Not so long ago, the idea that Yorkshire’s own food industry might need security guards
would have seemed laughable. Back then, people would buy their bread from the local baker, their groceries would be provided by independent farmers and meat and dairy produce would be provided by local butchers and dairies. The advantage of this system was that your family’s food and drink would come from an individual that you knew and trusted – you knew exactly what to expect from that nice old man that ran the bakery or the young woman who wrapped your sausages every Saturday. While we may lament the passing of these days, there’s little point in dwelling upon the past. The rapid pace of progress has meant that we now require greater convenience, greater variety and greater cost-effectiveness when it comes to our food, and that means that the food industry has become a formidable pillar of global infrastructure. As a by-product of this corporate evolution, the domestic food industry has developed its own unique security requirements, too…
A recipe for success – or disaster?
Perhaps more so than any other area of retail, the food industry relies on reputation to guarantee success, popularity and continued growth. Nowhere else is reputation as vital as in restaurants, supermarkets and food manufacturers, and in no other industry can reputations be damaged so quickly and easily. In the days when independent agriculture and small traders were the norm, quality control was a simple matter. The local farmer knew that his trade depended on the quality of his produce or the health and vitality of his livestock, so he made it his business to ensure that this quality was maintained at a constant level. The baker, too, would have been secure in the knowledge that her loaves were of a consistent quality – they should be; she made them herself after all. Now, though, the companies that produce the food on our supermarket shelves and on our restaurant menus are enormous – they are manned by countless individuals, each with a hand in the quality control of the products that eventually end up on our plates and in our stomachs. Securing the continued quality of such products is a difficult process indeed.
It would be nice to think that all of the individuals employed in the food industry are professionals who take their jobs extremely seriously – after all, a mistake or a lapse in judgement in such positions could affect the health of families and individuals nationwide. Unfortunately, anyone who has worked for more than a few years in any industry will know that high standards of professionalism are by no means guaranteed, regardless of the importance of authority of the employee in question. It would only take one dissatisfied or just plain unprofessional employee to slip a foreign object into a product ready for shipment and the reputation of the company in question would be compromised greatly. In an industry where reputation is everything, such an event could be costly indeed.
Fighting the unexpected
It’s not just ignorant or malicious employees that could discredit a food company or harm its customers, however. These days, much of our food comes sealed in cellophane packages or packed in cardboard boxes, but fruit and vegetables are still sold loose, and no amount of packaging can keep out a determined individual. We’ve all heard horror stories about deranged people slipping sharp objects into pieces of fruit or chocolate bars, and others who spray the fresh produce with unpleasant liquids. Such occurrences may be rare but they do happen – they’re unsanitary, unsafe and can greatly harm customers as well as a company’s valuable reputation.
The examples listed above are symptoms of progress that 21st century businesses just have to deal with, but that isn’t to say that they can’t do anything about them. With the right security methods in place, your company will be far less likely to become the victim of a spurned employee’s ire or the unsanitary habits of an unstable customer. The kitchen of a restaurant is a busy place, certainly too busy for a head chef to keep an eye on all of the staff and ensure that they remain professional and sensible at all times. CCTV monitoring is an inexpensive and effective way of ensuring that your food preparation staff members aren’t doing anything they shouldn’t. If there’s a good chance they’ll be caught in the act they’ll be less likely to flaunt the rules, while those who act sensibly won’t have anything to worry about.
Visible security presence – Supermarkets and shops handling food are different matters entirely. While CCTV security may be an effective means of preventing and catching guilty individuals, by the time you get to look at the footage it may already be too late. If products have been compromised they need to be taken off sale immediately – if they’re sold, the damage has already been done. In this instance, the best way of stopping potential criminals and catching them in the act is with manned security guarding. Potential criminals are far less likely to attempt their crimes if they think they might get caught, and a security guard will be your eyes and ears while you can worry about the more important aspects of running your business.
Maintaining quality control and preserving the good reputation of your business can be a difficult task in the food industry, but with the help of security methods like manned security guarding and CCTV surveillance, the job will be much easier in future.