January 17, 2021

Paul Ridden: The power of Marginal Gains in your Mobile Patrols – Banishing the paper trail

Manual processes such as using spreadsheets to design run-sheets, passing paper run-sheets to drivers and crossing off the jobs by hand as they are completed in the control room, could be costing security firms dear. Using technology to streamline these tasks can save hours each week in admin, enable firms to provide a better service to customers, and keep staff happy. CEO of SmartTask, Paul Ridden explains how local and regional security businesses can make clever use of tech to improve many aspects of their business.

There are countless examples in the sporting world about the power of marginal gains. Saving one or two percent doesn’t sound much, but when you make those gains across several different areas, you are soon into improvements of double digits, 10% plus and that makes a positive difference to any business.

Saving time with Run-sheets

An obvious example of this is automating run-sheets, making them easy to replicate each day, each week, and then to make changes on the fly. This alone could be saving hours each week, but the benefits are so much more than just time savings for the control room – although that in itself is worthwhile.

Example marginal gain: An hour per day per person on a 40 hour week is a saving of 12.5%

Saving time for Officers

Once run-sheets are generated digitally, they can be sent to officers in the field digitally too. There are now Apps that can be installed on most smart phones (iOS and Android), so that when an officer starts work they receive their run-sheet automatically. They can also receive any assignment instructions or other special instructions at the same time. Using an App, they can tick off jobs as they go, taking photos if required, and attaching them to the log for the job. As jobs are completed the control room can see exactly what is happening on the ground. The control room can also be alerted of any missed check in calls, helping with Duty of Care responsibilities. This makes life a lot smoother for officers, as well as for the control room.

Example marginal gain: One extra activity per day, because officers spend less time on admin, or travelling to the office to collect/drop off paperwork

Streamline Alarm Responses

Visibility of operations on the ground in real time enables control rooms to streamline alarm responses. When an alarm call comes in the controllers can see where all their officers are located, so can organise a response much more efficiently. Directions and assignment instructions can be sent to the smartphones of officers required to attend. After the alarm response has been dealt with it is much easier provide the customer with full details of all services provided.

Example marginal gain: Officers are on site quicker, providing a more effective service for the customer, and the officer can then resume their patrols and other activities

Proving BS7984-3:2020 Compliance

Managing Keyholding and Alarm Response contracts more efficiently enables businesses to prove compliance with BS 7984-3:2020. Paper based systems can be used to track where keys are held and who has had access to them and when, but this is prone to error and takes a lot longer than using software designed for the purpose.

Example marginal gain: Much easier and quicker to prove compliance, and faster, less stressful SIA audits

Invoice for all services provided

With a digital system the accounts department is not reliant on paper time sheets that can be difficult to read leading to mistakes when rekeying or simply lost. Software provides an easily accessible and complete audit trail of what services were provided for each alarm response ensuring that nothing is forgotten. So businesses can invoice for ALL services provided.

Example marginal gain: How much would one invoice for an extra call out per day add to the bottom line?

Improve Customer Service

Automating systems not only saves time in many areas of the business, it enables firms to focus on providing a better service to customers. As well as more detailed customer information, they benefit from a faster and more efficient service which in turn helps the business to attract and retain more customers. And, providing good technology to staff is also a great way to attract and retain the best talent.

Example marginal gain: Gaining one extra customer due to strong reputation for excellent customer service

When you add up all of these improvements to be made from harnessing technology, for your staff, your customers and for the business, there is a very compelling case for marginal gains.