Loss prevention – Thefts from warehouse facilities/warehouse security

By Markus Erlei, Operations Manager, Battermann & Tillery GmbH, IUMI Professional Partner,

Instances of theft from warehouses are increasing. According to figures released by the Transported Asset Protection Association (TAPA), reported thefts from warehouse facilities in Europe, the Middle East and Africa in 2019 increased dramatically by 590.70%1 in comparison to 2018. A total of 1,016 thefts were reported to TAPA, although the hidden figure is estimated to be much higher.

Consequently, it is becoming increasingly important to protect warehouse facilities and the stored cargo. The level of security measures should match the value of the stored goods.

In light of this, an appropriate security concept should be developed for each storage facility. An effective concept should consist of the following three areas:

  • Active security through structural measures and mechanical security devices.
  • Surveillance and reporting using electronic and optical systems.
  • Organisational measures.


Security concepts should consider the following factors:

Securing the premises, for example;

  • Number of companies on the premises?
  • How are the boundaries secured (fencing, walls, etc.)?
  • How are the premises illuminated?
  • Is a burglar alarm system installed?
  • Is/are there a gatekeeper or external security guards?
  • Are access roads to the premises secured?
  • Are there any security checks upon entering?

Securing of the building, for example;

  • Structural design of the building (lightweight/solid).
  • Number of openings in the building, including locking systems (doors, gates, windows, etc.).
  • Is valuable cargo stored separately/in a secured area?
  • Are burglar alarm systems installed and what sort of alarm system is used (automatic/manual, electromechanical/magnetic sensors)?
  • How are the warehouse operations organised (incoming/outgoing goods, inventories etc.)?
  • Total number of employees and working hours / access rights.
  • Do sub-contractors have access to the warehouse?

Personnel security measures, for example;

  • Criteria for the selection of employees.
  • Contractual agreements with sub-contractors.

A risk classification for the warehouse can be created based on the aforementioned factors. If the cargo to be stored changes, for example from standard goods to high value cargo, the security concept is to be immediately reviewed. Accordingly, it is recommended that the security concept be regularly assessed by a risk engineer, surveyor or a specialist company.


1Source: TAPA Newsletter VIGILANT 2018/2019/2020.