basically on lockdown. We do not allow any visitors, outside vendors or nonemployees into our buildings. Truck drivers, for example, now have to check through a specific door or a mailbox to handle any paperwork.”
Traditionally, security cameras and access control systems were installed as independent systems by security integrators. However, by entrusting this task to integrators with an extensive knowledge of the available products and component parts of both network and security systems and how they can be interconnected, there can be significant added value at food processing and handling facilities.
“Because the doorbell and dock cameras tie in to our existing access control and security system network, our IT manager can remotely monitor what is going on from different viewpoints 24/7 at work or home,” says Ronning.
It is also an advantage to find a technology provider that handles all aspects from installation of hardware to integration with the existing IT network.
“[The technology integrator] installed the antennas and did all the networking. They worked at all hours including nights and weekends to get the job done, and we have not had any issues with the system,” he says.
According to Ronning, the surveillance cameras on the shipping and receiving docks also help to deter theft and claims.
“The cameras on the dock provide video proof of exactly how many pallets we load onto the truck before sealing it,” he explains. “So, if a different number of pallets is noted on receipt, we can email the customer the video.”
For more information, visit www.btigroup.com