South African business managers are missing out…
Hear me out and give this some serious thought:
For most of us there has been little to no positive scenarios when it comes to our business life during lockdown. However, when we look hard enough with a different mindset that may not have to be the case….
This is exactly what occurred five (5) weeks ago when a client of ours in the manufacturing sector called me up and asked me if there was any way I could review their risk and loss control threats during this period.
The client himself is the GM and had been using the ‘downtime’ to walk his premises and look at weakness he could notice in regard to their physical security. I immediately arranged to meet him on site to give my input. My thinking at the time was it would be lekker to get out into the sun and a different environment, and to spend some one-on-one time with a client.
What transpired from this exercise was nothing short of brilliant. You see without the normal day to day clutter that you are tied up and distracted with, certain things appear clearer. I headed out to Alrode and met him. We began our walk about that then evolved into an unexpected strategy session. with his site and operating experience and my professional loss control insight both he and I were literally able to assess and create an entirely new crime and loss control blueprint over the next three (days).
Some of the things we did WITHOUT prying eyes and obstruction were:
- Re positioned several of his CCTV cameras. Including adding three additional cameras that were in high-risk zones not given much attention before, two of these are covert and returning staff will not know they are there.
- We watched archived video footage of a strike in 2018 that had turned violent, and their premises had been invaded. From that I was able to provide ideas of suitable adjustments to be made in the form of gate replacement, reinforcement of two smaller gates and their pillars. We identified where admin staff would park their cars during hostile events and implemented some other more discreet preventive and reactionary tactics.
- I reviewed their pre-employment process and policies and was amazed to discover how weak their entire screening process was. Subsequent changes were advised and will be introduced when the HR manager returns. Exactly the same Due Diligence techniques are to be implemented for vendor selection and contractor hiring.
- Prior to lockdown we had three (3) undercover agents deployed at his company, after thoroughly reviewing their reports and his incident and flash reports we are adding a fourth (4) agent in the disguise of a security officer working the loading zone as a checker.
- Three (3) suspicious sick notes presented before the lockdown by a forklift driver and two (2) packers were given to me. All three were investigated and guess what? Surprise for these three upon return. They are walking straight into hearings for the submitting of fraudulent sick/doctors notes.
- Finally, I was able to comprehensively demonstrate to him and subsequently to the Managing Director the undeniable importance of allowing us to run OSINT (Open-Source Intelligence) assessments on employees at high-risk departments. Through deep dive searches we were able to create very informative risk profiles based on lifestyle posts and followers/follows of the individuals picked for the demonstration. In one case the client was completely taken by surprise to learn his ‘trusted’ shop steward was a very vocal and loyal supporter of the EFF. When in fact he had stated on many occasions he opposed the organization’s political ideologies and his dislike for their leader.
The lessen we all took away from this was that no matter how many good intentions and ideas we have, we never really get to implement and explore new alternatives because normal life is hectic.
As I am a criminal investigator and risk consulting professional, this exercise allowed me to capitalize on the opportunity of a premises being quiet and unoccupied. Going forward though, I’m certainly going to be spending more time “Educating” my clients on the importance of risk mitigation methods such as OSINT. Something we’ve being doing for years, but admittedly done during actual investigations. Now I see it as part of the everyday loss and fraud control practices, every business should have in their risk management toolbox.
Admittedly I feel pretty proud of myself and my team for using this very bizarre situation to create some new investigation services, and some very unique loss control techniques for all our clients. The uncluttered space to think and look brought out ideas and considerations both of us had missed before.
I would love to hear from you on your opinions and thoughts regarding your own internal concerns and frustrations. I’m willing to bet (say a bottle of high priced Red) that we will have a solution given the time to calmly assess. Truth be told after 27 straight years of doing this I would be a real twat if I couldn’t…. but sometimes it just takes uninterrupted thinking.
“The answers are out there… just ask “
082 820 5363
Call me directly to plan your re-open Security strategies and investigation requirements going forward. We are ready to rock some boats.