Warehouses can appear chaotic to someone who hasn’t spent much time in one. However, everything is well choreographed, and what looks like chaos from the outside is actually a well-designed flow of inventory in and out. Distribution center live video surveillance can give you the help you need to make sure everything continues to go according to plan.
Live video surveillance is a way to monitor your distribution center remotely in real time. Remote monitoring uses a combination of security cameras and advanced video analytics to keep an eye on your warehouse. There are many benefits to using this technology, including enhanced security, lower costs, improved efficiency, and a better understanding of your core metrics.
Indeed, while most distribution centers seek out live video surveillance to improve their loss prevention and security, the benefits go way beyond lower shrinkage.
15 live video surveillance benefits
As mentioned above, being able to monitor your business in real time has both security and non-security benefits. Here are 15 benefits of live video surveillance:
- Identify retraining needs
- Respond to issues in real time
- Virtual guarding
- Remote monitoring
- Better asset protection/loss prevention
- Reduced labor expenses and hiring needs
- Better security with faster emergency response
- Alarm verification
- Reduced inventory shrinkage
- Enhanced safety
- Optimized operations
- Document events
- Upgrade your access control system
- Lower insurance premiums
- Keep shipping and receiving on time
- Better customer service
Note that these benefits often open up great synergies. For example, identifying retaining needs and documenting events will enhance safety in your warehouse.
Identify retraining needs
Employees often find themselves in need of retraining. This can be due to their lack of experience or mistakes made during initial training. Whether malicious or because of training shortcomings, the results are the same for the business: reduced profitability from lost productivity.
The following are two of the common retraining needs that often appear in distribution centers:
- Time theft: Time theft is when employees are being paid to work but are doing something else instead. This can be simple productivity issues such as employees using their mobile phones during work hours. However, it can also be more serious, for example coworkers manipulating the punch clock to bill overtime hours when they are already at home (sometimes called “buddy punching”). In a large distribution center, some employees believe that they can get away with stealing time from their company because there are too many employees and too large a square footage to keep track of everyone’s productivity.
- Safety lapses due to short cuts: Employees might feel pressure to increase their productivity by cutting corners. To someone unfamiliar with the reasons behind certain standard operating procedures (SOPs), they can feel like the “slow way” of doing something. However, the SOPs are there for a reason, and employees skipping steps could lead to liability risks.
Volunteers of America-Michigan has identified several retraining issues using the Solink platform. Live video surveillance has helped them find instances of employees not doing what they are supposed to without ever needing to step foot in the affected stores.
Respond to issues in real time
Issues tend to compound until they are solved. This means a small problem in the morning can spiral out of control leading to your business not meeting its goal. Distribution centers are busy places, and having one truck leave late could mean that every shipment thereafter is also late.
Threshold Notifications allows businesses to set limits on the metrics important to them: on time percentage, average time a truck is docked, and anything else you can track. Then you can get a proactive notification any time your core metrics are outside of your comfort zone.
Virtual guarding is the use of live video surveillance equipment to replace on-site security guards or enhance their ability to patrol large spaces. In either case, using your security system to replace live guards can save a lot of money.
In addition, surveillance cameras never sleep, cannot be intimidated, provide objective evidence when an incident occurs, and can monitor your entire distribution center at once. All of these added benefits are why many warehouse managers are using remote guards to protect their facilities.
Virtual guarding is particularly effective for distribution center live video surveillance. The design of large warehouses means there are a lot of blind corridors where employee theft could take place. Using virtual guards instead means a single person can monitor the entire property simultaneously.
Remote video monitoring gives you the ability to audit your warehouses for company policy compliance from anywhere. While on-premises audits are not going away—and they shouldn’t—live video surveillance can make it possible to follow-up on known safety or security violations more often.
Remote video monitoring offers significant added value to a warehouse security camera system. Being able to monitor all of your locations from the corporate head office, or using your mobile device from anywhere, means better control on the day-to-day operations of all your sites. You can also set up proactive alerts to be notified of specific events occurring within your facilities.
Better asset protection/loss prevention
When discussing asset protection/loss prevention (AP/LP), it’s important to separate the internal and external threats. While shoplifting and other forms of external theft are uncommon in distribution centers, internal theft is a real and present risk.
Internal theft is when people inside an organization steal from it. Your distribution center live video surveillance system can reduce security blindspots to make it easier to find and halt employee theft in your warehouse.
goPuff uses Solink to prevent employee theft in their distribution centers. Here’s what Scott Sanford, goPuff’s Director of Loss Prevention, has to say:
“In our environment, shoplifting isn’t a factor like it is for other companies, but we still have to be diligent about keeping our employees safe, managing our inventory and keeping honest people honest,”
Reduced labor expenses and hiring needs
Live video surveillance can reduce labor expenses in several ways. Most directly, the remote guarding function can replace live 24/7 on-site security guards. However, even when a full-time salary isn’t being removed from the books, video surveillance systems can be used to improve productivity.
Here’s an example.
An employee makes an error when entering a shipment into your inventory management system (IMS). Then, when placed in storage for later use, it is lost. Finding the missing merchandise previously would have taken hours, if it could be found at all.
Now, distribution center live video surveillance can be used to find the order in minutes. Solink can help you look up the missing order to see it entering your warehouse. Then, with Camera Linking, you can follow the forklift as it moves through the warehouse until the location of the missing inventory is located.
