NW Systems Group has completed installation of an IP video surveillance system for major UK food transport and storage company McBurney Refrigeration Limited. The new system was installed at McBurney’s principle UK storage depot in Liverpool as part of a package of security and health & safety improvements required to gain British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Distributors Quality Management Process (DQMP) food safety standards certifications.

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The BRC Global Standard – Storage & Distribution Issue 2 (dated September 2010), is now considered the UK’s gold standard for safe and hygienic storage and transportation of chilled, frozen and ambient products as well as for facilities which offer blast freezing of pre-packed meat products and tempering of pre-packed bread products.

Following last year’s horse meat scandal industry bodies, manufacturers and retailers alike began demanding tighter food safety standards right through the food supply chain. McBurney Refrigeration was keen to gain compliance with this standard before the beginning of 2014 when some of its larger customers, including ASDA, began requiring it as a condition of doing business with them.

Another major business advantage of gaining the BRC certification is that if McBurney could achieve this ultimate UK standard for handling and storage of chilled and frozen food goods, fewer management hours will be tied up in hosting and providing documentation for customers’ own inspection teams.

Peter Amos, warehouse manager, McBurney Refrigeration, added:

“We also distribute frozen burgers and buns for McDonalds. They are demanding a slightly more stringent food safety standard, widely adhered to in the US, called DQMP. This standard demands highly secure access to food storage areas as well. Thanks to the new system we’ve been able to secure DQMP standard accreditation also.”

The BRC standard contains over 400 key clauses which need to be complied with. Together these demand that companies have published enforceable guidelines and policies in key areas which include:

  1. Staff hygiene
  2. More stringent fully audit-able site cleaning programme
  3. Disposal of damaged or rejected products
  4. Pest control
  5. Glass & hard plastic control
  6. Site & vehicle security
  7. Knife usage
  8. Pallet checking
  9. Cross contamination (CCPs)

All these procedures are written into the Staff Handbook and education reinforced in staff training. Visitors must sign various documents to confirm that they are not ill and will also observe key procedures when on-site.

To secure an A grade pass, firms have to adhere to 390 or more of the 400 clauses detailed in the BRC standards documentation. McBurney managed to comply with 391 of these key clauses following a three-month safety adherence programme which was completed with the installation and testing of the IP video security system in September 2013.

NW Systems’ IP video system needed to address a key security and fire threat which jeopardised BRC accreditation. This threat came principally from visiting drivers from abroad not observing the site’s smoking ban and lighting up right outside doors which offer access to the chillers.

Peter Amos, warehouse manager, McBurney Refrigeration, said:

“We had specific concerns about enforcing a site-wide ban on smoking which had proved difficult. We had also experienced some shrinkage of frozen fish stocks in the top floor of the warehouse. Some drivers passing through this site come from as far afield as Spain or Portugal. They drive customers’ trucks full of chilled vegetables up to this site, before delivering the produce onto the retailers’ regional distribution centres.”

The fact that they were smoking close to the doors compromised entrance security because they could potentially hold doors open for unauthorised individuals, who would not therefore have to punch the code into the door locks to release them. In addition smoking in these areas breached McBurney’s fire regulations on the site, put there because the walls of the chillers contain highly flammable insulation materials.  Once the IP video system was installed smoking stopped in these areas and BRC accreditation has been secured.

NW Systems deployed Merit LILIN IP cameras at McBurney. Cameras were cited looking at doorways affording secure access to the chillers. These multi-megapixel devices were configured to provide HD resolution images around the clock. Milestone XProtect Essential video management system was configured on a server configured to handle video images from up to 30 cameras, storing these images for up to 60 days. Some retailers require video evidence to be kept for this length of time for their own records.

Milestone Mobile software was deployed to provide relevant senior managers including Peter Amos (warehouse manager), David Lynch (quality manager), Stephen Serna (IT manager) with mobile access to live and recorded images on their smart phones to help with security checking and ensure all cameras were working properly at all times. They can also view the cameras via Milestone XProtect Smart Client from their PCs.

Stephen Serna, IT manager, McBurney Refrigeration explained:

“We were very happy with the system’s design, product specification and installation by NW Systems. It went in with minimum of fuss within just one day. It enabled us to secure BRC accreditation within a couple of weeks of it going in and we now have an open architected, Windows-based system which uses all our existing cabling and network infrastructure and allows us to expand and upgrade it easily when the opportunity arises to do so.”

Plans are now afoot to expand the video monitoring system to cover McBurney Refrigeration’s loading bays. A camera fitted on each of the bays would ensure against theft or damage to goods during loading and unloading. High resolution images of pallets being loaded could be sent to customers if there is ever any dispute about goods damaged when unloaded at retailers’ distribution centres.

Frank Crouwel, managing director, NW Systems, added:

“It’s great that the new IP video system we put in for McBurney has helped them to achieve BRC accreditation so quickly. We have installed a highly affordable video system which is capable of considerable expansion to provide site-wide security in the future.”

To view a video of this story please click on this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eb7zqr7PlOQ

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