Facts at a glance
Retail grocery and pharmacy
Size of company:
230+ stores across the U.S.
In response to new public health challenges in 2020, Harris Teeter wanted a safer, more effective way to detect elevated temperatures among employees at their warehouses and distribution centers.
Bolide® Access Control thermal cameras and Insight Connected Platform Internet of Things (IoT) framework created an automated system for detecting employee temperatures and providing discreet alerts, eliminating the need for manual scans.
- 42,000+ accurate scans to date
- Average of 121 scans per day
- 64 elevated temperatures detected
- Estimated $195K immediate Return on Investment (ROI)
- A flexible IoT foundation for future use cases
Insight’s Digital Innovation solutions help clients incorporate emerging tech into their business operations to improve workforce and customer experiences.
Harris Teeter, a wholly owned subsidiary of Kroger, is a regional U.S. grocery chain headquartered in North Carolina with more than 230 locations along the East Coast. In addition to its retail stores and in-store pharmacies, Harris Teeter operates 14 fuel centers and several distribution centers.
The organization prides itself on providing a safe, inclusive environment for associates and a friendly, convenient shopping experience for customers.
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) created new challenges for essential operations. Committed to providing the safest possible environment for staff and customers, Harris Teeter began looking for ways to better protect the health of essential workers while continuing to serve its communities.
Beyond implementing social distancing policies and mask requirements, Harris Teeter also hired nursing staff at each of its distribution centers to scan employee temperatures upon arrival. But while this was an important first step toward providing a safer environment for associates, the process was slow, costly and subject to human error.
Leaders at Harris Teeter wanted a more effective, automated way to detect potential symptoms and help prevent the spread of illness in the workplace.
In August of 2020, thanks to an existing relationship with Harris Teeter’s parent company, Insight was brought on to find a solution. Insight’s Digital Innovation team worked closely with the organization to understand both its current and future technology goals.
Recognizing the existing unique use case and the drive for broader automation across the business, members of the team recommended building on Insight Connected Platform.
This unique IoT framework, designed and developed by Insight, enables a broad range of connected devices to be integrated and managed through a simple mobile app.
In this instance, the Bolide Access Control thermal camera was the device of choice. The self-contained system uses video analytics to take quick, accurate readings of individual employees, eliminating the costs and risks of manual temperature scans. In the event an elevated temperature is detected, integration with Connected Platform enables real-time alerts to be discreetly sent to authorized personnel to determine next steps.
Excited by the proposal, Harris Teeter asked Insight to begin with a proof of concept, implementing Connected Platform and installing the thermal camera at a single distribution center.
The deployment process began by aligning the solution to meet the organization’s rigorous security standards. Beyond network connectivity considerations, workflows were structured through the cloud and Connected Platform to ensure no Personally Identifiable Information (PII) was collected or stored, and only authorized personnel would receive temperature alerts. To help protect user privacy, the thermal camera was set up behind a privacy screen near the warehouse entrance.
Once deployed, the solution was met with overwhelmingly positive feedback from on-site managers and associates. The temperature scans were faster, more reliable, more secure and more cost effective than the previous, manual method, resulting in improved confidence among employees in the workplace.
Recognizing the success of the pilot program, Harris Teeter asked Insight to expand the deployment across all distribution centers and corporate headquarters in the following months. By January 2021, nine thermal cameras and three edge devices had been installed, resulting in:
“This process provided the safety for our associates working in different facilities throughout the company,” explained David Pardue, VP of asset protection and risk management for Harris Teeter. “Our focus was on results with a rapid response time.”
The implementation of Connected Platform for thermal detection also meant Harris Teeter no longer needed to contract nursing staff for manual temperature scanning. This resulted in significant savings across their four distribution locations. Factoring in the one-time hardware cost for their thermal cameras and the monthly subscription fees for Connected Platform, Harris Teeter values their immediate ROI at approximately $195K.
This value, in addition to the relationships built with Insight and the benefit of real-time visibility across the organization, exceeded Harris Teeter’s expectations.
“All four sites are currently utilizing the solution with no issues,” said Pardue. “The partnership between Insight and Harris Teeter during the pilot and eventual rollout was excellent. All issues, when presented, were handled in a timely, efficient and professional manner.”
The partnership also gave the organization the confidence to begin exploring other ways to automate processes and provide higher quality experiences for staff and customers. Building on Connected Platform, Insight and Harris Teeter are now exploring environmental use cases in the client’s retail stores, including real-time temperature notifications from freezers to alert staff and prevent potential food loss.
With this foundational IoT technology and trusted partnership in place, Harris Teeter is well-positioned to rapidly modernize operations and better serve both customers and associates in the coming years.
Harris Teeter values their immediate ROI at approximately $195K.