Precious Metal Alert: Are You Protecting Your Precious Metal Holdings from Pilfering?

The good news is, there could be considerable dollar value in the precious metals, used and new sputtering targets, and other production materials that you keep on hand. The bad news is, those materials are prone to pilfering by visitors to your business or by your own employees too. Small items that contain precious metals, or quantities of the precious metals themselves, are usually easy to conceal in a pocket, a shoe, a briefcase, or elsewhere. The result could be that dollars are literally “walking away” from your company.

Image of a gold vault door, symbolizing the value of precious metals in used sputtering targets that can be refined and recycled by Specialty Metals.

If you’re a small company with only a few trustworthy employees, you might not need to worry about pilfering. Otherwise, it’s a good idea to review the following security procedures. They can help deter theft or identify individuals who have been stealing from you if losses have already occurred.

  • Control access to your premises by equipping employees with key cards or access badges. Consider using a system that generates an ongoing record of employees’ arrivals and departures from your building too – the knowledge that their movements are being tracked will help discourage any dishonest employees from pilfering your materials. Also: If you discover that a theft has just occurred, identifying the guilty party will be a lot easier if you have an accurate record of who was on site at the time.
  • Monitor, lock, and alarm exit doors. Have you ever visited a factory where employees prop open an exit door during the warm summer months? We have. Unless you prevent that, there’s a good chance that valuable materials will walk right out the door.
  • Install a second security perimeter around areas where precious metals or other valuable materials are stored. It could be a safe room or a metal security cage with access that is restricted by a card-activated electronic lock or other means. Another option: Use an “open security” strategy by storing valuable materials in a central location that is constantly in view from a main office.
  • Install video surveillance cameras prominently throughout your premises. They should be outside your main entrance, pointed from the outside at all secondary exit doors, and positioned around production machinery and in areas where valuable materials are stored. Also: Consider installing them visibly in company parking areas; they send a signal that your company is well protected against theft.
  • Have a professional security company review and upgrade your current alarm if necessary. The addition of a few features – such as a second alarmed perimeter around storage areas or cellular (not land-line) call-out to notify local police – can make your current alarm a lot more robust.
  • Minimize the precious materials that you keep on your premises. That could mean applying “just in time” production protocols, in which new sputtering targets and other valuable materials arrive just when you need them, not weeks or months ahead of time. It also means quickly disposing of used sputtering targets or other valuable materials. The longer valuable materials sit around, the greater the chances are that they will be stolen. Troubling: Many companies only discover a theft long after it has occurred - that is usually because valuable materials have been stored on site for weeks or months. We can help you with the disposal: call Specialty Metals Smelters & Refiners at 800-426-2344 to find out about setting up a regular program to recycle and refine your precious metal scrap like gold from sputtering targets.
  • Install bright lighting in your parking lot, around exit doors, and in other key areas that could be vulnerable during non-business hours. Lights are strong deterrents. Also: If you have a stand-alone manufacturing facility, avoid having extensive plantings adjacent to your building’s exterior walls. They might be attractive, but they provide thieves with a convenient area to conceal stolen items or hide.

Also . . .

Consider hiring a security company. Even if you don’t need to have a professional security guard on your premises during business hours, consider retaining a professional security company to check on your business during non-business hours. Be sure to post signs that your premises are being monitored by that company too – they go a long way toward discouraging theft.

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