Until now OfficerReports.com has done a good job of providing you with an easy way to monitor your security officers’ activity, collect and disseminate reports, and manage your security officers’ time and attendance. But now, we are embarking on a new phase in our software development. The new phase of the development is implementation of what we call Smart Features. Smart Features will allow the software to act like a magical 24-hour supervisor that doesn’t need to be paid, doesn’t sleep on the job, or call off from work on holidays. Like any good supervisor, the software will help to ensure that your officers are following your policies and procedures. The Smart Features will monitor your officers to ensure that they are arriving at work on time and once they are there, ensure that they are performing patrols, and/or are alert and safe.
I often get asked how I came to be involved with a security guard management software company, so I thought I would share my story with you. Well, I got my start in the security industry by starting a security guard company with my father back in the early 2000’s. But prior to working in the security guard industry I was a market researcher, which meant that I relied heavily on software, data, and technology when doing my job. So coming over to the security guard industry was a bit of a culture shock. I couldn’t believe how much paper was generated by security officers on a daily basis. What I discovered pretty quickly was that there were some definite drawbacks to relying on paper reports to communicate valuable information to customers or just manage a security guard company. Continue reading
Do you really need security guard management software? If you are a security guard company with more than 5 security officers, the answer is an unequivocal “YES”! But before I talk about why you need it, let me take a moment to define exactly what security guard management software is. Security guard management software is a suite of software products that allow security guard companies to better manage their officers and overall operations. That suite should at a minimum provide Electronic Reporting Software, Security Guard Tour Tracking Software, and Time and Attendance Software. The software should provide just about everything that you need to effectively operate a security guard company.
I can tell you from experience that receiving a 30-day notice from a customer canceling your contract is enough to ruin your day…sometimes your week. I am sure that’s how Tony Castillo Jr., owner of Castillo Private Patrol, felt when he received his. After providing security for his customer for 15 years, he lost the $1.2 million contract to G4S, all because of security guard software.
Over the past two years I’ve had the opportunity to talk with hundreds of security guard companies about how they service their clients. Many of those conversations start out with the company describing how attentive they are to their clients and/or how well-trained their officers are. Of course there is nothing wrong with either of those, but these conversations always lead me to ask “What are you doing to make your customer’s job easier?” Because as their security expert, your customers are looking for you to introduce them to innovations that make their jobs easier and their properties more secure. So how are you accomplishing that for your customers? If you aren’t, you could be setting yourself up for a 30-day cancellation letter too.
During your security officer’s shift, the officer is responsible for capturing a substantial amount of information via the many reports that the officer writes. Those reports include daily activity reports, incident reports, maintenance requests, truck logs, and a multitude of other reports. Some would argue that the most important of these reports is the officer’s daily activity report. The daily activity report is the most common of all security guard reports because one is completed by every officer, every shift. Because security officers act as the eyes and ears of the customer, it is critical that your officers provide your customers with relevant and valuable information. As such, it is important that every security officer knows how to write a daily activity report. Here are some tips that your officers can use to provide your customers with quality daily activity reports.
Owning a security guard company was one of the toughest educations that I have ever received. In fact, much of who I am and what I believe today was shaped by that decade of my life. Consequently, there are some very valuable business lessons that I learned during my time with Cequr Security that I will never forget. I will be sharing 1 of the most valuable ones with you in this article – how to leverage technology.
Prior to starting Cequr, I’d spent several years training clients and colleagues on how to use various software solutions to improve business results. So coming over to the security industry, which depended very little on technology, was a bit of a culture shock to say the least. In the beginning, like many small security companies, we were singularly focused on acquiring clients. But I quickly realized that without putting the proper technology into place we would not be very successful. So over the course of about a year we embarked on a journey to find, implement, and leverage technology for 2 purposes: drive sales and drive efficiency.
Do you wrestle with how to ensure that your officers are knowledgeable about their site’s post orders? If you are like many of the security guard vendors or managers that I have talked to, then you probably do. After a little thought and experimentation, I have outlined an easy way to get your officers tested…did I mention it’s all free? As more and more security guard vendors begin to distribute smart devices a their client sites, this is just another example of how those devices can be leveraged further.
Tools for Post Orders Testing
In order to facilitate your post orders testing you will need a couple of tools, most of which are free or are already at your disposal. In total there are 5 steps required to put this program into place. Altogether this process takes about 45 minutes and after you have done one site, you have created a template for additional sites.
1. Create A Post Orders Overview Presentation
Use any available presentation software to create an overview which your officers can use prior to taking the test. Any of the popular presentation software will suffice (i.e. Microsoft PowerPoint, Apple Keynote, Google Docs, etc.)
2. Screen Recording
After you have created the post orders overview presentation, you should then record the presentation for upload and viewing by your officers. In order to record the presentation for upload you will need some form of screencasting software. We use Screenflow for screen recording, but if you are running on Windows, Camtasia would be a comparable software choice. You can also try some of the free software that is available.
