Warehouses are unique in the scope of closed-circuit television systems for the same reason it so crucial t hat they be equipped with cameras: their inventory. Though homes and businesses do have assets that can be targeted by thieves, they both pale in comparison to a large warehouse with literally millions of dollars worth of inventory moving in and out on a daily basis, every bit of which a tempting target for an employee who needs an extra buck.
The problem is that even the most stringent inventory control can still suffer from holes. Especially when moving high-value commodities such as liquor or clothing, it is not at all uncommon for workers to help themselves to entire cases of products while loading trucks, or to simply wait until no one is looking and fill a backpack, either to keep for themselves or to sell online (for instance, on eBay or Craigslist). Of course, what’s easy cash for them is a major problem and extra expense for you. The main problem, and what makes warehouses so vulnerable to this kind of theft, is that with a large inventory moving on a daily basis, it can be easy for stolen units to go unmissed for days or even weeks after the original theft. At that point it’s like trying to find a needle in a haystack when all of the sudden someone changes the haystack.
The presence of cameras can do a lot to ameliorate this. Even considering that, though, it can be overwhelming to contemplate the internal scale of a warehouse-based camera system. Even the smallest warehouse is a large building by normal standards, so how can it be possible to cover everything at an acceptable cost, especially if overages have already cut into profits? With a bit of planning, though, covering a warehouse can not only be simple, but also inexpensive. This is because, for a basic system, it is not necessarily the best strategy to cover every square inch of the building, but rather a simpler option would be to just cover entrance and exit points. From the perspective of a surveillance system, this can almost always be accomplished on a much smaller scale.
The main emphasis of a system such as this one would be the loading areas. Here, adding cameras outside over every bay (simple outdoor bullet cameras such as the KG-230CWB would be ideal for this application) would not only allow managers to monitor for theft, it would also help monitor the supply chain as well since these cameras would also provide visual records of the exact times trucks arrived and departed. Adopting this strategy not only means management may never have to hear a story about a box mysteriously falling off the truck again, it also means that incidental inefficiencies within the shipping process could also be identified and corrected.
Once that has been taken care of, a similar setup could be applied for the doors leading out of the warehouse as well, but in this instance identification of the employees walking out would be key. Mounting cameras indoors with the intent of getting tight facial shots (virtually any camera in the KG-602 family would excel at this, especially the 602VF) would not only allow managers to catch when employees come and go, but also provide valuable evidence as to, for instance, who seems to always have a backpack when they come out of the shop.
Aside from internal theft, though, since most warehouses are located in remote, industrial areas, and have large, featureless walls, they are also prime targets for graffiti and other forms of vandalism. Though it doesn’t affect the company books quite as directly, the fact of the matter is that having to clean or repair the building after even one episode of vandalism can be just as expensive as losing a few boxes of product. Bearing that in mind, it’s usually wise to equip the outside perimeter of the building at the same time that cameras are being installed in theft-sensitive areas, not only to take advantage of the economy of scale of the installation, but also to proactively deal with an outside threat.
Here, depending upon the situation, IR cameras can sometimes be appropriate (when trying to catch the vandal), but their limitations make them impractical for long-term use. A better option is usually to use box-style cameras (for instance, the KG-802), which can not only intelligently adapt as lighting situations change but are also highly-visible deterrents when put in their weatherproof housings. The idea at that point is that one can not only catch a vandal, but maybe even stop him from trying in the first place. Even when coupled with internal cameras, though, a warehouse system including anti-vandal cameras can usually be out the door at around $7000.
Recording for a warehouse-based system is generally the last thing we would want to consider, simply because the number of cameras that the building necessitates is largely the determining factor as to what kind of DVR would be right for the system, and in a situation such as this one where the emphasis is the coverage itself, the cameras should be stars of the show. Smaller systems on warehouses that aren’t experiencing any serious losses may do well with a simple four camera system and a1304NET standalone DVR, while a larger warehouse (or a warehouse with larger problems) would benefit more from the power and robustness of an industrial-quality PC-based system, such as the PC Witness Pro V\RT system, which can handle up to sixteen cameras recording at a high framerate. The important thing to remember, though, is never to fall victim to a cookie-cutter CCTV system. Your building is not exactly like your neighbor’s, so your surveillance system shouldn’t be exactly like his, either. Additionally, it is important not to lose sight of the fact that the system is an investment – curbing thefts and vandalism will serve to keep money from seeping out of the company.