German supermarket giant, Aldi, best known for its ultra-low prices and ‘stacked-up-high’ goods in its stores, has selected Castel to supply IP intercom systems for its new regional distribution and staff administration centres across the UK. The first development, in Goldthorpe South Yorkshire, is due to open in 2015 at a cost of £25 million and will see Castel’s highly regarded CAP IP intercoms installed across the site. The brief from the supermarket chain was for an intercom-over-IP system that would enhance the security of the site and also offer other operational efficiencies.
Cardiff-based installation company, SGD Security, was tasked with updating the access control and CCTV throughout the Goldthorpe centre. A new dedicated site-wide network was installed for Castel’s CAP IP intercoms, which have been used for the gates, barriers and turnstiles. The new system, which uses standardised SIP protocol to ensure compatibility with third-party products such as VoIP telephones, will enable administrative staff to enter the management offices, while the warehouse staff, including delivery companies, have access to the depot 24/7.
Aldi’s preference was to adopt a nationwide approach to managing its access control by linking all of its communications over a wide area network. Control centres are being built in the North, South, West and Central areas of the UK to handle the effective distribution of goods to each store and also to accommodate the management of localised staff functions, including HR, finance and other general administration.
Each Aldi region will operate as a standalone function. However, if a call goes unanswered, the next available operator at another regional centre will be able to receive and deal with it, using either a master station/base station or a VoIP telephone – another great advantage of using this technology. This level of redundancy will not only improve the efficiency of how Aldi handles visitors and staff, but will also reduce the level of manpower required at each location, while maintaining high levels of security.
Another part of the requirement for the supermarket chain was to have Aldi-branded bespoke stainless steel panels manufactured for each intercom station. To reduce the delivery time for each panel, which also includes integrated proximity readers, the Aldi logo was printed digitally on to the steel surface – this method of printing was chosen as an alternative to screen-printing, which was both more expensive and took longer to produce.