I, before superannuating in October 2009, was working with Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd., a public sector undertaking of Govt. of India.
This corporation is engaged in the business of Refining, Storage, Distribution and Marketing of Petroleum products in India. The corporation has a sales turn over of INR 1,473,370 million, Market sales at 28.83 MMT and Crude throughput of 22.20 MMT.
There are 26 million LPG customers catered through 49 LPG bottling plants. Retail Sale volume of 16.6 MMT is dealt through an extensive network of distribution system to retail outlets for MS/HSD. The balance of market sale is for direct customers and other products like aviation fuels, lubricants, etc.
It has about 14,000 employees on its rolls.
My position was responsible for management of Health, Security, Safety & Environment systems in the corporation. Development of new policies, systems and procedures, and ensuring its enterprise wide implementation an important role is being played by this corporate entity. “Security” is vital for the hydrocarbon industry, specially being a softer target and always on the radar for anti-socials, the Corporation has given due importance to have a senior level coordinator to handle this.
How do you enable faster response to security threats?
Faster communication to all concerned, without undue red-tape, makes it highly responsive. A free flowing, two-way, clearly understood communication, i.e. top-down or bottom-up, is a key to faster response. It is important that any communication shall not cause commotion owing to lack of understanding, either over emphasizing or underestimation, as both these are capable of creating confusion/chaos.
Describe the integration of technology, physical solutions and security manpower.
Both Technology and/or physical solutions are to supplement and compliment each other, rather than to nullify/counter each other’s impact. Despite technological solutions being faster and integrated, it cannot replace human interventions. However, there room for human complacency to be overcome by technology. Similarly, humans should not become guinea pigs of technology-based systems. Both have to co-exist and compliment each other. As we know, higher volumes can easily be handled by technology, but to supervise a system, human interface is ideal. There is no definite percent that can be drawn between technology and physical solutions. The factors like cost, availability and threat are interdependent, and a judgment is to be taken based on all these together.
How can companies adapt global strategies in corporate India? What are some strategies that should be adapted?
For corporate India, aspects like standardization of products/systems; ease of replaceability of components, sub-systems, etc.; and expandability to diverse locations and demographics may make it simpler for adoption of any global strategy. A very advanced technological solution may not be needed for a smaller and comparatively safer location, whereas it may not be so otherwise. Expandability should help in adopting at a later date, if the situation demands.
How can the private sector and the government coordinate in the area of corporate security?
There are many opportunities where the government and private sector can join hands to reach the same goal. For example, if state or central government is planning to have any city or critical area in a city to be under the surveillance of a digital camera system. All players in that area, ATM booth operators, banks, gas stations, shop owners, hospitals, malls, etc. that have independent surveillance systems can join hands with local authorities, so as to have an integrated system. This will be of mutual benefit to both. Many of the equipment need not be duplicated. If “A” is buying a camera of a particular range, possibly by using common specification for cameras put up by “B,” “C.” etc., it may serve all the users. Better planning and coordination can avoid undue high costs. (In a lighter vein, I am sure the digital camera suppliers would not like this idea.)
What can companies do to assess and manage risk?
There are tools that can be developed by the individual companies based on their own threat perceptions and identified risks. Managing risk 100 percent is not possible; therefore one can, after knowing/assessing the risk, have a clear option of how the risk can be mitigated, within the reasonable cost. However, the knowledge of “residual risk” or the risks that cannot be mitigated shall make the individual corporation more attentive/cautious about it.
Is there anything you’d like to add?
Since any security risk cannot be fully mitigated, one should start accepting the fact about residual risks and get going. Make all concerned aware of these factors and if possible develop the security assessment score card jointly with all employees privy to it. If possible co-create the “risk mitigation plan” with costs involved. This practice will:
- create awareness amongst all about security/safety threats.
- cause undue/unfounded threats to vanish from the minds.
- provide new insight, which will be available to both management and employees about security as a challenge and no longer remain a point to be discussed in boardrooms.
- allow all employees to be champions for security and let them act as the ears/nose to Management when there are security lapses.
Interview by Jessica Livingston.