Better security with faster emergency response
Solink is a complete video management system (VMS). With all of the included tools, you can now search for theft or other security incidents, save the videos, organize all the evidence gathered for an event, and share it internally and with law enforcement in one platform.
Solink Video Alarms Monitoring Service is another way to better protect your business with live video surveillance. Unlike traditional panel alarms, video alarms can monitor entire areas of your distribution center for improved detection. You can also turn them on and off one zone at a time, meaning your warehouse can keep working while the shipping area is secured.
Solink Video Alarms also gives companies the ability to share live footage of what is happening in their buildings with emergency dispatchers. Whether it’s an industrial accident, active shooter, or break and enter, emergency responders know exactly what is happening and can react more appropriately.
In a recent independent comparison of Solink Video Alarms and traditional panel alarms, video alarms led to multiple arrests while traditional alarms led to zero apprehensions.
Alarm verification gives trained professionals the ability to review in real time what is happening on a site before deciding whether an emergency response is warranted. Then, when law enforcement is required, the video feed is shared with the dispatcher to ensure prompt and appropriate response.
However, the value of alarm verification goes beyond better security. Verified alarms also save you money. Many police forces no longer respond to unverified alarms, and where they do false alarm fines are increasing.
In the same head-to-head comparison mentioned above, Solink Video Alarms led to a 100% decrease in false alarm fines across multiple restaurant locations.
Reduced inventory shrinkage
Warehouses carry more inventory than retail stores, and therefore reducing inventory shrinkage is particularly important. The scale of potential loss makes the cost of a live video surveillance system for a distribution center trivial. Finding a single inventory theft incident could pay for a lifetime of live video surveillance.
goPuff uses Solink to reduce shrink in their distribution centers. Here’s what Scott Sanford, goPuff’s Director of Loss Prevention, has to say:
“Solink was able to upgrade existing systems with improved performance and speed, connectivity and intelligent features. Sixty systems were upgraded in just 30 days and now play an integral role in shrink reduction at existing sites. ROI is quickly achieved once implemented.”
A well-connected and monitored distribution center live video surveillance system will improve the safety of your warehouse. By monitoring company and regulatory compliance, you can make sure emergency exits are clear, forklift drivers are obeying the internal traffic signage, and dangerous equipment and chemicals are used correctly and always safely stored when not being used.
Workplace accidents are a common occurrence in distribution centers, especially when health and safety policies are not being followed. Some employees when feeling pressure to maintain a high level of productivity will cut corners, leading to an unsafe work environment.
Distribution center live video surveillance can help ensure that all safety policies are being followed. These same policies, for example forklift speed limits, ladder safety procedures, and proper inventory stacking, also protect merchandise from being damaged.
goPuff uses Solink to enhance safety in their distribution centers. goPuff uses heat maps to monitor traffic in their facilities. This helps them spread out the traffic, resulting in a safer and more efficient environment.
Efficiency is a top priority at distribution centers. Reducing the time it takes to get each order out the door can have a major impact on the bottom line. A well-designed warehouse live video surveillance system can help every part of your operations management.
Solink allows you to save and share video footage of events. If you find an employee stealing or an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) violation, simply save video evidence of the event and share it internally or externally with stakeholders.
In this way, Solink bridges the gap between two crucial systems, your video management system (VMS) and case management system (CMS), to improve the outcomes of internal investigations.
Upgrade your access control system
Access control systems are an important part of warehouse security. However, there is always the risk that a fob is stolen or employees share codes. Integrating access control with video surveillance improves the security of your distribution center.
Lower insurance premiums
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fines are expensive. Furthermore, if your distribution center has a history of safety incidents, then your insurance premiums are likely going to be higher than they need to be. That’s because most workers’ compensation boards across North America calculate your risk multiplier based (at least partially) on how often injury claims are made by your employees.
Solink offers Blocked Exit Detection. With health and safety fines on the rise, Solink uses advanced AI to make sure your emergency doors remain clear. Now, when an employee inadvertently leaves boxes near the egress, you’ll receive an alert. This handy product can save organizations thousands of dollars per year.
Using distribution center live video surveillance to audit health and safety regulation compliance can make your facilities safer. That makes it a better place to work, as well as a cheaper place to insure.
Keep shipping and receiving on time
The benefits of live video surveillance for logistics companies extend beyond the walls of the distribution center. At busy locations, outdoor cameras can make sure that all trucks are approaching and exiting the shipping and receiving docks safely and on time.
Once trucks bump the gate, you can audit how long it is taking employees to empty and/or fill trailers. This gives you a baseline to reduce the unload/load times in your distribution center.
Solink is the best distribution center live video surveillance system
Solink provides a customizable cloud-first video analytics platform. Most distribution centers install live video surveillance to increase the security of their warehouse. However, the benefits go way beyond security.
Productivity and training, health and safety, cleanliness, loss prevention, and inventory shrinkage can all be monitored with distribution center live video surveillance. That leads to a clear return on investment.
To see how Solink can help you monitor all of your distribution centers, sign up for a demo today.
Timothy Ware is Solink’s Content Manager. He brings over ten years of writing and editing experience to the job. When he isn’t writing about security, loss prevention, and asset protection, he’s enjoying his newest board game. His work has appeared on many B2B SaaS websites including Baremetrics, Security Today, TeamPassword, Cova, and SignTime.