How Integrated Technology Can Maximize Efficiency and Automation
Why security management software is worth the spend, part one.
In its July 2018 annual U.S. Contract Security white paper, Robert H. Perry & Associates, Inc. estimated the outsourced contract security industry in the U.S. to be worth $25.5 billion. That’s a four percent increase over previous estimates. And, while analysts expect steady growth over the next few years, security contractors still deal with high labor costs, wage creep and a narrow profitability margin of about four percent of revenue, according to IBIS World’s 2018 report on the industry. That means keeping a laser focus on labor and operating costs is critical. The businesses who can juggle these demands will have the most to gain. It’s no secret that technology can help. In fact, investing in holistic enterprise-level software with a proven track record can pay off quickly in increased efficiency and site-level profitability insight, enabling security companies to grow in fiercely competitive markets.
In part one of this article, we’re discussing how holistic software can maximize your security company’s efficiency and automation. Next week, learn how integrated technology can lead to increased growth and profitability.
Maximize efficiency and automation with one holistic system
According to the IBISWorld’s April 2018 Security Services in the U.S. report, efficient work practices are one of the key factors to success in the contract security industry. Eliminating redundant work and manual processes offer a one-two punch in maximizing operational efficiency. A holistic software platform can solve those challenges by connecting the financial, operations and workforce management components of the business in one system. It’s cheaper in the long run, too, with no need for multiple software packages, expensive integrations or custom interfaces.
The WinTeam ERP for security contractors includes financials, accounting, guard scheduling, time and attendance, human resources, payroll, compliance, business analytics and employee self-service features. Combined, they connect executive-level decision-making, back office functions and field-based operations.
“For us, the biggest advantage of using an integrated system has been the ease of use. There’s only one platform to use,” said Gail Tutt, controller at First Alarm Security & Patrol, a California-based firm with 1,600 employees. “It’s global, go-anywhere functionality.”
For Phelps Security, Inc., a 300-employee contract security firm operating in the Memphis, Tennessee, area, cumbersome manual processes and multiple subpar software systems sent the company on the hunt for a better solution. The company implemented TEAM Software’s solutions and cut nine days a month off payroll processing time. They now spend about a day per month processing bi-weekly payroll.
“Before our software did 10 percent of the work, and we put in 90 percent of the effort,” said Andy Phelps, business manager for the company. “Now, as long as we have it set up correctly, we can put in 10 percent of the effort and WinTeam will do 90 percent of the work. I don’t have to deal with file exports or cross-integration between systems anymore.”
Bogged down by clunky plug-ins and manual spreadsheet-driven processes, Paladin Security Group, Canada’s largest independent security provider, was also in the market for technology that could help accelerate the payroll and billing processes. The company needed the flexibility to keep up with and customize province-based pay requirements. In 2012, company leadership began evaluating software solutions that could rise to the challenge.
“Our main goal was improving efficiency on the billing and payroll side. We needed to find a way to mitigate errors and speed up that process,” said André Albert, Vice President of National Quality Standards and Support at Paladin, who was part of the team evaluating software providers. “What it comes down to is flexibility. Having everything integrated into one platform allowed us to break down pay requirements by province. We can set pay and overtime rules and billing by province to comply with legislation or by client to meet our contract obligations. We can even customize notifications based on branch or province.”
The benefits of integrated technology span the organization, so almost every department gains an efficiency advantage. Jaime Brosnan, Director of Marketing and Communications at Brosnan Risk Consultants, a security contracting firm based in New York, saw onboarding time for new employee paperwork decrease from 20 minutes to an average of three minutes per employee thanks to TEAM’s workforce management and employee and customer self-service components.
In part two, we share additional benefits of holistic enterprise-level software for security contractors.