Brian Sims

Insights: The SmartTask Blog for Security Matters (Part 5)

MANUAL PROCESSES such as using spreadsheets to design run sheets, passing paper run sheets to drivers and crossing off the jobs by hand as they are completed in the Control Room could be costing security companies dear. Using technology to streamline these tasks can save hours each week in administration time, enabling firms to provide a better service to customers and keep staff happy. Here, Paul Ridden explains how local and regional security businesses can make clever use of technology to improve many aspects of their operations.

There are countless examples in the sporting world about the power of marginal gains. Saving one or two per cent doesn’t sound much, but when you make those gains across several different areas, you are soon into improvements of double digits (10% plus) and that makes a positive difference to any business.

Saving time with run sheets

An obvious example of this is automating run sheets, making them easy to replicate each day and each week and then to make changes on the fly. This alone could be saving hours each week, but the benefits are so much more than just time savings for the Control Room (although that in itself is worthwhile).  

Example marginal gain: An hour per day per person on a 40-hour week is a saving of 12.5%

Saving time for officers

Once run sheets are generated digitally, they can be sent to officers in the field digitally as well. There are now apps that can be installed on most smart phones (iOS and Android) so that, when an officer starts work, they receive their run sheet automatically. They can also receive any assignment instructions or other special instructions at the same time.

Using an app, they can tick-off jobs as they go, taking photos if required and attaching them to the log for the job. As jobs are completed, the Control Room can see exactly what’s happening on the ground. The Control Room can also be alerted of any missed check-in calls, helping with Duty of Care responsibilities. This makes life a lot smoother for officers, as well as for the Control Room.

Example marginal gain: One extra activity per day, because officers spend less time on administration or travelling to the office to collect/drop off paperwork

Streamline alarm responses

Visibility of operations on the ground in real-time enables Control Rooms to streamline alarm responses. When an alarm call comes in, the controllers can see where all of the officers are located and are then able to organise a response much more efficiently.

Directions and assignment instructions can be sent to the smart phones of officers required to attend. After the alarm response has been dealt with, it’s much easier to provide the customer with full details of all services provided.

Example marginal gain: Officers are on site quicker, providing a more effective service for the customer, and the officers can then resume their patrols and other activities

Proving BS7984-3:2020 compliance

Managing key holding and alarm response contracts more efficiently enables businesses to prove compliance with BS 7984-3:2020. Paper-based systems can be used to track where keys are held and who has had access to them and when, but this system is somewhat prone to error and takes a lot longer than using software designed for the purpose.

Example marginal gain: Much easier and quicker to prove compliance in tandem with faster, less stressful Security Industry Authority audits

Invoice for all services provided

With a digital system, the Accounts Department is not reliant on paper time sheets that can be difficult to read, leading to mistakes when rekeying or simply lost. Software provides an easily accessible and complete audit trail of what services were provided for each alarm response, in turn ensuring that nothing is forgotten. Businesses can therefore invoice for all services provided.

Example marginal gain: How much would one invoice for an extra call-out per day add to the bottom line?

Improve customer service

Automating systems not only saves time in many areas of the business, but it also enables firms to focus on providing a better service to customers. As well as more detailed customer information, they benefit from a faster and more efficient service, which in turn helps the business to attract and retain more customers. Providing good technology to staff is also a great way in which to attract and retain the best talent.

Example marginal gain: Gaining one extra customer due to a strong reputation for excellent customer service

When you add up all of the improvements to be made from harnessing technology for your staff, your customers and for the business, there’s a very compelling case to be made for marginal gains.

By way of a Case Study, read about how City Security Services has adopted workforce management software to better manage and safeguard its team of 650 officers that handle a wide range of static, mobile, reception and ‘fire watch’ services at over 100 sites across London and the home counties:

Paul Ridden is CEO of SmartTask (

Paul Ridden has spent most of his working life in the computer industry. For the last decade, he has focused on software solutions for the security, cleaning, FM and logistics sectors. One key element of Paul’s role as CEO is to use his passion and entrepreneurial approach to build a team that can develop and deliver affordable software solutions that take advantage of the very latest technologies and deliver value for all SmartTask end users

*For more information about professional business systems designed by UK-based SmartTask specifically for security sector businesses, visit the company’s website at or send an e-mail to

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