Loss prevention specialist Lodge Security has acquired the distribution rights for a smart shelf hook for retail security. The shelf hook detects and analyses unusual product movements, setting off an acoustic and optical light-emitting diode alarm, enabling staff to intervene and address the suspect timeously.
Lodge Security introduced the product into the local market in August and established a trial agreement for the supply of several hooks with a local fast-moving consumable goods retailer in mid-October.
Company MD Matthew Dyball explains that the smart hook, which was developed and manufactured in Germany, looks and is installed exactly like a normal shelf hook and allows customers to pull products off it one by one, while noting the number of products removed within a certain period.
He demonstrates that the hook allows for the customer to remove a single product, making a barely discernable beeping noise once the item has been removed. However, when someone tries to take more than a certain amount of products within a limited time span, it triggers the alarm – which prevents sweeping – a method whereby shoplifters sweep large quantities of products into their bags or baskets.
Dyball says most retailers attempt to prevent shoplifting through defensive merchandising, which refers to retailers limiting access to valuable and easily concealable products like razorblades, batteries, and memory cards by placing them behind a kiosk counter, or in a locked display case.
He adds that this may frustrate customers who would then have to wait, either for a senior staff member entrusted with keys, or for the cashier, to send someone to the kiosk counter for the product they desire.
However, the main advantage of the smart hook for retailers is that they can now have open and accessible product displays with or without electronic article surveillance tags; this enhances the shopper’s experiences, thus increasing sales.
The smart hook is also a user-friendly plug-and-play device that requires no additional space, technical expertise or maintenance, as it is battery operated. With a separate moni- toring unit, this innovative loss prevention system is also easily incorporated into the existing security system, and can work in tandem with closed-circuit television cameras or a store’s PA system.
Dyball tells Engineering News that, while preventative measures for shoplifting are important, the main causes of stock shrinkage are internal theft and process failure.
He notes that dealing with internal theft is not easy, and it is often argued that legislative processes make it difficult for employers to gain convictions for errant staff. As a result, Lodge developed two solutions to improve procedural compliance and remove opportunities for internal theft.
Hot Product Controllers were introduced by Lodge in 2002, providing a balanced approach that secures the supply chain and improves the handling of shrinkage sensitive products (high-risk) from receiving to shelf. This initia- tive is still proving effective 13 years later and is able to reduce shrinkage by up to 80%.
More significantly, Lodge Security Services also developed LPAP which is a real-time web-based automated risk audit program which highlights compliance and or process failure within the supply chain.
LPAP is operated through smart devices (cellphone or tablet) and the program uses algorithms and skip logic to identify root causes of shrinkage. Reports are generated based on the collected data and sends a copy to the store manager, regional manager and head office in real-time via SMS and email.
Retailers can also use the LPAP to generate incident reports, keeping detailed accounts on shoplifters with multiple offences, process failures or other relevant incidents.
Lodge Security Services was established in South Africa in 1964 and provides security solutions and data analysis to improve its clients’ operational management. Based in Johannesburg, it provides national coverage for its clients, which include key retailers, commercial, industrial and other related market sectors.