13 reasons you need a Guard Tour System
A guard tour system is a system used to help companies and organisations to organise, log and execute guard tours and patrols in their assets ensuring that the officers will accomplish their tasks within the predefined time intervals. There is a wide variety of guard tour systems, which can be divided in two major categories: Wand guard tour systems based on handheld devices and cloud guard tour systems based on modern mobile and cloud technology.
Guard tour systems provide a means to check and record the time that a guard executes his guard tour by scanning specific checkpoints assigned on the area he patrols. Checkpoints are placed in certain points either on buildings or on other locations of a site or remote area and help the managing staff to identify each different location and each portion of a specific territory. The on-site officers can scan checkpoints, send SOS alerts, track and record events and conduct and send reports to the managing staff or the clients, even in real-time.
Which industries need a Guard Tour System
The implementation of a guard tour system will help companies to monitor their officers accurately in time and manage their assets more effectively, upgrading their security services. So, many different industries can take advantage of the use of a guard tour system:
- Security companies, to monitor officers / Lone Workers, manage guard tours and conduct reports.
- Educational Institutes, to increase the safety of their students
- Real Estate organisations, to manage their buildings and protect them from damage
- Public transportation services, to direct activities and manage daily incidents
- Finance Institutes, to be safe from external threats
- Warehouse departments, to assure the security status of their merchandise
- Manufacturing facilities, to protect from damages and record incidents in every aspect of manufacture process
- Cleaning and maintenance services, to manage their installations and workers
Why use a Guard Tour System
Imagine an officer conducting his daily guard tours by carrying a paper notebook and using it every time he passes from a specific checkpoint. He will have to write down any incident, describe the difficulties he may come up with or make any recommendations to improve the safety status of the patrolled region. Maybe there will be also an incident booklet that he should mark during his guard tour or fill in a paper form and spend some time recording what he just executed. If all officers follow the same procedure, a ton of paper should be used, many different notebooks should be examined by the managing staff and extra workload would be added in order to evaluate or combine information from all the different sources.
Too much work and too much paper load?
Guard tour software make things simple. No need for personal notebooks, no need to keep data in paper format. The officers send the reports by a simple tap of buttons on a smartphone or a rugged device and the monitoring centre receives information automatically. All they have to do is to scan some checkpoints and use a simple interface to describe all of their activity. They could also program their activities and guard tours and manage all of their work via a mobile device. No need to sign in booklets and describe events, no need to carry on booklets from the managed territories to the monitoring centre in order to be examined and get it back again. Simplicity is the core of any daily work and guard tour software eliminates paper load and reduces worktime, letting companies and officers focus on more significant aspects of their work.
Our daily life is deluged by data and numbers. We need data and information to evaluate processes, take decisions, visualise problems and suggest solutions. No company or organisation could survive today without gathering and analysing data and utilising it to afford solutions and manage workflow.
Getting back to security guard industry and taking into consideration guard tours executed without a guard tour system (either wand or cloud based), we have to deal with a major problem:
How to eliminate paper load?
It is impossible to keep thorough recordings of any work process without using computer based system which automates procedures and eliminates paperwork. Even if there are strict guidelines in the delivery and conduct of reports and other necessary documents, there is no a reliable way to track and manage the whole procedure without losing information or valuable time. Certain doubts could arise in any stage of the patrolling process, such as:
- Which was the exact time a guard executed the guard tour?
- How many checkpoints were missed and for which reason?
- Are there any missed inspections that are not mentioned on the paper reports?
- Which are the exact time intervals a security officer accomplished the checkpoints scans?
- Are the reports delivered in the predefined time?
- How will a scheduled guard tour will be supervised without reliability issues arise?
- How easy would it be to search for guard tours and patrols executed six months ago?
- What if there is a device (e.g. hard drives, USB sticks) damage or archive loss?
