WINN-DIXIE INSTALLING DIGITAL CAMERAS AT POS TO CUT SHRINK

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The installation of a digital-camera monitoring system in one Winn-Dixie unit here kicks off a three-month rollout of the loss-prevention technology to specified stores in all of the retailer's divisions.The cameras record digital images of scanned items and compare them with a product information database. When a filed item and the scanned Universal Product Code do not match,

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The installation of a digital-camera monitoring system in one Winn-Dixie unit here kicks off a three-month rollout of the loss-prevention technology to specified stores in all of the retailer's divisions.

The cameras record digital images of scanned items and compare them with a product information database. When a filed item and the scanned Universal Product Code do not match, the system is electronically alerted to record the entire order and notify the retailer of any discrepancies.

"The system will enable Winn-Dixie to improve its price accuracy and cashier efficiency at the front end," said Mickey Clerc, vice president of public relations for Winn-Dixie Stores here.

The monitoring system will reportedly go live today in one store in Winn-Dixie's Jacksonville division. The retailer plans to install the system in one store in each division, said Clerc. This rollout will reportedly be complete by March.

"The retailer is looking for an effective method to deal with shrink at the front end," said a source familiar with the situation. "This system is better than a traditional closed-circuit television system because CCTV does full-time recording of every event that happens at the front end and in the aisles."

This new recording technology, however, is more focused on cashier activity. It uses two digital cameras mounted over each checkout lane, to record products as they are scanned and transported on the unit's conveyer belt. Each item is digitized and stored in a database that contains such item characteristics as the UPC, size, shape and color.

The system also monitors whether the bottom tray of a shopping cart is empty or if those items are scanned by the cashier.

"The system records specific events, rather than a day of orders," the source said. "With CCTV you need to go through a lot of data to get proof. This system lets you pinpoint the exact event."

The digital-camera system was installed and tested in one store in July, said Clerc.

According to Clerc "The results of the test determined that we would install the system in one store in each of our divisions," Clerc said.

"Results from these installations will determine if we will expand the system further."

Neither Clerc nor the source would provide additional information about the test results.

The system is from A.W. Computer Systems, Mount Laurel, N.J.