It’s now the busiest time of year at your facility. The stress level is up and the projects don’t seem to end. Even when you get caught up, the next day you feel behind all over again.
Today you walk in the office already prepared for a hectic day and to fuel the fire you notice a voicemail from your facility’s legal counsel notifying you that a slip-and-fall case has been filed against your facility…and the incident occurred three years ago. Who documented the incident? Do they work here anymore? Where's it filed? Is it legible?
Take some pressure off you and your team. Introduce facility management solutions to provide you and your risk management team with accurate documentation for incident liability defense. While doing so you’ll reap these benefits:
Accurate, legible, and historical records provide substantial benefits to reducing your risk and managing your facility! To find out more about how we help you accomplish all this click on the Button below.
Understanding the Big PictureBy deploying a Guard Tour Management system, you are collecting valuable information on which to do analytics. As an experienced security manager, you have a gut feel of where the issues are and how to deploy your guards. Wouldn’t be helpful to be able to validate your feelings with numbers? You will be able to see long term trends of just what type of issues are coming up at each client and deploy your force to better to deal with them. You will have a complete historic record of all tours and incidents so you can dig into specific details as well when you need to understand any issues around officer’s past performance.
Better Officer PerformanceThe truth is, people work better when they know they are being monitored. They are less likely to just skip that one hard place to get to in the middle of a rainstorm when they know you will easily find out. By deploying a guard tour system, you are sending a clear message to your employees that you care that they are doing a good job. You are also providing them with a tool that will make it easier to do that good job so it’s a win-win all around.
Making your customers want to stay with you because of your Guard Tour SystemHave you ever been in a position where you feel you are just getting hired as a scapegoat in case something goes wrong? The best way to fight against that perception is to deliver tangible value to your client. That’s where a great Guard Tour System can shine.
AccountabilityThe first thing you need out of a great Guard Tour System is accountability. That means the system needs to record the right information to show that you deliver on your promises. By integrating GPS tracking and checkpoint tracking, you can give your customers a very clear picture of your officer’s movements during each and every patrol. Add in incident reports with pictures and timestamps, you go even further to make sure they can truly rely on you.
Clear and Concise ReportingThe second thing is simplicity through clear reporting. Your customer does not want to wade through detailed reports full of obscure codes or handwritten daily activity reports that are prone to error. Most just want a nice green smiley face when things are going well. On the other hand, when things have gone wrong, you need to be able to give them the detail they need to reassure themselves that you handled the situation appropriately. This means a great Guard Tour System needs to include a great reporting system to make sure you give them just the level of detail they need.
Ease of AccessibilityYour client wants to know that you are accessible whenever they need you. Having the ability to look at their reports how and when they want them is a must have for a good guard tour system. Self service reports are not just a win for the client but a win for you in terms of productivity. Your client does not want to have to contact you every time they need a report from a few months ago and you don’t want to have to spend time looking for those reports.
In ConclusionIn order to compete in today’s world, you need to make sure you give your customers more than they expect. One of the easiest ways to do that is using great technology. By deploying a guard tour system you can set yourself apart from those who still rely on the old, manual way of doing business and grow both your customer base and your profitability. While there is a cost to these systems, it certainly is not nearly as high as the extra profit you will make by choosing to get ahead of the competition with technology helping to provide the highest level of service possible. Add in the increase in productivity and ask yourself this question. Can you afford not to have a guard tour system?
For a Guard Tour System to be great, it clearly needs to make your life easier. There are number of ways in which a quality system does this.
Reducing Training Time and Costs
Because instructions can be made available to the officer as needed when they reach a checkpoint, your training time is drastically reduced both for new officers and experienced officers covering a shift. When an incident occurs, the system should display an easy to use form allowing the officer to gather and input information as it happens, and even allow them to submit photographic evidence as needed.
The system will remove management overhead and save you time with report writing. A Guard Tour System, and particularly a smartphone based one, will save a lot of overhead through automation. Your officers are able to enter information as it happens, and make sure they get all the details into the system in a quick and efficient manner. This is made even easier today by the huge advances that have been made in voice-to-text technology allowing individuals to dictate notes directly, allowing them to record their observations on the go without stopping to type!
You will no longer be manually writing reports but having them generated from incident reports and observations uploaded to the cloud. Great systems will automatically email out daily activity reports to your clients, saving you even more time.
Improved Situational Awareness
You get much better situational awareness of what your employees are doing on a minute to minute basis when using this type of system. Particularly with smartphone based systems, you will be able to pinpoint on a map where your officers are at any given moment in real-time. You can also see incidents as they happen together with photographic and video evidence available within seconds to minutes of being reported. This improved situational awareness also translates into better officer safety. When an officer is in trouble, they can immediately initiate an alarm back to headquarters. Since you know where all the other officers are, it is easy to send backup or inform authorities that the individual needs help.
