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Precision Hikvision Tools Secure South Africa's Makro Distribution Center

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. is the largest retailer in the world. In many regions across the globe, the brand Wal-Mart is synonymous with large, discount, and customer savings.

In South Africa, Makro retail stores share this same reputation. This should come as small surprise, since Makro's parent company is Wal-Mart.

Also not surprisingly, Makro stores share a similar business model; a membership-driven, low-cost / low-margin selling philosophy. With this model, Makro is able to focus on the high-volume distribution of merchandise at extremely competitive prices. This even includes "luxury" products, such as computers and tablets. The end result is that Makro has built one of the largest retail customer bases in all of South Africa.

As can be guessed, Makro relies on a similar warehouse distribution model. For example, located within the greater-Johannesburg area are 14 Makro stores. Servicing these Makro stores' stock needs is a centrally-located distribution center. This Makro distribution warehouse is located in a metropolitan suburb of Johannesburg, Midrand, to serve the larger Johannesburg area.

Lourens Wessels of Secure - a South African security installer - explained, "Marko officials wanted a new IP multifold solution that:

  • reduces theft, establishes excellent overall security, provides better warehouse management, and a means to monitor workers in sensitive areas; as well as concurrently reducing shrinkage (loss due to employee malfeasance, etc.)."

Bringing It All Together

This is a big task, both literally and figuratively.  "This Johannesburg-area Makro distribution warehouse is extremely large," explained Mr. Wessels. "So, we developed a complete Hikvision IP solution that makes use of PTZ, bullet, vandalproof domes, speed domes, and cameras with great zoom functionality ... and all on a fiber-optical network that is operated in a centralized control room with Hikvision NVRs."

Each of these Hikvision products was specially-chosen for a purpose. An example of this ethos is the DS-2CD754FWD-E(I)(Z) 3MP WDR & Vandalproof Network Dome Camera, and its ability to monitor merchandise coming and going at the loading and distribution docks.

For the DS-2CD754FWD-E(I)(Z), it is a combination of features that provides this functionality. Since this model is used to positively identify specific merchandise, resolution and focus are paramount. Not only does this have a theft-prevention aspect, it also greatly enhances Makro's ability to maintain accurate product inventory. Thus, the DS-2CD754FWD-E(I)(Z)'s up-to 3 megapixel resolution and motorized VF lens are very important for its success.

Additionally, since this area opens up to the outdoors, "Lighting conditions are very difficult ... it's dark inside, and when these large doors open, bright sunlight pours in. We nera that can compensate for this effect," said Mr. Wessels. The DS-2CD754FWD-E(I)(Z)'s 120dB wide dynamic range answered the call, as did its vandal proofing.

Interestingly, this vandal proofing is beneficial for potential accidental occurrences, rather than deliberate ones. In this area, there are a stream of forklifts carrying large pallets from one location to another, so the possibility that one of these may accidently bump into a camera is high. Hence, this vandal proofing protects these cameras from potential damage.

Strategic Points and Strategic Uses

Manning strategic locations in the warehouse is Hikvision's DS-2DF7284 Series 2MP IR Network Speed Dome.

The DS-2DF7284 monitors general loading and distributing areas and the tall racks of merchandise pallets. This model's 20x optical zoom is able to "read serial numbers on moving merchandise pallets for better logistical efficiency," and its IP66 rating "helps because distribution centers have a tendency to be very dusty with extreme temperature conditions due to the frequent opening of large doors," noted Mr. Wessels.

Placed outdoors to take advantage of its up-to 30m IR range and 2 megapixel resolution is the DS-2CD8253F-EI(Z) 2MP IR Bullet Network Camera. Add in its motorized VF lens and the sum of these features make it an ideal perimeter security camera. Additionally, if there are any power failures, Secure has placed a UPS at every field switch to ensure outdoor security is never compromised.

In the Control Room

Connecting these cameras to the IP system is Hikvision's DS-9632NI-ST Embedded NVR. Mr. Wessels explained, this model's 8 SATA interfaces perfectly fit one of the key NVR requirements - massive storage capacity. Furthermore, the up-to 5 Megapixel (2560x1920) of recording resolution guarantees that these images will be sharp and clear, regardless of when they are accessed.

Placed in the central control room, as is the DS-1100KI Network Keyboard, is Hikvision's iVMS-4200 Software. This software provides security personnel the ability to view 62 separate channels on each of their 2 "quad-view" work stations - and a simultaneous view of the overall facility. In sum, this entire solution has already brought efficiency and logistical benefit to this distribution facility. "This solution really is a value-add for Makro. As well as improving security, we have already greatly lessened shrinkage, which was always one of Makro's primary goals," summed up Mr. Wessels.