A manufacturing facility is a changing environment in which the constant flow of goods, materials and people creates opportunities for and provides attractions to thieves. Access control systems are designed to allow access only to those with the necessary authorization.
Electronic access control systems generally comprise three components: the physical barrier, the identification device, and the door controller and software. The identification device uses one or more of a number of different technologies, such as a proximity card and reader using RFID; a smart card and reader; a swipe card and reader; PIN pads; or a biometric solution. The door controller and software are at the heart of the system and are used to decide who can gain access through which access point at what time of the day. These can vary depending on the size of the system and on how many readers or sites one is trying to control from one point. Some of the options include a stand-alone door controller linked to a single door with no software; a number of door controllers all linked together to a single PC to control one site; or a number of sites all interlinked together over a wide-area network (WAN).
Within a manufacturing setting which sees large numbers of people entering and leaving the building at particular shifts, time and attendance systems using badge/token technology can be used to record employee hours. These can be processed against shift patterns and working rules in real time to feed transactions through to the company's payroll. Fast, accurate and easy-to-use time and attendance systems also help keep employers on the right side of the European Working Time regulations, and help them plan holidays, absences and manpower rosters. Hardware links can also be connected to a fire alarm panel to produce an automatic fire roll call report.
To monitor the entrance of vehicles, surveillance cameras can be used to identify license plates of vehicles. Some systems can also store photographs of the driver and vehicle for subsequent analysis. Automated number plate recognition software allows critical information to be passed onto the police to assist in the pursuit, identification and capture of offenders. Visual proof of parking offences with the corresponding time and date information is provided as evidence and to avoid disputes.
With a range of valuable assets being kept on site, asset tagging can prove beneficial. Asset tags are used to identify, locate and track physical assets and discourage fraud within a business at specific points or within broad coverage zones. Tag identification and location information is instantly forwarded over a network to a host computer running the software to provide real-time management solutions via powerful reporting, display, and decision and control functions. Alert signals can also be tied into existing alarm, access control and surveillance systems. Linked assets and people can be tracked and located within close proximity, thus providing an automatic, non-invasive asset protection solution while enabling freedom of movement.
The outcome of a risk assessment for a manufacturing site will determine the level of security required, and in turn influence one's choice of access control system to be used. BSIA access control members and the Association's professional security consultancies can assist with this. In the United Kingdom, BSIA members go through rigorous checks before they are admitted into membership, meaning only quality companies are selected. BSIA members are independently inspected to the quality standard ISO 9001:2000 with a UKAS-accredited (United Kingdom Accreditation Service) inspectorate; are compliant with relevant British Standards and Codes of Practice; are financially sound and professional; conduct staff vetting where appropriate; are technically proficient; are committed to quality training and development; and are up-to-date with the latest developments in British and European policy and legislation.
Lastly, be aware of relevant legislation. In Britain, for example, the Disability Discrimination Act was amended in 2005 and has significant impact not only in terms of the design of new systems, but also means that many systems may need to be upgraded to ensure compliance. The BSIA has created a guide to help design access control systems following the introduction of the revisions.