Mission Possible - Filling a huge security gap with an accountable security system

Mission Possible

Filling a huge security gap with an accountable security system

At the corporate facility of the world’s largest automotive manufacturer, both authorized and unauthorized personnel were coming and going with little accountability. Largely reliant on the honor system, the company had zero visibility on who entered and exited the building and depended on guard personnel—along with the access control software—to identify valid or invalid credentials. Though semiautomated with access control software, the entire process was not and this left a huge security gap that needed to be immediately resolved.

The U.S.-based automotive manufacturer needed turnstiles that integrated seamlessly with the existing access control software to provide a complete secured entry control solution. Specifically, they needed a highly reliable solution that could meet several key criteria:

  • Restrict access to only authorized personnel
  • Use multiple card reader types
  • Aesthetically blend in with the corporate space
  • Be user-friendly
  • Deliver within four weeks

With the project deadline fast approaching, the automotive company looked for a U.S.-based partner that could meet all of the requirements. Alvarado was the only company that could meet and exceed the project requirements within the strict timeframe.

Meeting a Tight Deadline

Even though Alvarado had worked on projects with tight deadlines before, the size of the order posed an additional delivery challenge. Well known for being a turnstile manufacturer, could Alvarado provide a comprehensive physical access control solution for the end user?

With more than 9,000 employees entering and exiting every day, the end user needed a solution that fully integrated with their existing access control software and two different proximity reader types. They also wanted to integrate a barcode reader along with new turnstiles.

The end user’s facility had a number of high traffic areas that required its physical security to be enhanced, as well as visually pleasing in areas like lobbies and elevator banks. This meant that the turnstile product had to have a small footprint and a slim, elegant design so that it could architecturally and purposefully fit the intended access points.

The product also needed to be highly reliable and user-friendly. With thousands of employees and visitors, the turnstiles would be highly trafficked and if they malfunctioned, would be costly to the company and frustrating to users.

Finding a Partner

With the deadline for completion coming down to weeks, the automotive manufacturer could not find a partner to take on the large and complex project. That’s when Alvarado entered the picture.

“We are able to provide quick lead times to ensure customers meet their installation milestones,” said Bret Armatas, Alvarado’s CEO. With its 75,000 square foot facility and inventory to support a project of any size, Alvarado could ensure delivery within the strict timeline.

In addition to the lead time, the aesthetics and integration capabilities of the product heavily influenced the selection process. Alvarado’s SU5000 optical turnstiles offered the ideal blend of form and functionality, with its slim cabinet and modern look that enhanced the lobby space. A custom mounting solution was developed for the SU5000 optical turnstile to integrate with the access control system, two types of proximity readers and the barcode solution. It was critical that the turnstiles had the ability to detect tailgating attempts and notify staff locally and remotely of any unauthorized passages.

As a U.S. automotive manufacturer, it was important for the end user to support an American-owned company. A final deciding factor was based on the fact that Alvarado is owned and operated in the United States. Not just an assembly shop, Alvarado’s U.S.-based operations allow for faster lead times than anyone in the industry.

“We are proud to be the longest running turnstile manufacturer in the United States,” Armatas said. “We are uniquely positioned in our marketplace because a number of our competitors support and fabricate overseas. For more than 60 years, we have been called upon to secure some of the most sensitive facilities in the world.”

Combined with Alvarado’s exceptional support and customer testimonials and feedback on previous Alvarado installments, Alvarado was given the challenge of delivering all of the turnstiles as the entry control solution and all within a tight deadline.

Part of the Solution

Alvarado worked directly with the automotive manufacturer, the security integrator and electrical contractor to ensure that each phase of the project was properly coordinated. The end result was a great functioning, and looking, physical access control solution that met all the project requirements and delivered on time allowing ample time for installation.

Installed throughout the corporate facility are an impressive 33 lanes of SU5000 optical turnstiles in multiple lane sets with mid-height barrier panels, integrated barcode readers and dynamic panel illumination.

The turnstiles have proven to be highly reliable and blend beautifully with their surrounding environment. Security has vastly improved and the end user is now able to ensure that only valid users are allowed entry.

This article originally appeared in the February 2015 issue of Security Today.

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