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Systematic steps for system success.

SYSTEMATIC STEPS FOR SYSTEM SUCCESS

SECURITY TECHNOLOGY TODAY IS advancing so rapidly, security directors can't be experts in everything. To upgrade or install a new security system, most turn to consultants, manufacturers, distributors, or a combination.

Many companies interview three to five suppliers and choose the one that comes closest to meeting their security needs. However, if a company does not know what its security needs are, how will it know when a vendor's proposal meets them?

As a result of my experience in designing security systems, I have developed a procedure I follow and ask potential clients to follow before I submit a proposal. This procedure can help any security director ensure that the security system a manufacturer or distributor proposes will fit his or her company's security requirements.

When the company president agrees that a new or upgraded security system needs to be installed, the security director must get an idea of what is needed before any plans are put into action. The security director should meet with company executives and any department heads who will be affected by the change. If the new system involves other locations or buildings, these areas should also be discussed.

At this stage, a mere security wish list is being developed. But a positive side effect of involving the executives and department heads is that the final approval process should go more smoothly.

Once the necessary information is obtained, the security director can formulate a design for the security system. Different departments' needs are often similar. Based on those similarities, the security director can get an idea of the type of system needed.

Some departments may have special requests. These specialized needs help the security director narrow down the list of manufacturers. All systems have the same basic hardware and software, but each manufacturer has its own special twist or added benefit. It is up to the security director to match the company's security needs with a manufacturer.

Physical layout plays an important part in the final design. The layout includes the walls, the ceilings, and most importantly, the doors. A security director can install the most advanced integrated electronic security system, but without the proper doors and related hardware, the system is worthless.

A physical survey involves checking doors and related hardware, alarm devices (such as door contacts and motion detectors), CCTV equipment, and cable. The location and type of equipment should be checked as well as whether any equipment needs to be replaced. The cable type (shielded or non-shielded), number of conductors, and gauge size should be checked. Each manufacturer has specific wiring requirements. A total rewiring can take a big bite out of a security director's budget.

Once the physical survey has been completed, the security director should make some drawings that note the location of existing hardware. The drawings should also note all new devices and those that need replacement. These drawings should show current cable runs, including risers and electrical closets.

AT THIS POINT, THE SECURITY DIrector has a security design with input from the company and a record of all devices needing replacement. Now it is time for him or her to review the entire security package and develop a budget.

Budgets can be developed in several ways. They include sending an RFQ - request request for quotation - to vendors who fit company requirements, using inhouse catalogs, or calling suppliers for price information. The latter two methods save time but provide only a general idea of how much the system will cost. Most likely, the final security design will cost more than budgeted.

An RFQ is more time-consuming. This method involves sending company security specifications to manufacturers, distributors, and dealers that appear to be able to satisfy the business's security design. The security director should specify this inquiry is an RFQ.

The security director should request that RFQs be returned in 60 working days, which is ample time. Once RFQs are received, the security director will have a better handle on costs and which vendors will best meet the company's needs.

The security director should set a date and time to meet with the vendors. At this meeting, the drawings showing the devices should be provided to the vendors. In addition, a tour of the company's facility, detailing device locations, should be conducted.

The next step is for the security director to review the entire security package with the decision makers since the budget needs to be approved. If executives think the costs are too high, the security director has several alternatives.

One solution is to downsize the project to meet the budget. Another option is to spread the installation over time. A third possibility is to lease the equipment.

Once the budget is approved, the security design needs to be approved. With the security design in hand and a list of possible vendors, the decision makers can see that many of their wishes will be met.

With an approved budget and design, the security director can now turn to those vendors who participated in the RFQ, or different vendors if needed, with confidence that a new or updated security system will be installed. The updated security proposal together with the updated drawings is sent to vendors fitting a company's needs.

The security director's overall criteria for vendor selection should not stand on hardware alone. Installation and service are also important. Vendor selection needs to be based on the scope of the security system. Certain security companies specialize in national companies or large integrated security systems. Other security companies specialize in smaller systems and emphasize the local region.

A few nationally known manufacturers have regional service offices. Each has benefits and drawbacks. The security director must choose the installing company that fits his or her company's personality. A national company with a local office might look the part of a regional company as it is locked into company policy from its corporate office. A visit to the installing company's office will give a security director a better indication of what to expect in service and installation.

The security director should request a list of other companies that have similiar systems already in place. This list should be current, dating back no more than three years.

A vendor's list of satisfied customers is often limited. Few give a complete customer list. Yet, a company's reputation for service can either make the security director a hero or cost the director his or her job. Before the job is awarded, service expectations should be detailed on paper.

The security director should read the service contract carefully before deciding on a vendor because the contract might not meet the company's needs. In that case, it should be amended.

If a security director follows the preceding steps and carefully plans the security system before meeting with the vendor, his or her company will gain an effective security system.

About the Author . . . Scott B. Matty is an account manager for Mosler in Maspeth, NY.
COPYRIGHT 1989 American Society for Industrial Security
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:choosing a security system to meet your requirements
Author:Matty, Scott B.
Publication:Security Management
Date:Dec 1, 1989
Words:1161
Previous Article:Teeing off with security.
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