How to Evaluate a Guard Tour System
The key things to look for to increase visibility into your security workforce.
Do you know where your security guards are right now? Are you alerted to security issues and incidents in real-time? Are you able to provide your clients with reports that demonstrate they’re getting what they paid for?
A guard touring solution can answer these questions and provide a real-time view of your security operations across multiple sites. But before you decide to implement guard touring, you should carefully evaluate your options to understand whether the solution you’re considering is going to meet your business needs. Here’s some decision criteria that can help ensure you choose the best guard tour system for your company.
Arming your security workforce with mobile devices has the potential to drive huge efficiency gains and capture valuable data. Your guard touring solution should offer a mobile app that helps guards be more efficient and effective at their jobs. The app should have the ability to track location in the background (even if the app is closed) as well as present content, checklists and alerts relevant to the guard’s current location. The app should allow you to replace all paper-based forms and records guards use throughout their shift.
The mobile app should also leverage passive location technology such as Bluetooth beacons, replacing the need for active tracking through QR codes or RFID wands. This allows guards to focus on doing their jobs instead of scanning QR codes or tapping a wand against a checkpoint.
Mapping / location tracking capability
When you’re managing a large distributed workforce, having access to real-time maps showing guards’ location is critical. It can help you pinpoint where your guards are at any point in time and allow you to make better decisions relating to unscheduled jobs or issue resolution.
Mapping should also provide a historical view of guards so you can go back in time and see where your guards were. This is valuable data if you need to investigate a security-related incident where compliance evidence is needed. Heat maps can also add additional value, giving you a bird’s eye view of where your guards are spending most of their time.
Some systems also allow the tracking of assets that can be overlaid on a map. If the asset leaves a defined area, an alert can be sent to a guard or manager. This can be an additional benefit if your company is responsible for guarding or transporting high-value assets.
Real-time data and reports
We’re now living in an era of cloud computing where system data should be updated in real-time. Expect this from your guard tour system. If maps are delayed or you have to wait for report data to be updated, look for something built on the cloud and offers real-time data and reporting.
Exception reporting and alerts
Your guard touring solution should have the ability to trigger exception alerts to supervisors or managers for missed key performance indicators (KPI’s) or checks. For example, if a guard doesn’t show up for a shift or if a site doesn’t get checked as scheduled, a manager should be alerted in real-time. Exception alerts help you stay on top of service failures and enable you to quickly respond before your client notices them.
Business applications have long been neglected from a usability perspective. Clunky, complex and slow are often words used by end users when describing the business software they’re required to use as part of their job. Poor usability equates to poor user adoption so don’t overlook this factor when selecting a guard tour system. The mobile app should be intuitive to use and present information to the user at the right time and place. Managing the system should be a breeze and you should be able to get the workforce data you need quickly and easily.
Security companies typically spend a significant amount of time pulling together reports and data for their customers. A good guard touring solution can eliminate this by providing on-demand access and reporting to your customers. Let your clients access reports when they want them, saving you time and effort.
Onboarding / support
Implementing new technology within a business can be extremely challenging. Make sure the product you choose is supported by a comprehensive onboarding plan with training for key staff members. You should also have 24/7 access to support to help resolve issues and ensure you’re getting the most out of your guard tour system.
If you want to grow your security business, these are several of the key features you should consider when evaluating your guard touring options. Investing in a modern guard tour solution can lead your business to better performance, faster growth and less customer churn.
TEAM Software acquired Lighthouse, a mobile workforce management platform for service contractors with field-based teams. Lighthouse adds time- and money-saving capabilities that complement TEAM’s existing financial, operations and workforce management solutions to help view, manage and automate operations in the field. These capabilities include compliance tools, incident reporting, and guard touring.