Blue Ridge Log Cabins’ (BRLC) owner and president Chip Smith (right) and Robert Rognstad, global account manager for systems integrator ADT Security Services, Boca Raton, Fla., (left) made it a team effort to not only monitor security for the BRLC manufacturing campus in Campobello, S.C. but to provide safety to employees and visitors as well. Photo courtesy of Conrad LaRosa, Showcase Marketing, Greenville, S.C.
Securing your home with a state-of-the-art security system seems like a no brainer today but what about when it comes to those facilities with large investments in construction equipment and materials, as well as a large workforce and frequent visitors?
For many of these facilities theft is a key issue alongside worker’s compensation and other timely topics. In fact, according to a 2004 equipment report from the National Equipment Register (NER) Inc., Jersey City, N.J., the total value of equipment stolen annually ranges between $300 million and $1 billion. Still, the most worrisome statistic for owners and insurers is that as little as 10 to 15 percent of stolen equipment is ever recovered.
For Blue Ridge Log Cabins (BRLC), Campobello, S.C., there were additional concerns about the safety and security of their employees along with being able to manage operations campus wide and it all came together with the technical and consultative experience of systems integrator ADT Security Services, based in Boca Raton, Fla.
Located on a 40-acre campus, Blue Ridge Log Cabins includes two manufacturing locations, a new 110,000 square foot facility and an existing 40,000 square foot building retrofitted into an integral part of the overall manufacturing plan. The existing facility houses log-cutting operations, dormers, gable ends and roof sections as well as two assembly lines. Other parts of the campus include a sales village with four model homes, encompassing another 10,000 square feet. But what makes BRLC unlike any other facility in the world is that the log homes are built on campus.
“We are the only log home manufacturer who produces a product like this so it was very important to us that we did have the understanding of security in our facility,” explained Chip Smith, owner and president of Blue Ridge Log Cabins. “We needed not only to protect our employees and the physical goods built here but also those who come to our site. Fact is, we’ve got so much traffic here from our customers that we’re protecting them as well.”
Solutions target espionage
Initially brought in by the Tallon Group, Spartanburg, S.C., a security consulting company, ADT had numerous discussions and meetings with BRLC dating back to as early as 2008 to come up with a security and operations package to meet their needs. One of the biggest challenges in providing an integrated solution to the BRLC campus was working off blueprints to design most of the system in the new manufacturing facility after a tornado in July 2008 ripped through the structure, according to Robert Rognstad, global account manager for ADT.
Despite that obstacle ADT was able to provide BRLC with an integrated burglar alarm, fire protection and CCTV system, one which meets the needs of the large campus.
“Prior to engaging with ADT, in our former plant, we basically had two internal and two external fixed cameras with no recording,” said Smith. “A lot of our competitors are very interested in how and what we do and industrial espionage is a real concern of ours, so we wanted to have a security system that would help us control that. We wanted to be able to record all of our parking lots and yards between the two plants to help with material control, theft, vandalism and also address safety issues outside the plant.”
The digital video surveillance system installed at the company’s sales center and two manufacturing facilities includes: eight fixed cameras; two indoor domes for the manufacturing facility; six outdoor domes; one matrix switcher/controller system; a 16-channel DVR; and two control center keyboards. The campus also includes a PTZ camera on every corner of the building, an additional one on the main entrance and another retrofit on the older manufacturing facility which faces BRLC’s four model homes for a total of 16 cameras installed throughout the campus, all of which have 30-day memory for recording. The system was designed to give BRLC the ability to expand it in the future.
“Regarding our choice of a CCTV system—we don’t have reliable Internet coverage because of our location [remote mountain that causes interception of Internet signal],” explained Smith. “Because we don’t have T1 telecommunications service we wanted a very self-contained system and we thought a CCTV system would be a cost-effective solution for us.”
According to Rognstad, the topic of installing an IP-based system was briefly discussed but cost was a factor. “It helped that we could do it all and install all of the products within their budget,” he explained.
With 90 to 100 percent of every home completed at the Campobello campus and approximately two to three log homes being built per week and assembled in sections with the electricity, plumbing, lights and appliances being put in directly, according to Smith, one issue that ADT was also able to address for BRLC was that of worker’s safety on site during the building process.
“One of the pleasant surprises we had not really counted on was the impact on what we would call our workman’s compensation claims and being able to control that within our plant,” said Smith. “For any manufacturer, that’s a big issue with insurance because it’s very costly. Since the cameras were installed, it has helped us control claims and incidents. Our employees know that these cameras have the capability of zooming and turning at about any angle and that we can go back and recapture certain incidents to explain [or verify] what happened.”
In addition, BRLC might have as many as 500 customers each month come onto the property to view the sales models. Because the campus is open seven days a week, it was important to monitor not only the safety of the workers but that of the customers as well.
With NETWORK Client, an American Dynamics software product running on the sales staff workstations and laptops and with the help of Touchtracker, which controls all the fixed and PTZ cameras, the users can see exactly what is going on in the different facilities across campus. An advantage of using the analytics software is remote tracking capabilities. “Chip could be in Las Vegas and he could remotely dial in and look at every camera and control all the domes in the facility from his laptop,” explained Rognstad. “We’ve provided him with ongoing support and training for that. We service all the equipment so that if anything were to ever go down, we’re immediately on site to find out what’s happening.”
“ADT did an extremely thorough job analyzing where our weak points were on such a large campus that had multiple buildings, entrances and doors and got it right the first time they came in,” explained Smith. “We haven’t had to go back and move cameras around and incur additional deployment expenses. Since the installation, the maintenance and support has been excellent. We have plans to open another plant or two throughout the country and we’d certainly be looking to ADT for guidance.”
ADT Talks Verticals--Up and Down the Chain
Those who see ADT as the traditional burg and fire provider—it’s time to take the blinders off. The company has been offering integrated solutions across a spectrum of verticals for quite some time now. ADT also provides access control and video surveillance in verticals such as education, government, retail, banking, transportation and petrochemical facilities.
“We’ve certainly for quite some time offered a broad range of services-we’ve just been known for some more than others,” explained Hank Monaco, vice president, Commercial Marketing for ADT. “What’s driving it, is the customer’s needs. The approach that we take is, ‘let’s listen to our customers, let’s learn, not only what their security requirements are but also their business issues. As we get more in-depth knowledge about the business issues that our customers face in any particular vertical market, the better partner we can become.”
One way that ADT is making sure they are addressing the needs of each customer is through extensive customer research.
“We do a lot of voice of the customer research on a daily basis across all of their important touch-points to make sure that we’re meeting and exceeding their needs,” continued Monaco. “What we’re promoting is the idea that if we’re out there actively training and certifying sales people in the different vertical markets we address, we have subject matter experts in our organization and can ensure we are in the best position possible to serve the school market, for example.”
What We Learned from This Story
Not everyone sees it necessary right now to make the immediate switch to IP video surveillance. It is the integrator’s job to continue providing suitable and appropriate solutions that address changing technology while at the same time being able to assist many of those in the industry who are still using CCTV and analog.