HIV charity Wandsworth Oasis streamlines charity shop operations with help from Transpeye, Hikvision and Lodge Service
Wandsworth Oasis does incredibly valuable work. Since its foundation in 1989, the London charity has provided support to those living with HIV, while also working to challenge the stigma they have faced.
In 1992, Wandsworth Oasis made its first foray into the retail sector, with its first ‘Sharing is Caring’ shop opening on Battersea Park Road, dealing in second-hand clothing, books, music and furniture donated by local residents.
Wandsworth Oasis celebrated its tenth anniversary in 1999 with the opening of a new shop in Earlsfield, at 416 Garratt Lane, and a new location opening in Tooting towards the end of 2000.
By October the following year, a fourth shop had opened in Furzedown. Among the earliest recipients of funding from Wandsworth Oasis were the Mildmay Mission Hospital and The Food Chain, both of whom the charity still works with today.
With HIV on the rise in London during the early 2000s, Oasis found itself growing and adapting to meet the needs of its customers, with refurbishments and improvements being made to all of its shops in 2003.
It now operates as a ‘charitable company’, with nine charity shops in south London. The revenue generated by those shops, alongside Wandsworth Oasis’s fundraising events, have given over £1 million in grants to HIV-related projects and organisations during the last ten years alone.
Improving operational efficiency
This steady growth over the decades has developed Wandsworth Oasis’s loyal customer base, as well as its growing, significant revenue. The charity’s management team recently recognised a review of their operational controls and best practices could help protect their revenues and enhance their efficiency, ultimately resulting in more money going to the people who need it most.
The dynamic nature of charity retailing presents significant challenges. The unpredictable nature of the supply chain creates difficulties for inventory controls and stock management, and this in turn impacts the potential for loss and inaccuracy through to the point of sale.
The transient nature of the volunteering workforce and goodwill of the retail teams also creates some challenges in establishing best practices and delivering consistently robust controls for the business.
To help with this review of its operations, Wandsworth Oasis called in Lodge Service. Lodge Service is the UK’s longest-standing family-owned security company and a consistent innovator in retail and business security solutions over a 100-year history. It integrates multiple security, protection and building management services into an intelligent, connected and remotely monitored whole, helping streamline overall business operations.
As part of its review, Lodge Service recognised the challenges that Wandsworth Oasis faced, said Pete Thomas, Head of Profit Protection at Lodge Services.
“In combination with other operational improvements we saw an opportunity for the use of technology to support their improvement programme, and consulted with our partners at Transpeye,” he explained.
Reducing risk with video and data
Transpeye is a software solution that provides data analytics with video integration on a modern cloud platform. Its Data-Led Intelligence and Risk Management solution has been designed by Retail Loss experts with an emphasis on revealing the risk of malicious activity through business intelligence at the point of sale.
Transpeye combines multiple data sources with video in its all-in-one cloud platform to highlight moments of risk or loss, for what it describes as “the ultimate loss prevention solution”. Other security-based devices can also be integrated into Transpeye with video to allow a combined solution for risk management mitigation. As a result, Transpeye is a combined SaaS (Software as a Solution) and VaaS (Video as a Solution) offering.
“We have software agents that communicate with multiple devices to allow risks, based on client business rules, to be identified, encrypted and moved to our all-in-one cloud platform,” Transpeye’s Karl Jordan said. “Our solution then alerts users of the risk moment, with visual verification almost in real time.”
Jordan described the requirement presented to Transpeye at Wandsworth Oasis.
“We were asked to focus on providing a control and monitoring software solution for the point of sale, ensuring visibility, compliance and a robust process in place,” he said.
“At the centre of this was the requirement to design, implement and monitor Gift Aid revenues, protecting integrity and reducing Wandsworth Oasis’ exposure to an unexpected tax burden, caused by the inaccurate recording of Gift Aid sales and receipts. There was also a need to ensure malicious and non-malicious losses were identified, with resolutions provided in the most efficient way.”
To achieve this, all CCTV systems were upgraded to Hikvision cameras and migrated to the Hik Pro Connect platform. These cameras provide outstanding quality images which are fully integrated, via cloud-to-cloud technology, within Transpeye. This allows video footage to be observed remotely alongside the EPOS integration. Policies and rules are configured to provide alerts based on the risk level. Risks around Refunds, Voids, Discounts, Gift Aid, and many other specific transactions were set up with their own policies to ensure that only exceptional risks were alerted in real time. Footage recorded on the Hikvision video security system sits alongside the transaction alerts and provides detailed evidence and confirmation of the incident.
As a result of the new Transpeye and Hikvision system, Wandsworth Oasis was very quickly able to identify a number of malicious-based losses along with non-malicious based losses that required immediate intervention.
The CCTV and Transpeye investment has paid immediate return on investment, with new insights into Gift Aid and all other EPOS based exceptions allowing performance management, improved deterrence against internal and external loss, and improved safety and protection of all assets.
Iain Burnett, Head of Retail at Wandsworth Oasis, was glowing in his endorsement of the new system.
“As a charity it is essential that we do all we can to protect our assets, enabling us to raise much needed funds to support people living with HIV,” he said. “Having the ability to measure any security concerns through the Lodge Service data mining software ‘Transpeye’ has enabled us to mitigate against loss prevention and in a short period of time we have seen great results. The team at Transpeye are experts in their field and provide an excellent service. The setup is seamless and the ongoing support from the team is of great benefit.”