Mobilizing the Force
A Services Group (ASG) provides clients with everything from risk assessment and security systems installation to industrial cleaning and security guard services.
The industries it serves include hospitals, manufacturing, retail locations, and warehouses.
A smaller company, with about 1,300 security personnel, ASG is often tasked with large requests from its customers, and it relies on technology to help accomplish its goals.
"Clients will often ask us to take on projects that really fall outside our scope and area of operation," says Gene Enlow, vice president of ASG. "We find it hard to do those if we have to fully mobilize with an area manager and an office."
Rather than hiring a large security presence in each client location, ASG has been managing its security staff with guard tour management services for many years. But the technologies it used in the past did not stand up to the weather the checkpoints were exposed to, and went up in price over time.
"There have been systems around for years, and we've used several. The problem usually ends up being durability or cost," Enlow says.
About a year ago, ASG developed a relationship with Mobotour, a guard touring service based on smartphone technology.
Mobotour allows the customer to set up simple checkpoints anywhere throughout the client site. These check-ins show that guards were present at a certain place, at a specific time and date. Mobotour's app, downloadable from any app store, is accessed through the guard's smartphone.
"With Mobotour, it's so simple. It's a piece of equipment that you're going to use anyway," Enlow says. "You're not adding all these other electronic tools—none of the bulky expensive equipment that tends to break down and fail."
From an administrative portal, the customer tailors the application to fit the needs of its guard force. Mobotour sends stickers to ASG for placement around customer sites. These stickers, which are slightly bigger than a postage stamp, are weatherproof and have a QR code. Each code can be named in the portal to indicate where it's placed, such as "front gate" or "loading dock."
"We literally peel it off and stick it to the surface in the area we want to make sure we've inspected," Enlow notes. "They're weatherproof, they can be out in the elements, that doesn't seem to bother them, and they're unobtrusive."
The stickers are placed at various points throughout the customer site. When the guard on patrol scans the code, the app logs the time, date, guard, and location in a report log for that client site.
"When Mobotour generates the report, we can see that whoever was onsite—regardless of whether we had a manager or supervisor there—has actually gone to these locations and made scans," Enlow explains. "They were there, and they were there at a specific time."
The app also has an incident reporting feature that allows the guard to attach media, such as a photo or video, from anything out of the ordinary or pertinent that they encounter.
"We patrol some truck storage yards where product is stored on trailers. When our guards come across a trailer that's unsealed or a door that's open, they'll attach a photo," Enlow notes. "It could be tree limbs or fallen trees, downed power lines, or it could be where they find doors or windows that are forced open."
When the clients receive the photograph or video via email, they can follow up with ASG directly. All the incidents are documented and included in the daily report. Enlow adds that the checkpoints can be moved around easily. "We can put it wherever we want it and have it running very quickly."
The client has the option of retaining the reports and the data transmitted through Mobotour indefinitely.
ASG trains the guards on Mobotour, but Enlow says the technology comes naturally to the force, given their understanding of smartphones.
"It's just a matter of letting them know, 'this is what you do with the phone, these are the points the customer wants scanned,'" he says. "It's a matter of point and shoot."
About 400 guards from ASG currently use the app. Enlow adds that the price was a major factor in choosing Mobotour.
"With my buying power, a smartphone probably costs me $40 to $50 a month. And then the cost of the Mobotour scan points and their service is so cost-effective," he says. "It's really the most cost-effective product I've put in the field yet."
Given the product's scalability, ASG may use Mobotour to manage its other services as well. "We're trying to explore ways that we can use that product in some of our other places, like janitorial," he notes.
Enlow adds that Mobotour has provided excellent customer service along the way, and the company's chief growth officer sat down with ASG to tailor the app to its specific needs.
"Their service is great," Enlow says. "You call them and they're on top of it within a matter of minutes, trying to get things done for you."
Recently, Enlow was on the phone with a potential client that runs a hospitality property. The property owner was concerned about ensuring that its facilities were secure, given the attacks on hotel and entertainment venues in recent years. Enlow was confident iterating that Mobotour provides the level of accountability the owner was looking for.
"Mobotour makes us look better to the client, and it is a major selling point," Enlow says. "We tell the client, 'We can document what our guards do in simple terms, we can make the documentation available to you, and you really don't have to jump through any hoops to do it.'"
For more information: Jon Mitchell, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.mobotour.com, 404.273.7631