Ever been embarrassed in front of your boss when an incident happens and your systems didn’t work as they were supposed to?
The fact of the matter is that these embarrassments can now be completely avoided with the selection of the right technology and the right service vendor to back them up. In the old days, one could consider an old fashioned time and materials approach to servicing systems and take your lumps as things broke. Why fight with procurement to secure an annual service contracts and save the money for a rainy day?
When it rains, take cover, it’s not going to be procurement’s fault.
When looking at this issue with mission critical components and software to protect your business, the questions that need answers are:
- What kind of loss is incurred when it’s not working?
- How does it affect our employees when it is not working?
- Can our business run properly when it is not working?
- Can I put together a plan to make sure it never breaks?
- Can I get things fixed before they break eliminating unneeded downtime?
- Could I lose my job if systems were down without me knowing it?
Security and Loss Prevention professionals do their best when they can identify and communicate answers to these questions to their company so they do not put their company or their career at any unnecessary risk. Usually it involves having a combination of people, technology and trusted vendors tasked to manage their access, alarm and video infrastructure to make sure all is working as required.
HOW are the pros doing it today?
Service Contracts with today’s technologies actually cost you less money and eliminate the possibility of embarrassment. Enterprise grade network connected systems today can give you all the information you need to know what is working, what isn’t, and what is soon to break. The best service vendors out there can also monitor and respond to these alerts immediately, dispatching trucks with the “parts and smarts” to remedy situations on the first call and within hours. You get monthly reports of what was fixed, and how quickly, without having to get your staff involved managing repeat trips.
The nice thing about annual contracts is that you are shifting 100% of the risk of multiple trips, parts, overtime, etc… to your service vendor in exchange for an annual fee to do so. With the added requirements of response time and time for resolution defined, you can easily manage a vendor to deliver exactly what you are paying for. At the same time this gives your vendor the money necessary up front to make sure their staff is trained on the products they are supporting, and they have parts inventoried where needed to make sure they can deliver at least a 90% first time fix rate.
Time and Material Contracts actually cost more. Negotiating rates and parts costs upfront is nice so that as invoices come in there are no surprises. Also deciding what will be fixed and what will be replaced also helps control the chaos. The biggest challenge on managing time and material contracts is that there is no incentive for the vendor to ever fix anything on the first trip or to stock any parts inventory since they have no money up front to do so. Repeat trips happen more frequently because they get to charge you for them. Also beware of low service rates; cheap labor is almost always untrained labor and that will lead to multiple trips. If you are interested in maximizing up-time, the best solution is a maintenance contract with a service level agreement.
Protecting your reputation….
You spend so much time in your business doing everything you can to deter, detect or catch those that are doing your company wrong. Having an electronic infrastructure of tools (video, alarms and access controls) in place to help do that job is essential in today’s working environment. If tools are not working when you need them to, the word spreads like wildfire inside and outside of your organization. To make sure your future is secure, you need trusted partners that have your best interest in mind at all times.