MFI saves 110,000 on gate guards with IP video surveillance

Milestone software integrated with barriers for biggest UK furniture dealer

COPENHAGEN, Denmark, 7 March 2006

MFI is using a new IP video surveillance system with Milestone XProtect software and Panasonic cameras to manage security and business processes at its home delivery centres. Pacific Computers Ltd. handle the installation, and have added significant value by integrating the software with the entrance gate barriers. This has given MFI cost savings of £110,000 by replacing the physical guard services at two sites.

Managing the manufacture, retail sales and distribution logistics of the UK’s largest furniture company demands a comprehensive overview of hundreds of locations. With three shifts running the business around the clock at many sites, MFI needed a flexible and scalable security solution that could offer both central and local management of such security problems as break-ins and vandalism, internal and external theft, and fraud. Physical guard services for the Home Delivery Centres to man the gatehouses were costing approximately £55,000 annually per site. Protecting the safety and security of MFI people, property and stock is a job that is now being well assisted with IP video surveillance.

Milestone XProtect Enterprise software is being installed at multiple sites and supported by Pacific Computers Ltd. to operate Panasonic network cameras. In addition, they are using Milestone XProtect Central and XProtect Matrix at for integrated solutions that provide facial recognition and access control at the entrances. Cameras have been set up at trucking bays, warehouses, administration and computer facilities, reception areas, gates and perimeters.

MFI now has the ability to handle much more than just security. They have saved the cost of guards at the gates, and managers have flexible remote access to the system wherever they are. The business is protected from theft while employee accountability is heightened. Loading and receiving activities are monitored for better handling of deliveries with fast resolution of any issues that arise with sub-suppliers or customers. Adherence to best working practices is monitored to improve employee performance in a round-the-clock working environment. This reduces accidents and damages, boosts quality in the delivery process, and creates more value in the MFI product offerings.

"The Home Delivery Centre managers are very impressed with the system. It is easy for them to use and it gives them the information they want when they need it. It’s a big improvement over physical patrolling of the perimeters. It handles more than just security – it’s a business management tool," states Nicholas Stephenson, Group Security Manager at MFI.

Pacific Computers Ltd. made an integrated solution between the Milestone system and the entrance barriers so the gates can be opened via the software. The camera recording is triggered to start as soon as there is motion – when a vehicle or a person approaches. Authorized persons enter a code and the barrier rises automatically. A visitor with no access code presses the intercom button: inside their image pops up on a computer that lets an MFI employee see and talk via the intercom to say ‘come on in’ – or not.

"Using the Milestone system, we’ve been able to remove the need for physically manning the gatehouses during the day. We save £55,000 in annual expenses at one site alone because Milestone now handles the monitoring virtually," reports Nicholas Stephensen.

MFI is the largest household furniture manufacturer, retailer and distributor in the UK, delivering kitchens, bedrooms, bathrooms and living rooms. With 10,500 employees, the organization includes seven factories in the UK, eight distribution centres, internet website sales, 220 retail stores, 360 Howden Joinery depots, and 30 Sofa Workshops. Home deliveries involve 50 million items per year for 2.5 million households.