A Taste of Innovation

A Taste of Innovation

Up-to-date technology provides high-level security for Crider Foods

Privately owned and operated, Crider Foods represents a commitment to high-quality products, food safety and customer service. The Georgia-based supplier of fresh, frozen and pre-packaged food has been in business for six decades and is a leader in the food industry.

The Crider Foods Canning Facility was built in Stillmore, Ga., after a fire destroyed the company’s original Augusta plant. In 2003, a “fully cooked” plant was added to the site. As part of their commitment to being a leader in canning proteins and in its fully cooked operation, Crider places high priority on investing in equipment and expertise to ensure continuous improvements.

Securing the Food Supply

After completion of the canning plant, Crider needed an effective way to provide security for its large production and processing facilities. They contracted with Vanderbilt Industries, a global leader providing state-of-the-art security systems, to set up a high-level security system that would monitor operations throughout the expansive facility.

Today, the Vanderbilt SMS system manages access for more than 500 employees and contractors at approximately 150 contact points spread over 11 locations at the Stillmore campus. Locations include the fully cooked plant, company headquarters, visitors’ lodge, canning plant, cooler building, transportation building,warehouses and other sites. Tutela Inc., out of Brunswick, Ga., is the integrator and installer on this long-running project.

The Vanderbilt system helps management to control employee access throughout the plant, ensuring that only authorized individuals can access each individual area.

“The Vanderbilt system enables us to manage employees so that they can access only the areas where they have been scheduled to work, when they are scheduled to work,” explained Ron Sasser, Crider’s IT Director, who also oversees security. “We also have the flexibility to easily change those access privileges as needed, at any time.”

Crider also uses their Vanderbilt access control system to verify time and attendance information. If an employee doesn’t punch in, Sasser and staff can use the system to verify when he or she has entered the property. In addition to controlling access to buildings and within buildings, Crider employs guards at the facility’s road entrances to verify that all vehicles coming onto the property are authorized to be there.

Achieving Full Compliance

While asset protection is always an issue, for Crider Foods the No. 1 priority is maintaining full compliance with food and safety regulations in order to achieve the highest level of Safe Quality Food (SQF) Certification. Crider has succeeded in gaining SQF Level 3.

“We are committed to an extremely high level of access control management to prevent any cross contamination of our products,” Sasser said. “Only a few companies reach [SQF Level 3]. To reach such a certification level, we carefully control the movement of all individuals within the complex, and this means, for example, restricting access to chemicals and to the roofs of our buildings, among other sensitive areas. Our security system is absolutely critical to helping ensure compliance to all the health and safety rules and regulations we have in the food production industry. ”

An Integrated Approach

In addition to the access control solution, Crider also deploys 100 IP video surveillance cameras to keep any eye on operations.

“Cameras are helpful,” Sasser said, “but you have to start with access. My access control system tells me who I’m seeing on the video. Now, I know who someone is, because the access control system puts them in that location. Without access control, the cameras are only so good.”

Over the years, the Vanderbilt SMS system has helped Crider Foods to reach and maintain their strict access control goals.

“The Vanderbilt system is working well,” Sasser said. “It’s doing everything it is supposed to do. We’ve used it for so many years, and Tutela has been very good taking care of any issues and system expansion needs along the way. If we have a need, this team gets it taken care of. “

The Vanderbilt system, under Tutela’s watchful installation and administration, provides a layered level of security starting from the minute each employee or visitor steps onto the Crider property, down to limiting access to chemical storage.

The system supplements time and attendance data and provides documentation for OSHA reporting. But, at the end of the day, Crider’s high-level security system also provides management the tools they need to achieve one of the highest Safe Quality Food (SQF) Certification levels in the industry, and that’s worth a great deal in proof of product quality and company reputation.

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

About the Author

Mitchell Kane is the president of Vanderbilt Technologies.

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