Success Story

Cannabis retailer, Cookies Retail Enterprises, saves time while reducing loss with Solink

August 25, 2022

Challenge

  • Sharing video clips with the police on USB sticks is time-consuming.
  • Issues with employee discount abuse or entering discounts incorrectly.
  • Auditing stores for regulatory compliance should be done regularly.

Results

  • Cookies can easily share video clips of incidents with the police using email.
  • Employee theft has been found, including large theft patterns, and loss prevention onboarding is now more effective.
  • Regulatory compliance is made easier because finding video in Solink is much faster than on an NVR system.

The client:
The largest operator of Cookies dispensaries

Ryan Dzwigalski, the Director of Loss Prevention for the largest Cookies operator, has been working in loss prevention for many years and joined Cookies about a year ago.

Solink is currently providing video surveillance services in the majority of their 16 dispensaries across seven states as well as operating in their Florida cannabis cultivation center.

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The challenge:
Build a strong working relationship with the police

The cannabis industry has strong regulatory requirements. The product value makes it a target for internal and external theft. Having the police be partners in a cannabis dispensary’s business is critical because of the high risk of loss. This is even more important because of the regulatory requirements of the cannabis industry.

Ryan was looking for a way to build Cookie’s relationship with the police, as responsive partners in loss prevention.

“If you can get to the point in loss prevention where you have a good working relationship with the police, it makes a huge difference. Just being able to consistently and quickly share video clips with the police can go a long way to build that relationship.”

Summary:

  • The police are busy, and they might not respond to non-emergency calls like theft if a company gets a reputation of not providing the evidence needed to support investigations.
  • Cookies offers a lot of different discounts, but they aren’t meant to be stacked. Whether accidental or on purpose, incorrect discounting costs money and comes with regulatory risks.
  • Every state has specific regulations on how stores are supposed to look and operate. Missing even small steps in procedures can shut the entire store down.

Learn how Solink can support your business.

Why Solink?

Ryan has found Solink to be a lot more user-friendly than previous tools he has used at other companies. Being able to train new employees on the platform, work across devices, and access and share needed clips quickly are all reasons that Ryan prefers Solink.

“Solink is reliable. It’s just always there, always ready, and always performing. At a moment’s notice, no matter what, you can call upon Solink. It’s nice to have it and I rely on it a lot to do my job.”

viewing cannabis store on Solink iPhone

Especially when dealing with the police, Solink makes things much smoother. Within the Solink platform, you can save a clip and then share it with the police over email. This saves time and money. It also tells the police that you will be there with the needed evidence for them to do their job.

“At my last job, I’d have to buy USB sticks in bulk to send video clips to the police. I still have a box somewhere. Given the regulation and the nature of the product, we really need a strong relationship with the police. With Solink, it just makes more sense. I send them a link to the video and it’s done.”

cannabis industry iconography

The solution:
Solink makes it easy to find instances of theft and share them with the police

Ryan has been in loss prevention for many years. He has found that the relationship you have with law enforcement is one of the most important aspects of the job. Solink is helping him build and nurture these relationships.

“I’ve been in loss prevention for 20 years. I wish I had something like Solink before because being able to share video with the police so easily is huge. It was always such a hassle before. You’d have to find a USB stick, get their address, put it in a bubbled envelope, and drop it off at the police dropbox. Then, the police might not be able to open the file. If you get a reputation of not providing the needed evidence, police can become less responsive to non-emergency calls like theft. Now, Solink has helped me create a good relationship with law enforcement. It is such a huge benefit, especially in the cannabis industry because it is so tightly regulated. In one year I have created a huge network of police who are willing to go the extra distance for us when we have incidents in our store because they know I’m going to be able to give them whatever they need. That’s a really cool dynamic in loss prevention if you can get there.”

Cookies has a lot of different discounts available for different customer groups. This can make it confusing for employees working at the POS because not all discounts can be used together. Using Solink to monitor how employees use these discounts is an important part of loss prevention for Cookies.

cannabis-store-purchase

“I use Solink to proactively monitor high-risk transactions. We don’t get a lot of refunds at Cookies because of the nature of the product. So any refund transaction is checked. Big discounts are more common, and I like to go through and check all of them. We offer a lot of discounts, and many customers want to stack all of the different discounts even though it is against our policy. There are also regulatory limits on total discounts for cannabis in some states that need to be followed. Once I identify an incorrect discount, I search for all transactions performed by that salesperson and I always find other cases.”

