On-Guard

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HOW WORKFORCE MANAGEMENT INNOVATION IS BOOSTING OPERATIONAL CONTROL AND SERVICE DELIVERY

Manned security businesses are increasingly looking for clever ways of planning and managing static and mobile guards according to Paul Ridden, CEO of SmartTask. Speaking exclusively to InSecurity, he says there had been growing demand for employee scheduling, patrol monitoring and workforce management tools in the past 18 months as companies attempt to gain competitive advantage by improving service delivery and operational control.

“The technology has become increasingly available and affordable over the last couple of years, making it relevant and appealing to more and more manned security operators,” Ridden explains. “Advances in smartphone technology and the introduction cloud-based software solutions have made these solutions easily deployable and scalable, whatever the size of a business or its budget.”

SmartTask itself experienced record uptake of its employee scheduling and workforce management system during 2016, which resulted in the number of active users doubling to more than 10,000. It is the usability, flexibility and functionality of the SmartTask solution that makes it an ideal system for the security sector claims Ridden: “delivering an integrated tool across intelligent rostering, live monitoring and integrated proof of attendance in a simple and hassle-free way.”

SmartTask also introduced a number of industry firsts to take advantage of the latest smartphone innovations and better meet changing market needs. In particular, the software solution became the first patrol monitoring and guard management tool to integrate with FLIR® thermal imaging, so manned and mobile security providers can offer an enhanced service to customers and keep security officers safe against hidden threats and potential risks.

Meanwhile, SmartTask teamed up with management systems and security consultants Pengelly Young to enable security businesses to meet the ongoing requirements of the SIA Approved Contractor Scheme (ACS) and ISO9001. A dedicated Smart Docs module has been launched to help achieve compliance requirements and provide visibility of latest operating procedures by ensuring appropriate documents and processes are put in place and correctly managed.

Moving forward, Ridden sees the migration from on premise software to solutions hosted in the cloud gather pace as the levels of available functionality matures to match, and in many cases, exceed that of legacy systems. “Not only is this exciting change in the way software is purchased driving innovation and reducing costs, but it is also enabling organisations like SmartTask to take the best from these emerging technologies and use them to deliver clear business differentiation and efficiencies.”

He also sees innovations in the consumer marketplace starting to impact on employee scheduling and workforce management processes over the coming months and years. In the same way as the widespread adoption of smartphones has helped enhance staff communications and operational performance monitoring, these emerging technologies will offer a host of opportunities to take advantage of.

“Smart voice assistants, driven by increasing competition between Google Home and Amazon Echo, should provide an effective means of improving and simplifying employee engagement in a very personal way. Meanwhile, artificial intelligence (AI) may lead to many software solutions becoming smarter and less dependent on local knowledge, intelligently learning as they go along and relying less on human intervention,” suggests Ridden.

WINNING BUSINESS AND STREAMLINING PROCESSES

G&A Security, a leading security guard business based in the North East of England, is using SmartTask to win more business, enhance customer service and streamline administrative processes. The company has already won a number of local and nationwide contracts as a result of its SmartTask-powered Guard Tour System, while taking advantage of advanced workforce scheduling, live visibility and historical reporting capabilities to reduce administration by 40 hours a month.

“Our priority is to protect the welfare of our staff and the properties of our customers,” explains Jay Graham, Managing Director of G&A Security NE Ltd. “Using SmartTask we achieve complete visibility over our static guards, ensuring their safety at all times while giving our clients access to everything that our security control room can see. This is part of our commitment to being the best provider of security solutions and implementing systems that deliver a clear advantage over competitors.”

G&A Security selected SmartTask to replace a legacy patrol monitoring system that was no longer meeting its business and operational requirements. The company was looking for a workforce management solution that would underpin its Guard Tour System, which was developed to give customers unrivalled visibility by providing advanced proof of work, incident reporting and lone worker protection. G&A Security also wanted a tool that would help streamline back-office functions such as invoicing, payroll and employee scheduling.

SUPPORTING GROWTH AND DELIVERING BEST PRACTICE

Oakpark Security Systems, an independent security business across East Anglia, London, and the South East of England, has expanded its use of SmartTask having achieved a host of business and operational benefits. The company has adopted the custom reporting package having successfully rolled out SmartTask’s advanced proof of attendance and incident notification solution across its mobile response and manned guarding teams.

SmartTask has already reduced administration by between 15 and 20 hours a month, with further savings expected with the adoption of the latest functionality. Meanwhile, the system has helped Oakpark to win at least  two security contracts and is supporting ongoing customer retention by delivering higher levels of service. This investment in leading technology solutions is also making a key contribution to its top two per cent SIA Approved Contractor Scheme rating.

Oakpark is now using SmartTask’s custom smartforms to replace existing paper-based processes to streamline certain areas of the business and reduce administration. In particular, vacant property inspections and supervisor visits will now use SmartTask-enabled tablets to electronically-capture information for assessments and evaluations, which are then uploaded to an online portal for viewing and analysis.

Edward Smith, Risk & Resilience Manager at Oakpark Security Systems Ltd comments: “We are using SmartTask to support our growth strategy within target markets. It is helping us differentiate our offering and deliver industry best practice, based on our ability to provide advanced data capture and reporting. As a result, we are enhancing service levels, maximising business opportunities and simplifying back-office functions.”

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