In our business, we talk to a lot of buyers of security. What has been particularly interesting to see unfold, is how new conversations about the way security services are delivered are taking place.
This is important because when someone sets up a contract with us they are buying a service from a team of experts with over 100 years of operational experience. Experience gained from security delivered in some of the most ferocious war zones of the 21st century, including Iraq and Afghanistan. John Johnson, our VP of Operations, is a decorated war vet who headed up the operations of 650 canine teams for the US military. He sat down with Taliban warlords and negotiated his way through delicate cultural exchanges. Which means, when we’re helping you put your security plan together it’s going to have the best minds on the job.
No one client should ever have a carbon copy security plan of another client’s business. Security plans are built from risk assessments (we hear threat assessment used in the US but for civilian sites we prefer “risk assessment”).
We understand that buyers of security have to walk the line in controlling costs but also managing the risks that their business may encounter. Therefore, we start every new potential assignment, even before we have signed a contract, with a visit to site and a checklist for a security risk assessment. We invite comment from all the stakeholders, including the management team, and then workers or residents and visitors to the site to gauge their view of the security risk. We send our team to site, or we can view it online and by satellite. This is not the ideal, but it can give us enough insight to start the risk assessment process.
What we want to achieve for our clients is a risk assessment, and then security plan which anticipates all the risks which may impact a site, and then have a plan to eliminate, or at least reduce, those risks. We do this by mixing human, K9 and technological resources to create a security plan which is appropriate to the situation, well planned, cost effective and easy to understand!
So, if you are in the driving seat of finding and hiring a security company here are top tips for getting the best outcome:
Tip #1 | Define Your Requirement
If you are starting a scratch or if you already have a plan, we encourage you and your team to write down in bullet point form, your expectations of a security team and its operation. Keep it simple. If you know your business, then you will know the risks. However, complex your business you are working with the daily risks now so just put them in a list. Share them in your team and see if your old security plan has a list, or the same list. Build on the material you already have.
Once you have all the bullet points in place, you can work them into a proper specification for the security contract. But we encourage the use of the acronym “KISS” – Keep It Simple Stupid. Don’t overly complicate your requirements or try to put them into management speak. Your new security partner has to be able to follow your thought process, so everyone gets to be on the same page.
Tip #2 | Define Your Vendor Criteria
There are plenty of private security companies in the market, so a pre-qualification process is going to sort the “wheat from the chaff”. You may have material in place to send out as a pre-qual questionnaire, or a more formal bid process may be in place. We see all types and standards of documentation. If you are heading up the appointment of a security company, check when this process was last reviewed and updated. It may be time to change the way security vendors are chosen particularly if the current contract needs to be terminated.
Tip #3 | Negotiate to Achieve a Win Win Contract
To be successful a contract has to meet the needs of both sides and this applies to a contract for security services as much as any other type of commercial arrangements. Both sides need to understand the other’s position and anticipate how the contract will respond if the risks we discussed above actually occur.
For our part, we offer a standard form of security contract which is part of our Proposal/Quotation process. It is based on the ISO18788 which is the gold standard of security management. Usually clients accept this as the contract, but sometimes it goes to the legal department or compliance team in a client organisation for review, and occasionally it is annexed to the client’s own form of contract. We don’t offer a form of contract until we understand the security site and given our opinion on the risks that need to be addressed. Throughout this process we find our clients to be open to ideas, and improvements so that the end result if a contract that we all feel comfortable with.
Tip #4 | Delivering a Win Win Security Contract
There is a useful management saying – “What gets measured gets managed” and none is truer than how a security contract is delivered. Daily reports, patrol hours, punctual start of patrols, incident reports and categorization, anything and everything needed to demonstrate full and complete coverage of the security plan is possible. Technology plays a large part in shaping meaningful management information through devices carried by officers on patrol.
We ask our clients to think about what they need to manage us, and we then augment our resources to fit the needs of the client. Reports are digital and demonstrate adherence to post orders.
Tip #5 | Look at Tech and K9s To Support Your Security Plan
Security plans can deliver almost 360-degree vision of a site if using a combination of human, K9 and technology. All 3 elements create a plan which means the needs of a client, and which can be managed 24 x 7, if this is required. We use VWK9’s with their ability to follow certain smells in the human plume to detect nasties such as explosives or drugs. And we encourage clients to use CCTV monitoring and recording of the camera footage to monitor sites to definable standards.
Again, we don’t put forward items that are not necessary. One item we do find our client’s buying is “armed” security when in fact it’s just an additional cost. “Armed” security is a specialist area and all our senior managers will only advise it if there is a genuine risk that demands this level of security response. Often, we find clients have paid a premium for something that is not required.
The Win Win Security Partnership
Security can be a “win win” vendor partnership if buyer and vendor come together to create a security plan which is sensible, within budget, and measures expectations. When it comes to negotiating your next security contract, use one or more of these ideas to improve the outcome, and keep everyone in the plan safe and secure. We are willing to have no-obligation conversations with any client who wants to review their plans, introduce security, or just needs a backup team as a GO TO TEAM. Whatever your need, book a Discovery Call and have a chat. We look forward to talking to you.
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