The Midwest-based convenience store chain, Kwik Trip, needs to protect itself against the same threats as many of its C-store competitors. But, in addition, Kwik Trip also manages its own bakery, commissary, dairy, and warehouse — producing, packing and shipping a wide variety of goods for all its stores 365 days a year. At the store level, the company wanted to install a high-resolution video surveillance system to help protect its thousands of employees and millions of customers, minimize theft and mitigate insurance claims. At the corporate level, they wanted to tighten quality control over food preparation, storage and distribution, as well as improve safety and security across its facilities.
Hunter Security & Surveillance Systems, a Greenville, Wisc.-based integrator and Axis partner, devised a cost-saving hybrid strategy that augmented the corporation’s existing analog cameras with Axis P3301 Fixed Dome Network Cameras in high risk areas of its retail stores and outdoor Axis P1343-E Network Cameras at its car washes. Hunter also deployed a full-IP strategy at the various corporate operations centers using a mixed-array of high resolution Axis fixed and PTZ network cameras running under the management of exacqVision video management system (VMS) software.
Axis cameras have not only provided forensic evidence of criminal activity but have assisted the company in maintaining high standards for food preparation and safety, reducing merchandise shrinkage and identifying and correcting inefficiencies in production and distribution.
“Because we focus our high resolution Axis cameras on a store’s high risk areas, they’ve helped us recoup losses and provide local police with sufficient detail to identify and apprehend suspects and their cohorts,” said Brett Gooden, director of Loss Prevention for Kwik Trip Inc.
“Whether we’re talking about our retail stores, kitchens, distribution center, manufacturing plants or other facilities, employee safety is our most important priority,” he added.
Prior to 2004 only approximately 20 stores in the chain had surveillance systems in place. When Gooden was hired as the new corporate loss prevention director, he led an initiative to put analog CCTV systems in every store.
During this initiative, Kwik Trip was introduced to Axis network cameras by Hunter Security & Surveillance. Matt Hunter, president and installation specialist for Hunter Security, initially recommended Axis for Kwik Trip’s bakery and distribution center. Hunter suggested the high resolution offered by Axis cameras would help Kwik Trip better monitor its baked good production line, as well as verify product labels in the tobacco distribution center so it could more effectively oversee the handling of the high value items.
“We partnered with Hunter Security & Surveillance to deploy Axis network cameras to cover the highest risk areas of our convenience stores,” Gooden described. “This included the front doors, the cash registers, high shrink merchandise aisles and kitchens. We relegated our analog cameras to building exteriors and low shrink merchandise aisles.”
In the past, Kwik Trip often relied on employee observation to verify the facts of an incident. Today, the Axis cameras have eyes on the situation. The high resolution cameras record and reveal detailed information about robberies, shoplifting attempts, employee theft, accidents and other activities. The video support helps the chain mitigate risks and reduce losses. “Compared to the old analog cameras, we see things a lot more clearly now,” Gooden said.
Many Kwik Trip stores are situated on the corner of busy intersections. Not only do these strategic locations make the stores more accessible to customers, they also serve as an extra pair of eyes on the neighborhood.
According to Gooden, local law enforcement often reaches out to Kwik Trip to review the video captured by its Axis cameras. “If something happens in the vicinity, there’s a good possibility that the person the police are looking for has been to a Kwik Trip right before or just after the incident,” Gooden shared. “It didn’t take long for law enforcement to figure out that Kwik Trip usually has the best camera system in town.”
Because the corporate center uses the exacqVision Enterprise VMS, Hunter Security was able to take advantage of the more advanced and intelligent features such as license plate recognition at the corporate fueling stations and near-immediate video retrieval.
The benefits of the IP video system permeate throughout the entire company. “I deal with the Loss Prevention side,” Gooden said, “but our operations team also uses the Axis/exacqVision system to monitor what’s happening in our kitchen center to improve the efficiency of how we cook our food. We monitor store inventory, especially the foods we sell, to reduce waste. Based on what we witness on the video, we’ve also added and changed store policies and training to improve the quality of our customer service.”
PROJECTS in the News
The New York State Bridge Authority (NYSBA) is a government-owned entity that maintains and operates five of the bridges spanning the Hudson River. Sightlogix SightSensor, a motion-based video surveillance tool, is being used on and around the NYSBA bridges. Greg Herd, director of information technology at NYSBA said the sensors have provided the all-important return on investment and that the NYSBA relies on the technology on a 24/7 basis. “If we didn’t have the SightLogix sensors, we would be looking at traditional methods of blocking access and monitoring individuals. And that would mean a considerable amount of chain link fence, traditional motion detectors, and all the equipment that goes behind traditional detection,” he said.
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A United Kingdom military site chose Raytec VARIO White-Light LED illuminators as part of a high-security, anti-terrorism operation, concerning 24/7 vehicle inspection. To maintain the highest level of security at all times the military site must inspect all vehicles entering and leaving the site. Security staff are required to check all vehicles within a gated compound area for foreign objects and improvised explosive devices (IEDs). However, when inspecting vehicles at night, the compound required additional illumination, both under and around the vehicles. Security planners for the site specified that the chosen lighting must be installed at ground level, delivering a minimum of 100 lux along the centre line of the road, and also be energy and cost efficient. Babcock International Group, an engineering support services company was consulted to help find a suitable product and recommended Raytec. Raytec’s lighting design team produced a unique design that met the 100 lux requirement using VARIO w8 White-Light illuminators.
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B’IOTA Laboratories has completed adding IQinVision HD megapixel IP cameras to its manufacturing facility, located in Istanbul, Turkey. Bilge Security Systems is the distributor and installer for this project. A total of 34 IQeye cameras are now installed at the Turkish facility. Twenty IQeye Alliance-mini domes are installed inside the plant, and 14 IQeye 7-series cameras, in special protective housings, keep a close eye on activities at entrance gates, parking lots, and grounds. The IQeye cameras record to two different servers, both running XProtect® Milestone Essential video management (VMS). At the B’IOTA plant, video is recorded at 10 frames per second and most video is used for post-event analysis. Security guards also perform some live monitoring from multiple locations or on mobile devices.