Loss prevention begins when new employees are hired. Ryan is now using the Solink platform to help with the onboarding process, by showing new staff that he is aware of everything that goes on in his stores.

“During onboarding, I'll show off the Solink platform. New employees find it really cool, but it also helps create the impression that we are in control. It shows new employees that we are watching, and that we have the ability to find anything. I’ll show them videos from stores that are months old in crisp HD and follow a person through the store and zoom in on what they are doing. They think I'm just showing off our great security system, but in the back of their head, they now know I’m watching."

Every process within a cannabis dispensary must be done following specific guidelines. Any deviation can result in a store being closed. Ryan uses Solink to audit the dispensaries for regulatory compliance so that they do not risk being shut down.

“Compliance to regulation in the cannabis industry needs to be perfect. Monitoring the procedures in the back-of-house is a big issue. If employees skip one little step, it could literally shut the whole store down. So oftentimes the Operations Department will ask me to double check, for example, the receiving process in a store and let them know what I see. A lot of departments ask me to check things in Solink because they know it can provide them with important information.”

The result:
Cookies has built a great relationship with the police and reduced internal theft

Ryan has a great relationship with the local law enforcement across the many states in which Cookies operates. This is making it easier for him to reduce loss, as well as deal with any other incidents that arise.

“Solink has helped me create a good relationship with law enforcement. It is such a huge benefit, especially in the cannabis industry because it is so tightly regulated.”

weighing out cannabis for sale

Ryan finds himself using Solink everyday. The Solink platform helps him find specific issues as well as the general due diligence and research needed for effective loss prevention.

“I use Solink every single day, It's basically always open on my computer. I always have something going on. There’s always an incident or something from HR. I also get a lot of police requests as a byproduct of being able to easily provide evidence to them. When I don’t have a specific incident waiting, I’m using Solink for normal due diligence work. I’m using the exception reporting tools or performing some other research. I actually have two Solink windows open on my computer screen right now."

Internal theft is also being reduced. Solink has helped Ryan find bigger fraud issues as well. With the search ability on the Solink platform, finding one theft event often means finding all of them.

“In a couple of stores, there have been instances where I find one person doing something, and then when I run a copy of that search in Solink for other employees I find they are doing the same thing. In one case, instead of finding one employee committing fraud, I was able to find four people committing the same form of fraud with Solink.”

In addition, Solink is helping Cookies Retail save time:

"Solink provides time savings for sure. Compared to pretty much every other security camera software, I definitely recognize that Solink provides some time savings. Being able to search the video and quickly find things is a huge time saver."

Ryan often communicates with the Solink team and has some great things to say about the Customer Success Team:

“I work with Sadhvi [Senior Customer Success Manager at Solink] regularly, and she is awesome. She’ll set up a call and do a tutorial for me. Tyler [Cannabis Sales Manager at Solink] and Sadhvi are my people. I probably talk to them every week. If we are setting up a new store, have some technical need, or whatever issue arises, the support is probably the best I’ve had. The responsiveness is amazing. If a camera goes down, Solink Customer Support will automatically ask me what I want to do. I like that a lot.”

“If I ever need to pull a video that’s older than 90 days and it’s on our other system, it’s almost impossible. It’s so painstakingly difficult to do. With Solink, you just save the clip and you’re done. That is such a huge time savings. I mean, it’s so valuable. Stuff that would take hours before takes us minutes.”

Cookie’s three favorite features

Ryan uses a lot of the features available in the Solink platform daily. Motion Search and Save and Share are his two favorite features.

However, beyond any specific feature, he loves that Solink is easy to learn, easy to access, and easy to use.

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Easy-to-use interface

Solink’s interface makes it easy for anyone to search and find the information they need quickly. Even for less technical staff, it is possible to log in and find a needed video or piece of information with little help or training.

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Save & Share

Being able to save and share video footage directly from the Solink platform is helpful when incidents occur. Once video documentation of an event is found, it can be saved indefinitely and shared with all stakeholders, including the police, attorneys, members of staff, and government officials.

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Motion search

Motion Search eliminates the need to fast forward through hours of video footage. Solink automatically shows you all video clips in an area of interest where there is movement.

Learn how Solink can support your business.