The use of computer-aided dispatching software (CAD) in the security industry has brought about a host of advantages for service providers. Regardless of the type of venue being protected, the cost savings of a modem CAD system easily expands any security company’s performance abilities. By providing real-time data, historical information, and interoperability, CAD software combines mission effectiveness with fiscal efficiency.
CAD’s Use in Personnel Management
Ensuring appropriate workforce coverage can be a challenge for any organization. When the operational period is continuous, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the challenge increases. When added to the vital mission of providing security, personnel management becomes imperative. By utilizing the multifaceted CAD system, security supervisors can manage personnel scheduling and ensure proper coverage for all shifts and post assignments. This feature is also beneficial for security operations that are limited in scope and duration, such as concerts, speaking engagements, sporting events, college campuses, or other temporary assignments.
Perhaps one of the most financially advantageous aspects of CAD for security companies is evaluating call volume and providing staff accordingly. Of course, most security operation centers have a minimum staffing threshold and post assignment requirements. Still, the need for additional personnel can sometimes be little more than the hope of a good guess. Another of CAD’s benefits is its ability to quickly and accurately measure the details of calls for service. Measurements can include the time of day, day(s) of the week/month, and call type. Information on these and other types of data found in CAD can help security administrators determine the best times and locations for adding or reducing staff. As a result, the expenses associated with personnel, often the majority of an organization’s budget, can be better managed and aligned with a needs-based approach.
Productivity and the CAD System
The exchange of information is an essential component in any organization. To a security provider, the ability to relay accurate and timely data can be especially important. Modern CAD systems allow security personnel to effectively communicate well beyond the verbal conversations of a two-way radio.
Through the use of integrated mobile technology, CAD allows officers, supervisors, and dispatchers to instantly relay information to designated personnel, incorporate the exchange into an incident’s permanent record, and ensure it is available when needed. The use of CAD notes, group texts, and chat messages can help reduce miscommunication through traditional radios or old-fashioned handwritten notes. In turn, CAD helps avoid costly misunderstandings and increase overall productivity.
Another shared mission of nearly all security providers is to ensure proper coverage of the asset being protected, most commonly accomplished through the use of officer rounds. Sometimes referred to a guard tours, these rounds have come a long way since being verified by an officer’s signature or initials on a piece of paper affixed to a clipboard at various check-in sites. By utilizing a state-of-the-art CAD system, security providers can improve both officer safety and accountability during guard tours.
Dispatchers and supervisors can determine the real-time location of each officer and their progress during a tour. Additionally, any special notes or instructions about a particular post can be easily added to CAD’s mobile component, ensuring officers have the latest details about their rounds. Further, the officers can instantly document any findings during their tour and include pictures as necessary. For instance, if an officer finds a damaged lock, he or she can add a photograph to the CAD note citing the specific location and time it was discovered. This may have important implications in determining if and when a crime took place, as well as demonstrating the officer’s productivity.
CAD’s Use in Performance Evaluations
The detailed records available through CAD’s activity log feature can help security managers measure the performance of not only individual officers but also the operation as a whole. This information can be especially beneficial when demonstrating to a client the importance of continuing or expanding the services of a security provider.
CAD systems provide security administrators and their clients with professional reports detailing everything from annual summaries to the specifics of an individual incident. On an essential micro-scale, the previous example in which an officer found a broken lock during a guard tour, stands to reveal the importance of documentation through the CAD system. A client wanting more information can be issued a report containing the previous tours in which the lock was intact, the exact time the damage was discovered, and a photograph of the property. In furtherance of providing professional security service, CAD logs and incident reports can include information relating either law enforcement, maintenance staff, or other entities being contacted.
At the macro level, CAD can produce information to enhance an overall strategic plan, such as the total number of calls for service. Combined with a breakdown of call type, day, time, and result, security managers can more effectively use resources, avoid repetition of service, and provide for the client’s needs.
Ultimately, the information captured by modern CAD software systems can have implications for a security company’s bottom line. Data found in CAD can be used for budget proposals, including increasing personnel and purchasing new equipment. Long-range plans based on CAD reports might include coverage expansion, such as adding new geographical territory to a security company’s area of responsibility or additional duties such as special event management or executive/VIP protection.
Both managing current duties and planning for expansion can be accomplished with increased fiscal accuracy by utilizing data from CAD in future business proposals.