Business Security Systems Case Study
Video Surveillance Cameras with 24/7 Secure, Mobile Access
AH Hermel Company was founded in 1935 as a candy distributor. Today, they provide vending services to plants and factories in Minnesota and Iowa, along with food service distribution, office coffee services and ATM cash machines. After acquiring several disjointed camera systems over the years, they asked Loffler for help installing a new, centralized system to secure their facilities, protect employees and improve their business practices.
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“I can basically see the entire company anytime I want, 24/7. It allows me to have instant access, instant view of every operation I have. My go-to method though is via my iPhone, which I can take anywhere, anytime.”
AH Hermel acquired several separate video surveillance systems across five locations over years of growth and acquisitions, which can cause several problems. Reviewing camera footage was a hassle, because it could only be done at the branch location where it was filmed. Broken cameras caused headaches because the various service providers were often unresponsive or delayed. Management had to access several different applications to view footage, over time learning that many were not supported or in existence anymore.
“I just had this outdated network of cameras that did me absolutely no good,” said Blake Hermel, the fourth-generation president of the family-owned AH Hermel.
Hermel knew he wanted centralized cameras under one system that were easy to view from multiple locations.
“I started looking at all of this, paying all these different contractors to do these different jobs,” Hermel said. “I just became very frustrated with how it was all put together. So, I thought to myself, there's got to be a better way. That's when I heard about Loffler and started doing my research on the company and all of the different services that they could provide me.”
“I just became very frustrated with how it was all put together. So, I thought to myself, there's got to be a better way. That's when I heard about Loffler and started doing my research on the company and all of the different services that they could provide me.”
AH Hermel purchased security cameras from Loffler with secure mobile access to see their entire operation easily from anywhere. Hermel can now access his camera system via an icon on his desktop, an icon on his smart TV and, most importantly, via an app on his mobile device for 24/7 access.
“Being able to view these cameras on my iPhone is what it's all about to me,” Hermel said. “I use it when I'm at the restaurant eating lunch, when I'm with my kids after work. It's very easy to click on the icon on the home screen.”
Hermel purchased over 100 cameras to be placed inside and outside the AH Hermel offices and warehouses. The high-quality cameras include visibility of a 10-acre parking lot and can adjust to capture activity at varying degrees of sensitivity.
“For example, we have a camera pointing toward the highway,” Hermel said. “You can adjust the sensitivity to pick up something as small as a bird flying by or an 18 wheeler driving by.”
“They gave me options. They showed me different models, price points, and what I could expect. That was really important to me, to partner with someone that knew their product and knew what was available in the industry.”
To understand the video surveillance needs of the AH Hermel facilities, the Loffler team conducted site surveys, including a tour of a 43,000 square foot warehouse where Hermel showed all the old cameras they had and the points he wanted covered. Based on the site surveys, Loffler proposed a new camera solution to provide centralized and convenient access to camera footage.
“The consulting piece of Loffler was amazing,” Hermel said. “I had a few situations where I wanted to zoom in from very far away. They gave me options. They showed me different models, price points, and what I could expect. That was really important to me, to partner with someone that knew their product and knew what was available in the industry.”
Installation began at the Mankato, Minnesota, home office so that Hermel could see the process and interact with technicians.
“The install process is amazing,” Hermel said. “I had the cell phone number of the technician. He would check in with me every morning at my office. He'd ask if I have any questions. I could ask him questions. It was a great process. The interaction of the install technicians and myself was really what gave me assurance and confidence that I had picked the right company. No complaints; absolutely first-class.”
Cameras were installed at all building entry points and the property perimeters to give viewpoints of vehicles coming and going, along with license plates. With approximately 30 tractor-trailers coming and going every day, Hermel can now see who is on their lot and at what times.
“The interaction of the install technicians and myself was really what gave me assurance and confidence that I had picked the right company. No complaints; absolutely first-class.”
AH Hermel’s new camera system took away all the cumbersome challenges of operating several different network camera systems in different locations. Hermel is now able to secure his business, ensure employee safety and protect his assets in a way that is easy and manageable.
Benefits of the new system include:
24/7 Secure, Mobile Access
Hermel's camera platform now allows him to see his entire operation easily from home, from a 48-inch LCD TV screen in his office or from his iPhone.
“I can basically see the entire company anytime I want, 24/7,” Hermel said. “It allows me to have instant access, instant view of every operation I have. My go-to method though is via my iPhone, which I can take anywhere, anytime.”
The new cameras allow Hermel to operate and grow his business with full accountability and a full view of what’s happening in his operation. Employees and suppliers who enter the facility know they’re being monitored with video and audio features.
“When the cameras were installed, we noticed a change in the way people would interact with each other,” Hermel said. “They wouldn't be goofing off as much. They would seem to talk a little more nicely to one another. The cameras let everybody know that we should be professional. We should be respectful. We noticed a change in that right away.”
Visibility to Identify Areas for Improvement
Any workforce issues detected on the cameras can be addressed, because Hermel now has visibility he wouldn’t have had before.
“I'm seeing all kinds of labor-saving concepts and ideas,” Hermel said. “Each manager at each location is able to access his cameras via his mobile device or his desktop computer as well. That was important, mainly to see employee start times and things like that. It was a tool that most managers didn't have. Once they used it, they fell in love right away.”
Using camera footage, Hermel and his managers were able to monitor time wasted between employee arrivals and when trucks were dispatched.
“We were able to tweak that and make some adjustments to save 10 minutes per driver,” Hermel said. “When you multiply that out times 50 drivers, it was a real significant cost savings for us.”
AH Hermel now has a unified camera system that will take them into the future with full vantage points in all their facilities.
“When you have cameras like this in your system, you can see everything. It gives you peace of mind. You can really run a company from afar with this type of platform.”