Manufacturer Enhances Security, Simplifies Operations
ECHO Incorporated, the largest subsidiary of the Yamabiko Corporation of Japan, is a worldwide leader in the development and manufacture of professional-grade, hand-held outdoor power equipment for the commercial and homeowner markets. With 35 acres of land and 583,000 square feet of space under roof, the ECHO campus in Lake Zurich, Illinois houses more than 830 employees in the company’s corporate offices as well as its manufacturing, warehousing and distribution operations.
Given the variety of employee roles and work areas at ECHO, it is critical that employees be assigned the proper permissions to access the areas where they perform their jobs – whether they are design engineers, machine operators, assembly line workers or accounting staff. The company eventually outgrew its previous access control system, which allowed for only a limited number of access levels to be applied to each profile. “We needed a system that would make it easy to manage a large number of employees and access levels,” says Mike Hilt, Senior Manager of Facilities, ECHO.
Working with systems integrator, LaMarco Systems, ECHO deployed a NetBox Extreme™ access control and event monitoring system. “We liked how the system could scale to handle a large number of employees and is easy to understand and program,” explains Hilt.
Using the web-based NetBox system, ECHO is now able to create a virtually unlimited number of access levels with reader groups and time specs and assign them to individual employee profiles. This ensures that employees are able to securely move around the campus to any areas where they are authorized to be, precisely when they are authorized to be there.
The NetBox system is also used to control a Bosch intrusion alarm system, which effectively provides a double layer of security. For instance, line workers for a scheduled shift can only enter the manufacturing area when their supervisor arrives to disarm it by swiping his access card. At the end of the shift, the supervisor arms the alarm system once again with his card. “The NetBox system is accomplishing much more than controlling entrances and exits. It is controlling and simplifying operations for ECHO – all while increasing security,” observes Marat Sendekov, President, LaMarco Systems.
Beyond the security benefits, the integration between the NetBox and Bosch systems improves operational efficiency and reduces potential risk. Shift supervisors no longer need to remember numerical codes to arm and disarm the alarm system, while facility management staff no longer need to supply and manage dozens of codes. And if a card is lost or an employee terminated, the card can quickly be deactivated directly from the NetBox system interface.
ECHO now has full control over who is in various areas of the facility throughout the day, with the ability to easily add access levels to employee profiles as needed. In addition, the NetBox system has simplified overall operations, from manufacturing shifts to management of the security system itself.
“The NetBox system provides a high degree of safety and security throughout our campus, while ensuring employees can easily get their jobs done,” notes Hilt.