According to security experts, hazardous materials can be made relatively secure when they are located somewhere at the retail facility itself. “Every retailer has a pretty good handle on how to keep products safe on their grounds,” says J. Billy Pirkle, director, environmental, health, and safety for Agrium U.S., Inc., Collinsville, IL. “But when this material is put onto a delivery truck, either coming to facility or leaving it, that’s when you increase the likelihood that something could potentially go wrong.”
Here we take a look at four ways retailers can safeguard their product deliveries.
1. Do Pre-Planning With Inbound Shippers
According to Pirkle, one of the most important first steps to inbound security is talking with the shipper doing the delivering. “In the past, people would just ask for a certain number of product shipments per season and these would show up whenever, with no set timetable established beforehand,” he says. “But since the events of 9/11, it’s not ‘security-sound’ to accept non-scheduled deliveries, even if they are coming from a company you’ve worked with in the past. It’s much more wise to talk with the product shipper at the beginning of the process and set a definite delivery date for the facility. That way, when the truck shows up that morning with the load, your personnel will be expecting it.”
2. Make Certain Drivers Are Who They Say They Are
Once a timetable for delivery has been established, retailers should make sure that the drivers bringing in any inbound products are legitimate. According to Alan Mulhern, marketing manager for DriverPassport.com/Ag Depot, Grand Forks, ND, it is sometimes hard for retailers to keep tabs on every driver making their regular delivery runs. To check out these individuals, dealerships can utilize some kind of driver checking program such as DriverPassport.com system.
“Using this, when a driver pulls into a facility, he hands a identification badge to the person checking in the load,” says Mulhern. “This badge is then run through our system, which will tell immediately if the person is a valid driver or not. Once this is established, the load can be accepted.”
3. Establish Driver Procedures With Signage, Passcodes
If someone isn’t checking in product deliveries, it is important for facilities to have a system in place to check in such loads. At most retail outlets, there are signs posted at the front gate that tell delivery drivers to check or sign in with the main office before a load can be accepted.
At some facilities, however, product deliveries are made after working hours. In these cases, says Allen Rusk, marketing manager for Wabash Valley Service Co., McLeansboro, IL, retailers should have a system in place to keep everything secure. “For drivers coming to our location, there is an access code that needs to be entered before a delivery will be accepted during off hours, which is only assigned to drivers that we have worked with,” says Rusk.
4. Keep Tabs On Outbound Deliveries
For loads being sent from the retailer to grower-customers, Agrium’s Pirkle recommends outlets train their drivers on ways to keep a load secure. “When the driver is en route, he should limit the number of times he stops and leaves his vehicle unattended,” he says. “If he does have to leave it, he should make certain it’s locked and always try to keep the truck itself in his line of sight.”
Another method for protecting the load, adds Pirkle, is for drivers to use automated filling pumps at gas stations so they don’t have to leave the truck unattended.