Harley Davidson Case Study


The iconic Harley-Davidson Motor Company is the only major US based motorcycle manufacturer that produces heavyweight motorcycles and offers a complete line of motorcycle parts, accessories, apparel, and general merchandise. Each of its more than 1,500 worldwide networks of dealerships is individually owned and operated under the support of the parent company of Harley-Davidson, Inc.

Harley-Davidson and its extensive network of dealerships rely on people counting technology as a business tool to measure customer footfall, and monitor key business metrics to establish the overall health of sales and performance. For example, the output from people counting is used to calculate conversion rates on number of buyers, seasonal traffic patterns, impact of events, and differences between regions and dealer groups, in order to better understand how the dealership network is performing and how best to support them to positively impact sales.

The Challenge

Harley-Davidson contacted expert people counting system and solution provider Traf-Sys Inc., suppliers of thermal imaging cameras and technology.

As Harley-Davidson dealers are independently owned, this presented unique challenges. Each dealership’s retail outlet specs, i.e. the size of the building and required configurations varied greatly, which resulted in each dealership deployment requiring a custom installation.

To complicate matters, dealerships used separate computer networks which made sharing and collecting data complicated and difficult to analyze. Harley-Davidson needed a solution that would accommodate each dealer’s individual network and IT structure.

The Method

Harley-Davidson realized it was difficult to make accurate decisions, therefore it required a solution that would have the capabilities to provide a more accurate big-picture view of how its dealership network was really performing. After an extensive evaluation process, Harley-Davidson chose the Traf-Sys technology partnership.

As a partnership, Traf-Sys provided its years of expertise in people counting installation and leading Traf-Sys Reporting System, VisiCount™, while UK-based Infrared Integrated Systems market-leading thermal image people counting cameras were chosen as a more accurate solution to detect the heat and infrared radiation emitted by shoppers in-store. The units contain imaging optics, sensors, signal processing and interfacing electronics all within a small molded housing.

When the installation was complete self-check system diagnostics were carried out to make certain everything was in working order. The information gathered by the thermal imaging cameras is then fed into the Traf-Sys wireless equipment-the combination of the two makes installation possible in any kind of facility.

Traf-Sys then assesses the dealership parameters to place a data controller in the dealer facility and the information from the dealer network is received over the Internet to the Traf-Sys encrypted site in real-time in to aid decision making and trend monitoring. At the conclusion of the installation, customer traffic is watched carefully by human eyes and compared to how and what the system is counting for accuracy to ensure an accurate picture of customer footfall.

The Benefits

Harley-Davidson is now able to employ people counting technology in most of its major dealerships, and this is due to the Traf-Sys offering being highly customizable, but more importantly accurate.

With the analysis received from Traf-Sys people counting dealership outputs, Harley-Davidson is able to make much more informed decisions based on timely data. Individual dealerships can implement better staff management by better understanding customer traffic patterns, event attendance and seasonal impact, and correlating that with staffing levels to ensure the best overall customer service possible. Management can place high performing staff members on the floor during times of heavy customer traffic while scheduling trainees during low traffic times.

Individual dealers are also learning and tracking conversion rates from in-store events to see if they produced additional sales.

Due to the thermal imaging technology, the cameras only detect body heat, and therefore shoppers have no sensation of having their lives intruded upon by “Big Brother.” The cameras simply sense body heat or more specifically the changes in a background that occur or how the body heat is different from the background – keeping shoppers’ identities protected.

The Future

As Harley-Davidson expands into the future, Traf-Sys is there to install a people counting system to fit the individual needs of each of its dealerships. A new array of data will be analyzed-the daily weather against customer traffic, a given manager on the floor against traffic, etc.-if Harley-Davidson can imagine it, the data can be created and analyzed.

Retailers or business units will always ask themselves what they need to do to reduce costs and enhance revenue, make things more efficient, streamlining and making processes more scalable. People counting technology is an extension of this kind of thinking and part of its solution.


The partnership between Harley-Davidson and Traf-Sys has been hugely successful. Harley-Davidson has pioneered a system that makes people counting easier, more adaptable and accurate than ever before.

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