While the automotive industry is growing and evolving, so are the risks associated with dealership operations. In recent years, the auto dealership industry has experienced an increase in security threats, making it crucial for dealerships to prioritize the safety and security of their operations. Theft of vehicles and parts, data breaches, and employee misconduct are just a few of the many security challenges that dealerships face on a daily basis.
To respond to these challenges, dealerships must develop and implement a comprehensive security plan that addresses all potential vulnerabilities. A comprehensive plan will include regular staff training and the use of security technology, such as video surveillance and access control systems. It is also essential to emphasize the importance of security to staff and to develop a security culture within the dealership.
Here are four tips to train staff on dealership security procedures. By following these steps, dealerships can ensure that their employees are well-equipped to handle security threats. At the same time, it can help minimize the risks associated with their operations.
1. Conduct Regular Training Sessions
The first step to ensuring that your staff is prepared to handle security threats is to provide regular training sessions. It is essential to emphasize the importance of security to all employees and to ensure that everyone understands their role in maintaining a secure and safe environment. Training sessions will cover a wide range of security topics, including theft prevention, data security, and emergency response procedures.
Conduct training sessions at least once a year to keep your employees current on the latest security procedures and best practices. Hold an annual refresher security training to reinforce the importance of security, update them on any changes to procedures, and review standard procedures to help them remember the policies so they don’t become complacent.
These sessions must be mandatory, regardless of employees’ position or experience level. To ensure the effectiveness of the training, use experienced professionals who have in-depth knowledge and guidance on security topics. Moreover, the dealership security plan needs to state all new hires go through an orientation that includes an overview of the dealership’s security procedures.
It helps to use multiple methods to keep training engaging and effective. Besides, everyone learns differently. These training sessions may include interactive presentations, hands-on activities, and role-playing scenarios. The latter can help employees practice responding to various security situations. By providing regular training sessions, you can confirm that your staff is prepared to handle security threats safely and effectively. Everything takes practice to learn and remember.
In addition to in-person training sessions, dealerships may want to look into offering online training modules that employees can take at a time that fits their schedules. These modules can cover a range of topics, including situational awareness, identifying potential security threats, and responding to emergencies. By providing online training, dealerships can guarantee all staff members have access to critical security information, regardless of their location or schedule.
It is also important to conduct regular drills to test staff members’ knowledge and readiness in case of an emergency. These can include fire drills, active shooter drills, and other emergency scenarios. By conducting drills, employees can practice reacting to emergencies and identifying potential threats. This will help them to respond quickly and appropriately in case a real-life security incident happens.
By conducting regular training sessions and drills, dealerships can make sure that their staff members are well-prepared to handle security threats and respond appropriately in case of an emergency. These sessions create a culture of security within the dealership, where employees understand the importance of maintaining a safe and secure environment for everyone.
2. Emphasize the Importance of Security
Emphasizing the importance of physical security in a dealership is essential to building a culture where security is second nature. Employees must understand that security is not an additional responsibility. It is a crucial aspect of their job. Everyone must take security seriously and understand the potential risks associated with inadequate security measures.
To emphasize the importance of security, dealership management will communicate the importance of security measures and the potential risks associated with weak security on a regular basis. This communication can be through meetings, training sessions, posters, newsletters, and other means. Dealerships must ensure that all staff members are aware of the security procedures in place, why they are necessary, and what the consequences could be if they are not followed.
Another way to emphasize the importance of security is to add it to job descriptions, employee evaluations, and promotions. Reward employees who take security seriously and show their understanding of the importance of security. The reward can be recognition, bonuses, gifts, or something of value to employees. During the onboarding process, dealerships will want to emphasize the importance of security.
It is also important to create a psychologically safe environment where staff members feel comfortable reporting security concerns and potential risks. In creating this environment, employees will feel more empowered to report suspicious activity or concerns without fear of retaliation. Dealerships should have clear reporting procedures in place and encourage all staff members to report any security concerns promptly. This should be documented in the security plan.
By stressing the importance of security, dealerships can build a culture where staff members understand the importance of maintaining a secure environment for all employees and customers. This culture can lead to increased vigilance, better security compliance, and a safer working environment for everyone.
3. Develop a Comprehensive Security Plan
Developing a comprehensive security plan is vital for maintaining the safety and security of dealership employees, customers, and assets. A tailored comprehensive security plan addresses the specific needs of the dealership along with the potential security risks, everything from theft prevention to emergency response.
The first step in developing a comprehensive security plan is to conduct a security assessment. The security assessment identifies potential risks, vulnerabilities, and gaps in the dealership’s security measures, and areas of improvement. Upon completing the security assessment, the dealership creates a security plan that addresses each identified risk.
A comprehensive security plan typically includes physical security measures, such as an access control system and remote video surveillance. Access control systems restrict access to sensitive areas of the dealership to authorized personnel. Restricted areas could be inventory storage areas, offices, areas storing the fobs, dealership service center area, and electronic systems. Video surveillance has the ability to monitor all areas of the dealership and to save all activity in recordings for reference as needed.
The security plan should also cover data security measures like network security and data backups. The purpose of network security is to protect the dealership’s computer systems from cyberattacks. Run data backups on a scheduled basis to ensure that all important data is stored securely and can be recovered in case of a data breach or system failure.
Emergency response procedures in the security plan outline what to do in potential emergency situations. You want to include all the possibilities, such as fires, natural disasters, and active shooter situations. The procedures will outline the steps for evacuating the dealership, contacting emergency services, and communicating with staff members and customers.
The security plan is not a one-and-done document. It is a living document that’s reviewed and updated regularly to ensure that it remains effective and current. This involves conducting regular security assessments, reviewing security procedures, and updating the security plan to address new potential security risks.
4. Implement Security Technology
You can have an effective security training program, but employees make mistakes, and they cannot have eyes everywhere or 24/7. Therefore, one of the most effective ways to secure your dealership is by adding video surveillance with monitoring.
Modern video surveillance technology and monitoring put multiple eyes on your dealership at all times, even when no one is on site. Video surveillance cameras can help deter potential crimes and provide valuable evidence in the event of a security breach.
In addition to installing video surveillance cameras, it is important to have a monitoring system in place that includes both technology and humans. Humans need to be trained security professionals who know how to effectively monitor the cameras and follow the procedures in responding to each type of suspicious activity.
Technology can be a valuable tool for enhancing dealership security. The security plan makes a good starting place in identifying security technologies that are appropriate for your dealership’s specific needs and verifying that they are installed and maintained correctly.
Maintaining dealership security is essential to protecting your business, your employees, and your customers. By providing regular training sessions, emphasizing the importance of security, developing a comprehensive security plan, practicing situational awareness, and using technology to your advantage, you can help prevent security incidents and protect your dealership.
Don’t forget to regularly review and update your security procedures to ensure that they remain current and effective. Stay vigilant, stay prepared, and prioritize the safety and security of your dealership at all times.
To ensure you maximize your security investment, work with a security vendor that has experience in designing security systems for dealerships. One of Stealth’s dealership customers reported that Stealth’s video surveillance with monitoring put an end to spending more than $20k per month on customer damage claims. This resulted in an instant return on their investment.
Texas Private Security License Number: B14187.