When Arla Foods decided to go global and venture into countries such as Nigeria, the dairy producer’s security was given a major overhaul.

Arla Foods
22.08.18 DIB News

Arla: New markets require more – and more professional – employee security

Scaling down its security manual down from 64 pages to just three and scaling coverage up from the Middle East to all 19,000 global employees was part of Arla’s major security overhaul in the wake of its expansion into new markets – and all of it at no additional cost, says the dairy company. Hear more at DI’s security seminar 23-24 August.

The strategic decision is made in 2014: Arla Foods wants to go global. There are new markets in places like West Africa, Mexico and Central America to be conquered. This means new production facilities, more offices and more employees.

And security will have to keep up.

“Some of the places we expand to are third-world countries such as Nigeria, where there is great unrest. Meanwhile, employee travel activity increases, and we have a shooting against an employee in Saudi Arabia. Altogether, these factors lead to Arla’s decision to change its security set-up,” explains the dairy company’s Head of Global Security, Ole Madsen.

An internal and professional security organisation

He joins Arla in 2015 after serving as superintendent and detective chief inspector in eastern Jutland. His CV also includes international security experience in the form of a three-year stationing as head of an EU mission in Kosovo.

Ole Madsen’s task is to establish a professional internal security organisation for the dairy company.

“In 2014 we were using a small external firm in the Middle East and had a 64-page security manual that few employees managed to read all the way through,” he says.

Someone on the line two minutes after a bomb goes off in London

Today the dairy company’s security set-up is much more thorough and professional.

“Our security manual is three pages long. That means it’s read and practiced. And that’s the whole point of such a thing. We also have a travel tracker on Arla’s employees when they travel so we know where they are – or where they’re headed,” he says.

In 2014 we were using a small external firm in the Middle East and had a 64-page security manual that few employees managed to read all the way through Head of Global Security Ole Madsen, Arla Foods

Ole Madsen explains that he or his colleague can warn travellers of any changes to a security situation, and if something should suddenly happen, they’re in contact right away.

“If a bomb goes off in London, for example, we’re on the line with the employee a few minutes after. We use an app from an external provider that allows us to put our employees on the phone with a doctor, a security expert or whoever else they may need almost immediately. And for as long as they need it.”

See also: Carlsberg uses elephant to open up doors in India

Security for all 19,000 employees

Whereas security at Arla used to be something that mainly applied to Danish employees stationed in the Middle East, today the set-up covers the entire group.

“We have offices and production all over the world. Today we provide security to 19,000 employees - including those who are locally employed. And we’re covered at a professional level on par with other major international Danish companies such as Mærsk and Carlsberg,” says Arla’s Head of Global Security.

And the price?

“Almost the same as before,” says Ole Madsen.

It’s about having as small a team as possible – there are just two people in Arla’s internal security organisation – and choosing the right level and the right providers, he explains.

Learn more about security

You can learn more about how Arla implemented its new security set-up in practice by joining the Confederation of Danish Industry’s annual security seminar on 23-24 August 2018. 

Among the speakers are heads of security from companies Rambøll and FLSmidth, security company Guardian and representatives from the Danish Security and Intelligence Service.

“DI’s members are increasingly doing business abroad, and with countries where the security situation is very different than in Europe and North America,” says Senior Adviser Christine Jøker Lohmann regarding the reasoning behind DI’s security seminar, which is being held for the tenth year running.

The price for the seminar and hotel accommodation is DKK 3,500 and the registration deadline is 16 August, 2018.


DI’s tips on security abroad

- Carry out a thorough assessment of your needs. Quality over quantity is key.

- Thoroughly discuss security on the trip prior to departure.

- If you aren’t able to track employees, make an agreement about contacting home, e.g. once a day.

- Bring a satellite phone if you’re in places with poor cellular coverage.

- Remember that you’re not a tourist – stay at the hotel.
- Keep a low profile – security lies in what you do not show, what you do not wear and the places you do not go.

- Use common sense – think about where you take out money, where you eat, where you drink and who approaches you.

Karen Witt Olsen
Written by:

Karen Witt Olsen

Peter Thagesen

Peter Thagesen

Director, International Market Policy

  • Direct +45 3377 3752
  • Mobile +45 2949 4569
  • E-mail pth@di.dk

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