Karalina Enterprises is a family-owned business that operates 17 locations of a major national pizza chain in South Carolina.
Challenge: ‘Cumbersome and frustrating’ analog surveillance system
When Tony Kirby joined the team as Director of Operations at Karalina Enterprises three years ago, he quickly recognized an urgent need to upgrade the video surveillance system at each location.
These locations were equipped with analog systems that relied on onsite DVR storage. Remote connectivity was limited – the system would often glitch, forcing a reboot, when users attempted to switch between camera views. These systems also lacked any point of sale (POS) integration to quickly filter through hours of video and investigate specific incidents.
“It was cumbersome and frustrating,” Kirby said. “We could only hope that a DVR was recording when we needed it to be. We literally wouldn’t know that any part of a network was down until a manager tried to access footage from a camera that was down or an employee noticed a beeping from the DVR cabinet.”
This lack of reliable oversight contributed to a chronic issue across all of Karalina’s locations – persistent losses at the POS. A week seldom went by without a manager reporting cash shortages of $50, $100 or even $200 at the end of a shift.
Without a reliable way to organize when and how cash was handled, the video surveillance system proved very difficult and time-consuming to properly investigate and resolve these incidents without committing hours of time reviewing video footage manually.
“I would think, ‘Man, I hate to think there is someone in one of our locations who is just taking money out and hurting our profitability,’” Kirby said. “The process of trying to address losses was frustrating without having any controls in place.”
The need for a better business security system led him to Solink.
Solution: Cloud video surveillance system delivers a “night and day” difference
Kirby had a varied career before joining Karalina. He worked in the security system business, as well as manufacturing in an IT role where he saw how technology could revolutionize a traditional industry.
These experiences left him with a clear appreciation for how effectively Solink’s cloud security system could change the behavior that drives bottom-line results in the quick-service restaurant industry. Equally important, it could be deployed without a costly “rip and replace” of existing analog cameras.
“We have to pinch pennies as much as we can, which means we have to budget for replacement of our camera hardware over time,” Kirby said. “I was very happy that Solink was flexible and could integrate our existing cameras with its platform in a way that would meet our budget constraints.”
With Solink, analog or IP (digital) cameras can be integrated and made accessible through the Solink platform remotely — available from anywhere with a tablet or smartphone. Real-time alerts can be triggered by “exception-based reporting” that fits your personalized business criteria. The platform allows for seamless POS integration, to cross-reference all POS transactions by date and time with the corresponding video surveillance footage. Advanced search and filtering tools mean Kirby and his team can now take just minutes to find what they need, versus hours. Which means the process now gets followed.
“If a supervisor says we had a theft yesterday, in minutes, I can find the incident,” Kirby said. “We can share the video remotely and send that clip on to our legal team to see if it is sufficient evidence for prosecution. This process would have taken days or even weeks in the past. It’s night and day.”
Outcome: Internal theft no longer an issue, weeks of time saved
The deterrent value of Solink has proven to be quite powerful.
“We don’t have much cash theft anymore,” Kirby said. “Do we still have the occasional bad apple who tries to steal? Yes. But now we can see it quickly and proceed to the next level of how to handle it. This has made a big difference.”
Of course, not all internal loss is the result of theft. It can also be a case of simple user error, which may call for increased staff training. With Solink, it’s become much quicker and easier to make this distinction and take the appropriate corrective action. Managers can be more effective in ensuring that the right person is in the right job with the right training.
For Kirby, the value of the time savings cannot be overstated. Before Solink, a location manager would spend literally weeks of time each year reviewing hours of video to answer a simple question “where did the shortage come from?” These same questions can now often be answered in minutes, if not seconds.
“We strive to serve every customer with a smile and a perfect pizza in 30 seconds or less every time,” Kirby said. “How many customers are better served if we are not wasting hours of time reviewing video?”
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