All of the above provoke trouble. It is obvious that there cannot be a trace of accountability. Even if there is some, the data acquired is totally non- reliable, and you need so much time to index, record, log and search for documents and reports.
Use a Guard Tour System
Accountability is the second key reason you need a guard tour system. All of your data can be stored in secure databases and retrieved at any time and from any location (in case of a cloud based guard tour system). You can track activities, organise schedules and create digital footprints of your officers in order to validate that guard tours are executed properly in time. Turning into a guard tour software configuration for your daily needs, you will add value to your work. Accountability and documentation will also make your life more simple, eliminating time consuming and complicated tasks.
Enhancing all your guard tours with an up to date guard tour software should be in your immediate concerns. Stop wasting your time with pen and paper, unreliable information and complex processes. Guard tour systems are easy enough to use and offer simple documentation and largescale accountability.
Until now, the guard should make a tour on the territory equipped with all appropriate items, such as a torch, notebook, pen, etc. He should pass from the specific point, examine the area, record his notes in the paper or maybe take some photos with a camera. At the end of the day and after having executed his guard tour schedule, he should send his notes to the office or get back to the office and leave his notes to be examined by the managing staff. The staff should then review all different notes from all guards and combine all information in order to get a detailed status of the patrolled territories and buildings during the day.
How a Security Guard Tour System helps to handle this situation?
Using a modern guard tour system (especially a cloud based one), officers daily life is much easier. They only use a mobile application and via their smartphone and some simple touches on the screen, they can scan checkpoints, send immediate alerts and SOS messages, send images and sound recordings and add their signatures to their real-time reports. On the other hand, the monitoring centre will no longer wait for their paper reports and will get real-time notifications for their position and activities. Additionally, reports can be configured to be sent in real-time to clients and site owners, upgrading company’s status towards others and adding more reliability to their job. In other words, less worktime, much more automation and efficiency.
4. History Log
A guard tour system will help you get proper historical data for all patrols executed in specific time intervals. Any guard tour is recorded and all details are available in secure databases. The officers managing the procedure in the office will not retain data in archives and folders any more but will be now able to conduct a simple search on their computer and find any information regarding guard tours, patrolled time intervals, images and sound recordings attached to patrols, guards’ signatures and digital notes. The ability to track historical data is vital to control budget and extinguish ambiguity issues deriving about guards’ reliability and past patrol tours duration.
A guard tour monitoring system holds historical data for any executed guard tour. All information regarding a specific patrol is recorded and reported at time of the location inspection. Real time precise data provide no-doubt information about any aspect of a guard tour regarding incidents and guards’ activities.
Let suppose that you assign your officers specific guard tours and schedule their daily tours. How could you assure that all of them perform their patrols and how could you guarantee your officers performance towards your clients?
Dissipate any doubt regarding patrols
To get maximum value for the security officer, it is essential to confirm that he accomplishes his guard tours following a well-established procedure. During the patrols, security officers may work totally alone and with very little or in some cases (e.g. Lone Workers) not supervision at all. Sometimes, they may want to remain at their posts and don’t patrol according to the predefined time schedule. It may be particularly tempting in case of bad weather conditions which means executing guard tours under rain, cold or snow. And even if they execute patrols, there may be certain parts of the tour that are difficult to access and invoke them a tendency to skip their check for another day/time.
Monitor Guard Tours
A guard tour system delivers a simple note to your guards: You care about how patrols are being carried out. This can lead to considerably better performance, improved professionalism and remarkable attitude and from their part. The installation and configuration of a guard tour system will normally confirm that some officers are under performing their guard tours and will help distinguish the reliable guards that will support the effort to improve safety status and upgrade security services provided.
A guard tour system will overcome this problem as it is designed to record officers’ activities and verify that they cover all portions of their guard tours.
6. Data analysis
Your data is important
In case of a unique area to be monitored, data analysis may not be vital for a company’s success and sustainability, but what if a large amount of buildings and territories should be managed and properly patrolled?
