Picking up from my last issue were I spoke about how operational requirements should steer Security installment processes rather than they being commodity-based purchases. As a purchaser you should be aware of the false economies of purchasing purely on price and ensure that goods/services are fit for purpose.
The cheapest product might seem advantageous in the short-term, but as your needs evolve, it could turn out to be a false economy.
Your rationale for selecting a product should override your desire to reduce costs. Making the right choice is all about thinking long-term and making an investment future-proof and adaptable as technology advances. When budget constraints demand a cheaper option, open architecture solutions that can be expanded and upgraded when time and money are available will do you right. You must understand the total cost of ownership.
Manpower providers frequently achieve low prices by minimising staff wages. Low wages, however, inevitably lead to poorly motivated staff unlikely to prioritise your interests. As long as there are individuals or companies paying below minimum wage and avoiding tax through sham “self-employed” officers and lacking understanding of health and safety requirements, this will remain a challenge.
Companies need to stop including only procurement professionals on tender assessments but also include building managers to line-manage service partners. They know better than most what’s required to do the job.
Effectively, we need to know how a client’s business works, so that we can introduce technology that not only aids security but also IT departments, operations and property managers by delivering measurable cost and resource benefits along with a quicker return on investment.
One thing’s for sure: if security really matters to your company, you should employ security service specialists and not bundle it with other services.
Too often are our valuables are protected by sub-standard equipment that isn’t fit for the purpose. As a professional I will in this issue and the next help support decision makers to make informed decisions when it comes to buying security technology.
Investing in security technology is complex and usually the customer doesn’t know enough about the technology to correctly specify their requirements and is not made easier with prices and specifications varying enormously.
Most corporates want to reduce costs, which inevitably also reduces quality, since any kit will do as long as it does the job. Only by identifying your operational requirements will you weed out the less robust systems and get the right product, system and solution.
Decision-makers should buy based on an independent analysis of their business and equipment needs, thoroughly examining the threats and risks related to the property, business and infrastructure. For example should security provision concentrate on potential threats from visitors/employees or are there external threats?
If you simply say that you want CCTV or guarding, it suddenly becomes a commodity, making it price-driven. Cost will always be a big driver, but operational requirements should steer the process rather than it being a commodity-based purchase.
Only by going through the operational requirements process will you get a fit-for-purpose solution that gives you the ability to find out whether what is installed or service commissioned is what you wanted in the first place.
And, of course, integration of technology with physical security is the best route, which could save you up to a third on security costs.
Till the next issue;
In the last issue I highlighted on how fire is a major risk to both households and business. In this issue I will look a bit deeper into building fire safety and the different systems you need to put in place in order to safely and effectively mitigate this risk.
Technology now plays a big role in our daily lives, more so protecting us from fire outbreaks as well. Adding smoke detectors to an existing alarm is a very cost effective and affordable solution for early fire detection for both domestic and commercial premises. However, for Corporates I recommend installing full-fledged fire alarm systems and have them linked to the City of Harare Fire Station. This ensures that as soon as a fire is detected both the Fire Brigade and employees receive an immediate notification of the fire; which enables swift reaction to control the fire before it gets out of hand. This system reduces fire risk especially in huge warehouses were fire might not immediately be noticed.
Develop a fire escape plan and communicate it to all employees. Practice it regularly and designate a meeting place outside. Fire is dark! It starts bright, but quickly produces smoke and complete darkness. Employees may be blinded, disoriented, and unable to find their way out; having ready made and practiced routines will save lives. Often overlooked, fire escape ladders are essential for any multi-level complex and are easily deployable from a standard window.
Having electronic systems in place will only help when there is a fire. Preventing the fire all together is dependent on the systems you put in place in order to safely and effectively mitigate this risk. The first step to this is identifying your fire hazards; include every employee in this exercise in order to fully exhaust your hazards. Once this is done you can come up with safety measures to mitigate all the hazards.
Fire is fast and deadly; consider taking a few employees for fire fighting courses with the fire brigade.