Andersons AVI has installed a Mobotix video surveillance solution at Autobarn in Frankston, incorporating hemispheric cameras and MxManagementCenter software. According to the end users, the system has reduced shrinkage at the store by 75 per cent.
THEFT is a huge problem for retailers and accounts for up to 40 per cent of losses per year in Australia. The Autobarn automotive parts and accessories franchise located in Frankston, Melbourne, is no exception, with thefts occurring on average every 2 days. With multiple small stock items for sale throughout the store and staff often busy serving customers, it was near impossible to prevent crime through manpower alone.
“In order to reprimand a suspected thief, staff must have followed every movement of the person in the store.” explains Alan Anderson of Andersons AVI, who installed the shop’s new security system. “Otherwise, you they are not legally entitled to stop them.”
Although analogue CCTV cameras were already in place, retrieving useable footage from them was next to impossible. So, when Roger Wallis, general manager of 115 Autobarn stores Australia-wide, decided to renovate the store, he knew it was the perfect time to explore upgrading to a modern and effective security system. This would, he hoped, act both as a deterrent and provide reliable evidence in cases of prosecution.
Anderson’s AVI undertook the system design and established that full coverage of the interior and exterior of the store would be achieved with only 12 Mobotix cameras. This was made possible by the high quality of the images and Mobotix hemispheric technology. Installation was easily completed within a day and required minimal cabling. Importantly, Mobotix decentralized technology means images are processed within the camera itself, so network load is kept to a minimum. The new MxMC (MxManagementCenter) with intelligent sorting of parameters and drag-and-drop also simplified the set up.
“Ease of installation with MxMC is fantastic,” Anderson explains, “I really like that you are not bound my how many cameras you can install – it’s unlimited. It’s also intuitive and easy for the customer to learn to use.”
With activity in every area of the store now being recorded, there is nowhere left to hide. The system’s first major success was catching a repeat offender who had been suspected of shoplifting multiple items over the previous 6 months.
In the past, it was not possible to follow the customer the entire time they were in the store, meaning staff didn’t have sufficient grounds to intercept them. Managers can monitor cameras at any time from the office, which along with the physical presence of cameras can certainly help reduce crime. However, what has been valuable, according to Anderson, is using the footage as a teaching aid.
“Managers can show footage to staff, which helps them recognise the behaviour patterns of potential thieves,” he explains. “This has really prevented a lot of thefts from occurring.”
The cameras have assisted with other business processes too.
“Mobotix cameras provide full coverage of all sides of any car in the workshop,” Anderson explains. “This means there is proof of the condition of the car when it was driven in, so customers can’t make false claims about damage to their vehicle.”
The cameras also provide an alert to staff when someone is waiting at the back door, when they press the backdoor bell, a momentary switch. The camera guarding the rear entrance then uses the Mobotix IP notify function to send a notification to cameras inside the shop, which play a doorbell sound. This has been configured with a dead time of 2 minutes for the doorbell sound, so that it is not possible to ring it repeatedly.
These Mobotix cameras have been helping out the neighbours too, with footage having been used several times to solve crimes committed in the surrounding area. In one instance, recordings were requested by the police in relation to a drug bust which occurred on the street outside.
“Detectives keep coming back for footage if an incident happens near the store, they were blown away by the quality of the footage,” says Anderson. Another time, video footage from Autobarn’s system assisted with conviction of a long-time thief at neighbouring outdoor and camping store, Kathmandu.
Before the Mobotix cameras were installed, stock loss through theft was a significant problem for the store, and was sitting at around $A50,000 per year, or 2 per cent of annual turnover. This has now plummeted to just a quarter of that figure, to just 0.5 per cent of turnover and Roger Wallis of Autobarn is very pleased with the result.
“It’s a great improvement,” Wallis says. “Thanks to Andersons AVI and their great level of support, we now have a CCTV system which allows us to easily to monitor the store and view footage. Also, by showing staff recordings of thefts to staff, we have been able to teach them how to recognise behaviours. This has definitely been a factor in the reducing the number of incidents.”♦