Gather and analyse
Guard tour systems offer a way to gather, analyse and edit a large amount of invaluable information about the protected areas and the guard tours executed within them. In most cases, data can be exported and used for further process and analysis, helping companies and organisations to understand the core malfunctions of their daily operations and find ways to cut them down. Acquiring data about guards’ activities, scanned or missed checkpoints, time intervals between patrols and territories that are many times in “alert” safety mode, companies can change their patrolling policy and focus on solving specific problems occurring during guard tours or reinforce safety status of certain areas and buildings.
Report and succeed
The majority of guard tour systems today allows the remote monitoring of data gathered in guard tours or even real-time notifications and data acquisition. The data include reports filtered by client, guard tour, time, location etc. or by a specific date range.
7. Schedule properly
In case you plan your strategy regarding guard tour schedules, you should initially answer the following questions:
- Who officer will be responsible for each security zone?
- Will officers be responsible for specific areas or guard tours will be random and each one will change daily his tour?
- Which method will be used to track problems and safety issues?
- How will you be sure about your officers’ activities and the exact time of their patrols?
- How will you track their location and which tasks have been adequately accomplished?
- When each guard tour will be executed and how often?
- Will officers comply to a predefined schedule or will they tour at their own will?
The most of the above questions cannot be replied in case there is not a comprehensive automated system to structure a plan and specific schedules for each guard. Guard tour systems offer a consistent solution integrating technology and allowing people who manage guard tours to form a complete schedule program for their company.
8. GPS monitoring
GPS is the first to think when you need to track and ensure position. And it is a vital part of any guard tour in order to not only assure that your officers are on their way but also to protect them and increase the level of their own safety.
The ability to manage remotely your guards and ensure that they are actually patrolling and are protected is the core of any up-to-date guard tour software. And it cannot be an omission in your guard tour monitoring plan. Integrating your guard tours with officers’ GPS location means enhanced reliability for you and your customers, increased efficiency and improved safety level.
9. Real-time tracking
One of the most challenging parameters in any software is to enable real-time actions for both administrators and users. Guard tour systems could not be an exception. The most attractive part of a smart guard tour system is to achieve territorial management and guard monitoring in real-time.
No use of Guard Tour Software?
Getting back to the past, it was inevitable to track guards’ activities or conduct patrolling reports in real-time. The officers recorded their activities in a booklet and were informing the centre either by sending fax, e-mails or going back to the office to inform about their notes.
Wand Guard Tour Systems
However, even up-to-date guard tour systems based on rugged devices (wand or rod systems) cannot bear real-time data delivery too. In this case, the officer has two options:
- He will record actions via the rugged device, which carries a flash stick and will send later the flash stick to the Monitoring centre so as to gather and evaluate the recorded data, or
- Someone will visit the site where the wand will be stored and will download the data to a storage device (e.g. flash stick). The next step is to unload the data from the flash stick to a computer for further process and reporting.
It’s easy enough to understand that in both cases someone should accomplish the above task almost daily, meaning extra costs in resources as well as data loss danger and need of a specific backup plan. In addition, absence of real time monitoring leads to missed patrols and emerges reliability issues regarding the accurate time officers execute their patrols and if they are within the scheduled time intervals defined by the managing staff.
Cloud Guard Tour Systems
Internet burst has fortunately changed the way patrols are conducted and dissolves ambiguity, launching guard tour systems based in real time data delivery and acquisition. A Wi-fi or GSM connection allows the instant transmission of incidents report and real-time updates of guards’ position, state and activities.
Clients can now see Lone Workers and guards via their mobile wherever they are and in real-time: in their store, outside their company, in their remote landscape. Reports can be conducted, analysed, edited and shared to everyone immediately. At the end of the day, efficiency is the key and a guard tour systems incorporating real-time functionality will help you to hold the key and unlock your own success story.
