Video and Audio Communication as Aids to Process Management at Gerolsteiner
- The Gerolsteiner philosophy replaces the usual focus on plant security with one on process control and optimisation. Photo: Gerolsteiner
- The GeViScope Speed View workstation is part of a solution designed to make recording irrelevant by promoting immediate, positive actions. Photo: Astrid Weiss, TextPresseMarketing
- Gerolsteiner uses Argus, Geutebruck's high speed pan & tilt camera to monitor the perimeter fence and the turnstile entrance as well as the public helicopter pad. Photo: Astrid Weiss, TextPresseMarketing
Having thought long and hard Gerolsteiner Brunnen developed some basic principles which underlie its relationship of trust with its employees and its approach to security. The company's aim is profitable growth and safe and secure processes are fundamental to that. Its focus is on supporting processes and organizing them to be safe and secure. Every worker and visitor, whether from Gerolsteiner or an outside company, should feel comfortable at Gerolsteiner and the rules which are applied should assist in shaping this togetherness.
What Do We Really Need?
The need to secure new buildings and operations and to include new technology brought the realisation that the company's old video system was no longer up to the job. In considering how to replace it the central question was "What do we really need: video monitoring or video-voice communication?" Either way it was felt that the focus had to be on process management and the approach had to be positive to reflect the company philosophy.
Surveillance and trust are not easy bed-fellows, and it was considered crucial that everyone in the company should feel comfortable, because people work better when they are relaxed. So rather than applying checks and limitations, people at Gerolsteiner are enabled with user rights. These rights have a horizontal rather than a vertical orientation. Rights put employees in a position to express their responsibility, and as a result the access control system is seen as a system of rights rather than limitations.
Instead of thinking about controlling in a negative sense, Gerolsteiner's approach was to work out how a new video system might help control room staff to do their jobs, for example when a vehicle enters the site, or when someone enters the factory. These are the natural starting points for many processes and the right moment to give the person guidance or directions and to tell them about the house rules.
As a result, the Geutebruck video system provides pictures while the integrated voice communication system provides sound: both are triggered by automatic switching.
When someone requests entry into the factory site control room staff need to respond with a suitable greeting, provide appropriate assistance and hence (importantly) make a good first impression.
When the visitor presses the button on the intercom at the entrance the video picture and the audio communication are activated simultaneously. Lights indicate this to the visitor and the guard in the control room sees the visitor nice and clearly on the screen, even if it is dark outside. If the operator knows the visitor, he or she can immediately open the door remotely using the same system console as the video system.
The control room is manned round the clock with two staff on each shift. It has all the latest technology. The Geutebruck video system is their ‘remote eye', which is switched manually when required but otherwise works automatically.
Being located immediately next to the site entrance, the control room is the obvious point of contact for visitors and business callers. Customers, or their carriers arrive unannounced all round the clock to collect shipments of bottles. So this is where order processing starts and ends. For legal as well as security reasons this involves the accurate and unambiguous recording of vehicle registration numbers. Geutebruck's solution currently provides a crystal clear picture so the number can be entered manually in the SAP order processing screen. Future plans foresee the introduction of automatic number plate recognition and the automatic recording of data directly into the order processing system.
Once the brief 10-second registration process is complete, the driver receives an entry number with which to register at the loading bay. As the relevant data arrives there before him, his arrival is anticipated and loading can begin immediately.
Many other operational processes also benefit from the support provided by live pictures and voice communication. And of course when parts of the plant are not operating, at night or during holidays, the system's video alarm features come into play to detect intruders and display alarm reports and live pictures. These alarm pictures are stored temporarily but then automatically deleted after a set time.
No Looking Back
"Why have permanent recording of video? How would looking back help?" questions Heinz Lorse, the company security manager. "Here there is no long-term storage of data so recording capacity is not needed. If a standard process is carried out and completed in compliance with the rules then it is totally unnecessary to archive pictures of it." At first glance this may seem bizarre. But, given that the company philosophy is not to be suspicious of people, it is entirely logical. Despite the strict regulatory framework which necessarily applies in all foodstuff manufacturing, for authorized people entering the Gerolsteiner premises the process is very easy. Precisely because it works on the basis of shared values and trust. Given that this is what many visitors and business partners find attractive, they respect it, support it and behave accordingly. As a consequence not only does the works council have no issues with data protection but criminal acts are the absolute exception.
Developing a Technical Solution
Gerolsteiner's needs are met by an integrated all-in-one solution with video from Geutebruck, voice communication from Schneider Intercom and access control from Kaba. These systems were selected by a special project group consisting of representatives from the company's electrical systems department, its IT department and the company security staff. Under the guidance of Bonn-based consultants VzM Beratung GmbH, they visited other users to see a variety of systems in operation, and worked together to develop a full functional specification in preparation for the tendering process.
The Geutebruck hybrid video solution which was subsequently installed by TFA GmbH, Kreuzau-Stockheim differs significantly from the other pure IP designs proposed. Its advantages include the Geutebruck video server's system architecture together with its open interfaces which offer easy integration with the Schneider Intercom and Kaba equipment. In addition the system includes the potential to link a site 4 kilometres away with two-core cable and switching 25 fps live video.
Gerolsteiner management report that the installed video solution works reliably and failure-free. The company is convinced that installation and commissioning was made easier because the consultant, installer and client all worked co-operatively together on designing the system and determining its components. It certainly seems that control room staff who have been actively involved from the outset, are very comfortable with the result. As Mr Krämer, a security guard commented, "We wouldn't now do our work any other way!" - In fact perhaps the finished system would be better described as a ‘staff solution' rather than a ‘technical solution'!