BERLIN, Ohio — As Troyer Country Market (TCM) continued to grow, its owners realized a more technically advanced retail system would help overcome challenges associated with an expanding business. As a result, the store deployed Panasonic's retail solution, including point-of-sale (POS) workstations, scales/scanner, POS printers, video surveillance cameras, network recording devices, digital signage and retail management software.
Started in 2006, TCM is an offshoot of Troyer Cheese Company, a food processing facility. Located in a high tourist area in the center of Ohio's Amish Country, TCM staffs roughly 50 employees. Prior to the installation, the grocery store used a four-year-old CCTV system and Comcash POS, TCM co-owner and CEO John Troyer tells SSI.
"We use cameras for security against shoplifting, crowd control and employee disbursement," he says. "For the cameras, the picture was not very clear nor was it user-friendly. As for the POS system, it was very basic and needed more functionality when doing price changes and inventory control."
Troyer sought the help of Dearborn, Mich.-based Genesis POS Solutions, a scanning communications and POS solutions provider, for the upgrade. Genesis Co-Founder Terry Selkirk discussed equipment options with Troyer and suggested a scalable, network-based solution with the capability of seamlessly integrating all systems from the store and the nearby manufacturing facility.
Selkirk provided a system that included i-Pro cameras and NVRs, Lite-ray workstations with card swipe terminals and Aloha Data Systems' StoreTender retail management software. Cameras are located throughout the entire retail floor, including checkout stations, which helps the grocer with shoplifting problems.
"The NVR stores the metadata," Selkirk tells SSI. "If someone is shoplifting and then leaves, TCM can look at the footage stored in the NVR. They can take a cutout of that person's face, store it in the NVR and tag the suspect as a shoplifter. Because of the technology and how it stores that picture, two years from now if that person returns to the store, an alarm will go off saying that the person is a shoplifter."
Selkirk adds that because the NVR stores the metadata and not the whole picture, the data file does not take up too much room in the database. Thus, it is easier for users to locate appropriate video footage when needed.
Performed by a three-person Genesis team, the installation only took five days. "TCM already had a POS system, so we had to transfer all the product information from the old system to the Panasonic system," Selkirk says. "We're pretty used to moving data back and forth between different systems, so it wasn't a huge problem for us."
However, coordinating the installation with store hours proved to be tricky, according to Troyer. He says everything needed to be in place, including software, wiring and mounts, before installing the system. Hardware installation took place after the store closed, and it needed to be functional when the store reopened the following day.
Troyer says transitioning to the new system was not entirely seamless; it took roughly six months for staff to get adapted to the new technology. Additionally, TCM found that some aspects of the software did not function properly, particularly the accuracy of reports. However, Panasonic made some changes to improve the system in a timely manner, says Troyer.
Genesis also provided training for the TCM staff, says Troyer, who is pleased with the system. "The cameras are awesome. They have a very wide viewing angle and a very clear picture," he says. "We can look at about a month of recording history as well as individual transaction history, since the system integrates with POS. The touchscreens are a great way to navigate the system. Printing shelf labels, receiving items into inventory, adding new products and creating purchase orders is all very straightforward."
Because TCM is a pilot store for Panasonic Retail Solutions, all three companies split the cost of the installation. The grocer plans to install a video surveillance system in the neighboring warehouse/manufacturing facility and integrating it with the store's system.
For integrators seeking to enter into the grocer market, Selkirk, who formerly owned a grocery store, offers a few tips.
"It's extremely important to have someone with expertise in grocery stores working on your team," he says. "When you have somebody on staff that has a food store background, it makes it easier to relate to grocers. The whole purpose of putting in a system is to help clients analyze their businesses better and come out with a better picture of what's going on."
Ashley Willis is associate editor for SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION. She can be reached at (310) 533-2419.