10. Budget Control
Resources are the core of any business. Investing on people and equipment is the initial priority to run a business in security guard tour field. But there are two opposite arguments to take into consideration.
Resources are necessary to execute Guard Tours but resources cost
It’s so simple. Guards and officers are your invaluable assets in order to accomplish guard tours, protect areas and monitor all territories in an efficient way. They have to be equipped with all the necessary items and devices to facilitate their daily work and improve their daily performance. But resources means cost. And all you have to do is to find ways to reduce your daily cost. You could think of the following common sources of extreme cost:
- Transportation costs during guard tours
- Equipment costs
- Additional inspections in order to check officers’ reliability
- Repetitive administrative tasks
- Too many time-consuming tasks
- Less time means more money
- Data acquisition and analysis
Get rid of time consuming tasks by investing in a guard tour systems
So, guard tour systems are obviously designed to reduce the above costs or even eliminate them. In simple words, a guard tour system will relieve from excessive transportation costs in order to check executed patrols or missed scans. It will reduce the amount of time spent to all daily repetitive managing tasks and will allow remote management of globally distributed locations. Officers managing the guard tours acquire now data via simple press of buttons on their computers and export reports rapidly and in real-time.
Every guard tour is verified without any additional cost and any equipment needed to execute it can be replaced by a smartphone. All of the above lead to much more available time to invest in development and services upgrade.
11. Manage remotely
One of the most significant parameters a guard tour system is designed for is to relieve security managers from the time-consuming procedure of assigning tasks and monitoring many different territories simultaneously. The security manager in the office is the person who will decide which guards will participate in a guard tour, who will patrol and when, where checkpoints should be located and whether they are properly scanned or finally missed. He plans guard tours to meet the security and safety requirements and assure constantly that none of the assets are in danger.
Especially for largescale security firms, it is a prerequisite to be able to manage many territories all over the world and without communication problems. A security manager working on his office in Boston should be able to monitor a guard tour in Seattle, check the position of a guard in Detroit and finally check all checkpoints scans of the subsidiary company’s guards, settled in London.
Guard tour systems, especially the cloud based ones, solve this problem by offering data interoperability and global management and communication.
12. Enhance Guard’s protection
Problem personnel can absolutely affect ability to attain productivity and efficiency. So, you should be able to monitor their actions and identify decent workers from those who create problems or cheat about guard tours and scanned checkpoints.
However, it is not only a matter of trust and reliability. A guard tour system is not a spy over an officers’ head and the concept behind guard tour monitoring software is not to be a big brother in daily work life of each guard. Instead, the use of a guard tour system can transmit a powerful message to the officers:
Guards are now more protected than ever before
Yes, that’s true. In case of a danger, the guard should act by himself. He did not have the time to inform the managing staff or maybe the dangerous situation could not allow him to take time to think. A guard tour system offers the unique capability to send an immediate SOS alert by simply pressing a button on his smartphone or rugged device. The staff can inform about the alert and drive other guards to the territory in real-time in order to face the threat. Moreover, officers in the office can send messages to the guard or get a clear view of the danger as the guard can record sound or attach images.
It is generally overlooked that a guard system protects officers and it is usual guards come up with it as the constant control on their daily life. But control means both supervision and prevention. The guard knows that now he is not alone in the territory. There is always someone willing to help him in a danger situation and someone he could address to in case of an occurring incident.
We have already mentioned some crucial weapons that a guard tour system bears and will help you battle against all security and safety issues arise in a daily basis.
GPS MONITORING | RELIABILITY | AUTOMATION | REMOTE MANAGEMENT | ACCOUNTABILITY
All of these compromise a highly effective strategy for any security company. As a result, the implementation of a security guard tour system will increase performance and efficiency ensuring high quality security profile and superb popularity.
You have already understand why do you need a guard tour system. Get a closer look by testing for free QR Patrol’s advanced online guard tour software: www.qrpatrol.com