All of us are looking for ways to enhance our business both from an internal productivity approach as well as from a marketing approach. Historically, in the world of contract security there has been very little technological advancement that would provide a competitive edge or allow a company to work smarter via advanced technology. When technology does emerge that can assist our business, we often look at it in a very suspicious manner and/or “jump on the bandwagon” too late to take full advantage, or only after most of our competition has done so and we are forced to make the adjustment to stay competitive. Don’t let that happen to you with the latest and greatest technology that the contract security profession has seen in a number of years—that is GPS services.
The basic concept of GPS or “global positioning systems” is a satellite navigational system that has been around for a number of years. We are all familiar with it in its application as a widely used navigational aid and a useful tool for map-making, land surveying, commerce and scientific uses. GPS also provides a precise-time reference used in many applications including scientific study of earthquakes and the synchronization of telecommunications networks. Many late-model vehicles are equipped with navigational aids (On Star as an example) or you can purchase after-market units, such as a Garmin or TomTom. Either way, many of us, particularly in sales, utilize the technology on a daily basis from everything to quick directions to a prospect’s business or where to find the nearest service station or restaurant. In the early days, GPS systems were placed discreetly on company vehicles to track the route a driver takes on their delivery route and, quite frankly, were far more utilized as a tool to uncover suspected dishonesty among employees as opposed to gaining a technological edge.
The fact is, GPS technology has progressed rapidly from the early days and businesses can utilize the technology in a myriad of applications. As an example, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is urging trucking companies to explore the use of GPS technology to boost vehicle security. Many trucking fleet executives believe that GPS tracking will soon become mandatory on all tractors and trailers hauling food, hazardous materials and other sensitive cargo that can be an immediate threat if the load ends up in the wrong hands.
How does all this apply to security and building service contractors? What is more important today than knowing that your on-site personnel are on the job, making their appointed rounds and working safely? GPS technology can be installed in your company vehicles. It can, in real time, monitor vehicle speed, the actual location and direction of the vehicle, any stops made along the way as well as how much time was spent on those stops. It can even monitor and report needed service issues such as oil changes, etc. The system can also be designed to put up an ‘invisible or geo fence” that would alert you when the vehicle left a designated area it was not to stray from. According to representatives from Sprint/Nextel, a sponsor of BSCAI, technology exists to transfer check-in and check-out times via an employee’s cell phone, leaving little to chance or misinterpretations by either the company or the employee. GPS-equipped cell phones can verify that an employee is where they are supposed to be and when they are required to be there. What better way to know that your supervisor made their appointed rounds as required and proof positive that you could display to a client that your employees are performing their tasks and assignments as designed. We know of a security patrol company with several vehicles that uses the technology to verify and record each building patrol and actually uses the information to aid in their billing, eliminating mounds of paperwork. Even knowing how long the vehicle was left unnecessarily idling and wasting valuable fuel can save companies hundreds of dollars a month.
Technology not only will track employee movement, but can be installed in computers and other high-volume items that will assist in the recovery of those items if lost or stolen. We have all paid claims over the years. My Dell laptop, for example, is equipped with software that will track its location if it ever comes up missing. So, as you can see, the possibilities and applications are endless as it relates to GPS technology. In a real-life testimonial, one BSCAI security contractor said, “I know it paid for itself already in that we had a squad car stolen from a remote lot and we were able to just go and pick it up off the street before the police even went to check it out.”
While the technology is endless, don’t miss the opportunity to use any technology like GPS that you may purchase as a marketing tool. All cutting-edge technology like GPS, sophisticated scheduling payroll and billing software should be touted by your company in all your marketing material including your website, brochures and, most importantly, on your sales calls. I see this as to what I commonly refer to as a “unique selling proposition”—setting you apart from your competition with the ability of offering clients and prospects real-time information and reports that they may not be able to obtain from your competitors. So, for all of you who have adapted to the world of new technology, go out and “tell it on the mountain.” For those of you who are still leery or not wanting to invest in such technology, be prepared to watch your competition speed by you in the future. Whether we like it or not, we are a world based on technology and the current and future leaders of our customers' companies will demand that their suppliers offer them the most sophisticated and technologically advanced concepts available.
Gary H. Kuty is a senior consultant and CEO of Kuty & Associates in Dayton, OH. He can be reached at gary@ kutyassociates.com
“GPS technology has progressed rapidly from the early days and businesses can utilize the technology in a myriad of applications”.