Magazine Article | February 1, 2006

DVR System Cuts Shrink For Harley-Davidson

Source: Innovative Retail Technologies

A Harley-Davidson retailer uses DVR (digital video recorder) technology to identify areas of vulnerability before they lead to significant losses.

Integrated Solutions For Retailers, February 2006

Before Mackie Harley-Davidson Buell opened in Oshawa, Ontario in 2003, management decided it needed a way to minimize the potential for theft while simultaneously allowing customers to see and touch its merchandise as much as possible. The retailer offers a complete line of Harley-Davidson motorcycles, with approximately 100 new models on display in its 10,000-square-foot showroom. Also featured is a wide range of other motorcycle-related products, including clothing, general merchandise, and motorcycle parts and accessories.

DVR System Needs To Run 24/7
While the store was under construction, Terry Nodwell, general manager, researched various loss prevention solutions, eventually deciding that DVR technology would be the best bet based on flexibility of use in various areas of the store. After examining several hardware configurations, Nodwell selected the BX2 DVR system from Dedicated Micros for its close adherence to the stringent criteria the retailer had set. Such criteria encompassed the ability to run around the clock rather than in "on again, off again" fashion, as well as durability, remote Internet access, and the option to store several months' worth of recorded images, including 8.5-inch by 11-inch close-ups of individual customers. The system comprises 14 cameras, one at each of the store's doors and the remainder at different points throughout the showroom as well as outside the building and directly above the POS counter. All cameras installed at the doors are set to capture images of patrons' faces as they exit the store. Cabling inside the walls links the cameras to a main multiplexer DVR unit in the back room. The multiplexer holds the system's processor and storage drives and is connected to the store's server. The system is also integrated with the store's UPS (uninterruptible power supply), burglar alarm, and motion detector.

Identify Areas Susceptible To Shrink With DVR Technology
"We were extremely careful about how the cameras inside the showroom would be positioned," Nodwell reports. Before racks and other display fixtures were installed, the vendor created a series of topographical drawings that showed the viewing angles each camera would provide if placed in various spots in the store. Final camera placements were determined after the display fixtures had actually been installed.

According to Nodwell, the system is a very effective deterrent to theft. "The fact that the cameras are there, as well as the fact that we use signs reminding customers that there's surveillance all around the store, keeps problems to a very minimum," he notes.

The technology also allows the retailer to identify vulnerable areas in the store and address problems before they lead to major shrink. In one recent incident, a salesperson noticed that an expensive leather jacket was missing from a display. Nodwell scanned the tapes until he located an image of the thieves removing the tags from the item and concealing it. Although the perpetrators were not apprehended, the images captured by the system were helpful in enabling management to determine that certain fixtures in the department were blocking the view of activities there, opening the door for theft. "We changed the sight lines and added mirrors, which has made a big difference," Nodwell says.