3. Upload The Video
After recording the post orders presentation you can upload the video to one of the many video viewing websites on the internet, such as YouTube or Vimeo. Whichever platform that you choose, it should have the ability to hide your videos so that they cannot be seen by the general public.
4. Test Administration
Now that you have created and uploaded your post orders presentation for viewing, next you will need to design a test and make it available for use by the officers. A great way to create and “administer” the post orders test is using one of the many web based survey solutions that are available. If your company is using Constant Contact that would be a great option. If not, I would suggest SurveyMonkey. The basic plan is free, and gives you enough features to get the job done. Once you have created the survey, place a link to the survey into the comment section of your video so that you officers can easily find it.
The last thing that you will need is a way to get the video and test to your officers. If you are using pass on/down log software like OfficerReports.com you can place a link in the pass on/down log where your officers can access it. If not, creating a password protected portal on your current website might be another option for you.
Although this solution is not as streamlined as you might like, it provides a relatively fast, free, and easy way for you to ensure that your officers know and understand their post orders. If you have questions about any of the tools or techniques discussed here, please feel free to contact us.
By Courtney Sparkman
We are happy to announce the introduction of version 3.0 of our software. We would like to thanks all of our clients for providing all the insights that we used to create our newest version. Your input was, is, and will always be invaluable!!! There are plenty of new features that we can’t wait for you to see, including:
Improved Security Guard Reporting App
- GPS verification of arrival at site
- Customizable Reports
- Upgraded Report Functionality
- Email Multiple Clients
- Individual Usernames and Password For Each Officer
- and More…
Improved Web Portal
- Streamlined Access
- More User Friendly
- Setup Multiple Users For Your Accounts
- Branded Reports
- Print and PDF Functionality
- and More…
NEW! Officer Tour Tracking
- Track Your Officers From The Same Device
- Real Time Tracking of Your Officers
- QR Code Functionality
- Available On Android Devices
- GPS verifications
- User determined customizations
- Multi-user assignments
- Branded reporting
- Print and .pdf functionality
- Real time officer tour tracking (additional cost)
- and more
To schedule a demonstration please contact us!
Although many people consider checklists to be both dehumanizing and mundane, I believe they should play a prominent role in both your post orders and your emergency control procedures. Many people value the benefits of having checklists in their personal lives, but very few implement them in their business lives.
The Importance of Checklists
Let me start off by saying that checklists can save lives. For proof I offer you a case study on Dr. Peter Pronovost. Dr. Pronovost created the grand daddy of all checklists for the John Hopkins University School of Medicine. While working at the hospital, Dr. Pronovost had become frustrated with the infections that many of the patients were developing from their intravenous (IV) lines. As a result of that frustration, Dr. Pronovost created a simple 5 step checklist. The checklist gave very straight forward advice to the hospital staff: Wash your hands before inserting an IV, the patient’s skin should be cleaned prior to the IV being inserted, etc., etc. As you can see, the list was nothing revolutionary. But the results on the other hand, were very surprising. 18 months after instituting the checklists IV infections were virtually eliminated which saved the hospital nearly $175 million…not to mention the 1,500 lives that were saved. I repeat “Checklists can save lives!” Now that we have established the viability of checklists in the workplace, let’s consider how to implement them at your company.
Checklists and Your Post Orders
As we all know, post orders are critical to your security officers’ success at your clients’ facilities. It is generally accepted that post orders should be as concise as possible, be simply written, and written at the lowest readability possible. Because the time that it takes to read instructions is directly related to the ability to comprehend, the longer is takes to read the post orders the more likely they won’t be understood or remembered.
So rather than putting together a 100-page post order manual that no one will read or understand, write your post orders as simple checklists. Plainly outline, the who, what, when, where, why, and how for each officer for each shift. A more complete and detailed copy of the post orders can be retained by supervisory personnel if necessary.
Checklists and Emergency & Incident Management
Although post orders are important for your officers’ success, your emergency control procedures are critical in ensuring your officers’ and clients’ safety, health, and well-being. Let’s consider the typical makeup of a security manual’s emergency control procedures:
- On-site organization
- Security and safety interface plan
- Natural disasters
- Bomb threats
- Civil or internal disorders
- Labor disputes and disturbances
- Evacuation plans and actions
Imagine how complex the instructions for any of these sections can be. Then imagine trying to read or remember any of them during an actual incident. In fact, there was a story in the news recently about a security officer that left his post at an airport during a fire alarm because he didn’t know what to do. Although there is a good chance that he was trained to respond to such emergencies, providing him with an easily referenced checklist would have been ideal. This line of thinking is also the reason that we developed the Incident Checklist feature for our Security Guard Reporting App.
Whatever your security guard company considers important, put it in a checklist. But more importantly, creating checklists for your post orders and incident procedures will save time, brain power, and maybe even a life.
By Courtney Sparkman