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Archive for December, 2014

Solutions Versus Bill Rates

I am somewhat surprised by how most of the security industry operates, specifically in regards to asset protection. In many instances the stage is set, the security program has been established and periodically an RFP is being issued to see if there is a supplier that can beat the bill rates. There is room to emphasize some added value services but that only seems to contribute to a small extent of the final decision. Good security suppliers are able to perform as partners and can add more value if permitted. I am not disputing the knowledge and experience of the security directors. They often have a good handle on specific security requirements and know how to ensure these requirements are met. I am merely suggesting that a different approach could be beneficial. Perhaps a different set of eyes or a diverse angle that could help see security concerns and solutions in a different light. Is there a new process or technology that could enhance the existing security? Video monitoring, analytics, warning messages given through camera systems, drones or robotics are just a few alternative options. Is there a way to change the operational processes in order to simplify security requirements? In one instance, a provider of logistic services was able to limit the time slots for pick-up and delivery to a warehouse leading to a reduction in guard hours. This will only happen if the client takes a step back and has an open mind to discuss their operations and related security with a partner. Lately several customers have been more open-minded and discussed security without the strict confines of a standardized Request For Proposal. This leads to a different more holistic approach. Starting with the main security concerns and a security audit, different options are being proposed and evaluated. The goal is to find the best solution for the customer and not to maximize revenue. In many instances the cost is reduced by combining guard presence with system optimization. For one customer the coverage went from 6 guards around the clock to only 2 by adding a smart Remote Video Monitoring solution. The yearly costs dropped by 40%. This allowed the supplier to maintain a healthy margin in order to compensate the remaining guards properly and ensure high quality. This is the way to counter the race to the bottom in a largely commoditized market. I just hope we will be given the opportunity to provide solutions to customers, instead of only price in a predetermined setting.

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It’s Déjà Vu!

I had the weirdest experience this past week. I attended a function downtown at Queen’s Park. Now, I’ve been to Queen’s Park before, but I’ve never seen more than the front lobby and the legislature. This time I got deep into the bowels of Queen’s Park, got trapped in a maze of underground tunnels and rescued by one of Queen’s Park’s finest security officers. Let me explain…

Due to the impending snowstorm, I decided to take transit to the event and got off the TTC at Queen’s Park station. As I was exiting the station, I noticed two non-descriptive doors leading to a tunnel that looked like the right direction. I thought, what the heck. Take the underground rather than trudge through the cold above ground. So, off I went. Now this tunnel went on and on. There were many turns and signs pointing to exits for the various government buildings in the park. Finally I decided I had gone far enough and left the tunnel. Exiting through some doors and down another long hallway, I encountered a security guard. After verifying my identity and my reason for being at Queen’s Park, he issued me an ID badge and sent me off down another series of tunnels to the designated spot.

The event was great. I had the opportunity to meet presidents and executives of some of Canada’s leading companies in the manufacturing industry. I was also able to meet the Premier of Ontario. When the event was over, I decided to retrace my steps and find my way back to the TTC station via the underground tunnels. That’s when my weird experience happened!

As it was late, I was the only person in the tunnel. Miraculously I was able to retrace my steps and work my way back. At each firebreak door I noticed a sign indicating, “Access to the Subway is Closed After 6pm. Pedestrians Must Exit at a Security Exit”. I figured I’d be OK. When I got to the last firebreak door I came across a man sweeping the floor. I thought to myself, this is weird. It’s déjà vu! It was just like the scene in the movie Almighty Bruce when Jim Carey comes across God (played by Morgan Freeman) working as a custodian sweeping the floor. So I asked the man where the security exit was so I could get out and walk to the TTC station and he looked at me funny. So, I asked the man again and he looked at me like I was speaking another language. He told me there were no exits and I would have to go back to where I started and exit there.

Now I wasn’t happy about that, but what could I do? I turned around and walked back through the tunnel. When I got to the final doors they were locked! CRISIS! Luckily there was an access card reader and a security phone on the wall. I picked up the phone and asked the security guard to be granted access so I could exit the building. The guard asked me a few questions, said he could see me but didn’t know who I was, and asked that I stay put and he would send a guard to get me. A couple of minutes later a young female guard came to my aid. She asked me some more questions. After checking my photo ID and making a note in her logbook, she led me through some other tunnels, up some stairs and down some halls to an exit point.

Finally I could see the outside! I exited to the street, trudged through the snow back to the TTC station and found my way home.

So much for taking a quick route underground to the station to avoid the snow.

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