A Heritage of Quality
A Heritage of Quality

Feb 1, 2004 12:00 PM

From a one-man, direct-mail-order business, L.L. Bean has expanded to a 4,500-person operation with annual sales of more than $1 billion generated from retail stores including its flagship store in Freeport, Maine, and stores in McLean, Va., and Columbia, Md. It also has factory outlets on the east and west coasts, a Web site that draws visitors from around the world, a worldwide catalog business, and retail stores throughout Japan.

The L.L. Bean flagship store remains on the company's original store site, built circa 1917. In an effort to improve service more than 50 years ago, the company's founder removed the locks and threw away the keys on the store's front door ! and customers have been able to come and go ever since.

L.L. Bean's customer satisfaction department was created in the same spirit and serves customers around the clock. The company still measures success by the satisfaction of its customers.
Relationships Are Indispensable

When L.L. Bean, one of the largest retailers in the United States, wanted to install a new video security system at its flagship store, it turned to Seacoast Security, Freeport, Maine, as its installing dealer.

"This is our third try to get a system to actually do what it says it will do," says Tim Parker, head of security for L.L. Bean. "We have more than 1,000 alarm points with 60 to 70 cameras, so realistically we could have too many alarms coming in all at once for our security staff to handle."

With the company's old system, once an alarm event was received, security would have to do a lot of searching to be sure of pulling up the right camera. "It just didn't work very well," Parker says.

Now, L.L. Bean locations throughout the U.S. are linked ! via the PelcoNet transmission system from Pelco, Clovis, Calif. ! to the central monitoring station at the company's corporate headquarters in Maine. With the new system, an image automatically displays on screen without security guard intervention ! thus eliminating the need to search out an alarm origin, which previously took valuable time.
Putting Technology to the Test

Louis Garza, operations manager, Seacoast Security, says the installation at L.L. Bean went smoothly. A CM6800 Matrix System controlling 9-Channel Genex Multiplexers with multiple Spectra dome camera systems was installed at each site at locations throughout Maine and Virginia, in both factories and stores. The Spectra domes and PelcoNet are being used in combination with L.L. Bean's emergency response alarm points for retail store parking lots, and the installation is a combination of new and replacement equipment.

To get the PelcoNet part of the system up and running, Garza sought assistance from Dan Howard, Pelco technical field support engineer. Howard helped install a 16-Channel CM9760-CDUT. The unit acts as a "traffic cop" for PelcoNet through the CM6800 by handling all of the communications out of the RS-422 data interface. Garza says the interface links the keyboard controls to the PelcoNet receiver through the Ethernet network, then from the network to the PelcoNet Transmitter and to the camera system for pan-and-tilt operations. This ensures communications do not get misdirected. "Otherwise," he says, "things would get too mixed up."
System Works Fast The First Time

The Spectra dome camera activates the alarm input on the Pelco matrix system at the central monitoring station through the multiplexer. In turn, that activates the alarm input on the PelcoNet, which automatically sweeps the camera around to its preset.

"They have panic buttons at each Spectra dome that someone can press," Garza says. "And when they do, it trips the Spectra, which immediately swings around to where that person is standing ! and this could be several cities away."

"The first time ! right after we put in the system and before anyone really knew about it ! an employee walked up and pushed the button, and we could actually see his hand as he pulled it away," Parker says.

Garza says that the project was conceptualized in the fall of 2001 and was completed the following spring.

L.L. Bean officials are monitoring multiple sites with plans to expand.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article is adapted from an article originally appearing in Pelco Press Fall 2002 issue.



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