Increasing warehouse security

Thursday, 13 April, 2006

CWC Equipment specialises in the hiring and selling of materials handling equipment for building sites such as boom and scissor lifts, and telehandlers.

With its head office located in Newcastle, CWC was facing the challenge of keeping track of its machine fleet docked in its Sydney-based yard. Holding more than 30 hire machines at any one time, theft of attachments could go unnoticed. In one instance a piece of machinery valued at $120,000 could not be accounted for. In addition to this, equipment was often returned in a damaged condition, costing CWC further expense in damage repair. In addition, there was the issue of employee security.

"While the security of the equipment after hours was a major concern, our main problem was the proof issue with breakages and tracking each piece of sub-hire and sales equipment," said Paul McKee, operations manager, CWC Equipment.

"Equally important was ascertaining whether hired goods had been returned within the specified hiring period. Our equipment is hired at a per day rate so we needed concrete proof as to the exact time and date of return. With Mobotix IP cameras this is possible."

CWC also faced the challenge of sales staff requiring an updated inventory of available equipment in the yard while they were travelling between meetings.

CWC knew that its equipment tracking processes and security measures had to be upgraded. The company needed a camera in the yard that could relay information back to headquarters and allow viewing of the yard via the internet any time, anywhere. McKee explained that the right system needed to be IP based. Mobotix's IP cameras enable images to be stored on a network-enabled drive while simultaneously sending images to Newcastle.

With Mobotix cameras' megapixel high resolution imaging and advanced zoom capabilities, sales staff could readily view the yard to see what machinery was available via their PDA or laptop, allowing them to secure sales on the spot, saving time and streamlining sales transactions.

Equipment could also be 'cue labelled' according to its status. Hire equipment ready for dispatch would be labelled with a green sticker, equipment booked and ready to go would be indicated with an orange sticker and a damaged piece of equipment would be signalled with a red sticker, indicating it could not be hired out.

"The possibilities are endless; we are now looking to implement the system's bidirectional VoIP capabilities so we can verbally assist a mechanic in Sydney from the Newcastle head office, viewing what he is doing while also looking out for occupational health and safety violations," explains McKee.

In line with tightening security measures, McKee is looking to install a front gate for the yard that can be triggered to open from the Newcastle office using Mobotix's IP security system. An alert system can also be set up to send an SMS to the required personnel when unusual activity is detected in the yard after hours. Using a web-enabled mobile, McKee can then view the yard and alert the police if necessary.

In defining a no-go security zone where an alert would be triggered by any movement in the area, McKee faced a potential problem as the backdrop of the yard included a busy road. With Mobotix's intelligent security systems this was not a problem as the cameras can be set up to monitor the specified area within the camera's view, and remain unaffected by the backdrop.

"For all our staff - in the yard, on the road, and in the head office - Mobotix makes their job so much easier. Peace of mind and control on all aspects of the day-to-day logistics of the business are now easy and achievable," concludes McKee.

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