A good system will help you comply with laws. There are many laws out there (Duty of Care) that require you to keep detailed records of the hours worked by your employees. Using the time and attendance features of a good guard tour management system, you will not only have accurate records, but automatically keep them for as long as required by law without any extra effort on your part as they will all be available in the cloud.
The system can save you money by vastly reducing paper usage. It’s not just the triplicate and quadruplicate copies of paper forms that costs you money but the storage needed to keep it for years to protect yourself legally and provide records for clients who ask for it. By using a cloud based system, all your tours and reports are kept safely and indefinitely saving you a vast amount of effort and cost.
In our next Post we will look at the Big Picture- How does all this data collected give you a broader picture on how your operation is performing.
Thanks for coming back for Post 2 on "What makes a Great Guard Tour System".
Factors in choosing a Guard Tour System
There are two main types of Guard Tour systems, those based on proprietary hardware (often referred to as “wands”), and those based on smartphone technology.
In the case of a wand-based system, the checkpoints are typically RFID tags or steel “buttons”. Each button or tag contains a microchip with a unique serial number ID.Since they are the only form of input, the officer will have a personal button/tag to login/start, then will perform the patrol reading the checkpoints at each location visited. If there is an incident, he might be able to classify it using a different set of buttons specifically programmed for incidents. These devices are only designed to read buttons- there is no way to capture any other details of an incident. By the end of the patrol, or after several patrols, the wand needs to either communicate over a network or be connected to a computer (by means of a “Downloader” device) directly so the information can be transferred locally or to the cloud for reporting purposes.
In the case of a smartphone based system, the checkpoints are either QR/Barcodes or NFC tags. NFC tags work similarly to RFID in that they each have a unique ID that cannot be duplicated, while QR codes and barcodes are easier to reproduce and copy. In contrast to the buttons, however, location specific information and interactive elements can ALSO be associated with the NFC tag. When the checkpoint is read by the phone, information such as instructions, memos, digital forms and checklists can be sent to the user to view and complete as required. This really has a huge advantage in terms of training, and the officer can then enter details or even take pictures as needed. This data is sent in real-time over the internet to the cloud for reporting. With this solution, you combine simplified communication, efficient training and accountability with ease of use.
When deciding which path to take, you really have to look at several issues such as cost, durability and functionality.
Wand based systems have one real advantage in that they are custom built and therefore can be very rugged. On the other hand, smartphones offer a lot more in terms of functionality in that they have a screen, interactive capability, are connected full time to the internet, and have useful built-in hardware such as GPS and cameras.
That’s not counting the most obvious feature of a smartphone- it’s a phone and therefore a communication device. This reduces the need for guards to carry around excess equipment, as there is no need to carry a radio. The ruggedness concern of a phone can often be mitigated by putting it in a suitable case.
In our next Post, we will look at the the increase in accountability, productivity and insight gained from utilizing a Guard Tour System.
In this series of posts, we cover what elements our customers looked for when choosing a Guard Tour System. This series is in four parts with posts twice a week! We encourage you to engage with us, give us your comments & suggestions as to what you're looking for in a great Guard Tour System!
Post 1-Why do you need a Guard Tour System?
As with many industries, the contract security guard industry has to keep up with the times, and that means taking advantage of the latest technology. Part of that may include finding the right Guard Tour System to track and report on the movement of your security officers when they are on patrol.
Let’s look at some detail about why Guard Tour is necessary and the benefits you’d expect from this kind of system.
Why do you need a Guard Tour System?
Just think about how your employee will do his patrol without technology. He walks around the property with a pen and paper and writes down any issues that he finds. At the end of the day, he may have to compile those notes into a daily activity report and get that back to his supervisor and the client. Other than what is personally written by the officer, there is very little in the way of evidence to show that he has done his job.
How can a client, or a supervisor for that matter, really be sure that the work is actually being done and your company is providing good value for money? How much time is wasted on Management’s end collating all the notes and getting out reports to clients? How much time and effort is spent in filing away and categorizing the reports to prepare for when the client comes back a year later and wants details?
With a Guard Tour System, the officer visits a number of physical locations while on patrol. When he reaches a checkpoint (location), it is scanned and the time recorded. In the case of a smartphone based system, he can also record details and take pictures. The more documentation the better!
All this leads to a whole lot of advantages over a manual system. Key among these are efficiency, simplicity and accountability which we’ll cover later on in this Series.