20+ Ways Fire and Security Businesses Can Manage Compliance, Safety, and Profitability
24 April 2023
Here’s how fire and security businesses achieve higher productivity and efficiency, whilst ensuring compliance with regulations.
Every fire and security business wants to achieve higher productivity and efficiency all while ensuring compliance with regulations.
So, how can businesses balance these two sorts of opposing forces?
The secret? Cloud technology.
In this blog, we’ll look at how the latest technological innovations enable fire and security companies to bridge the gap between innovation and compliance to unlock growth.
How fire and security software can help
Bold statement, but here goes: Cloud technology is shaping the future of fire and security.
Now, if you’re not into this idea, you’ll need a little more convincing. So, here’s just a quick whistle-stop tour of how:
✅ Capturing compliance information/following processes: Tech provides a digital platform for fire and security engineers to follow set procedures and record information.
✅ Risk assessments: It prompts engineers to complete certain documentation for assessing risk and ensures they complete a checklist of key criteria – reminding them to do something if they miss a key compliance requirement.
✅ Real-time data / visual dashboards: All this information is captured in real-time which means back-office teams can track job status as well as compliance. And they can also monitor job performance (such as speed of completing jobs, meeting SLAs, and costs associated with each job –for example, total labour hours used, fuel and parts).
✅ Using tech to raise standards: With set processes and the ability to track performance, it’s easy to see how a business can improve. But beyond this, it can instantly capture and analyse customer feedback so you can quickly react.
✅ Digitised maintenance schedules & digitising meeting safety standards: If you’re manually tracking vehicle services (for instance) this is all automated with tech. Plus, just with fleet alone you can ensure engineers run daily maintenance checks on their vehicles before starting out. And ensure you’re alerted of MOT dates, insurance renewals, service reminders, and more, to keep vehicles on the road and engineers in action.
✅ Certification management: Rather than expecting office teams to know who has what accreditations and certifications, tech can record all this and allocate the right engineers to a job based on constraints like being BAFE trained or being licensed to drive certain types of vehicles. It can also alert engineers if their IOSH certification is due to expire.
✅ Skills shortage: If you can’t hire more, get lean with the resources you have. With the right fire and security software, you can optimise job schedules so that you attend jobs faster and visit more clients within a day.
Intrigued? Let’s look at this in more detail.
For the fire and security industry, you’re expected to follow fire codes, building codes, security protocols, and more. The question is: How are leading fire and security organisations doing this efficiently?
We’ll split this into general best practices and those that leverage tech.
General best practices:
⬜ Choose a compliance officer: Having a dedicated person to oversee processes, documentation and to track how others are following this helps monitor performance and mitigate any issues. This person can be the go-to and be responsible for keeping an eye on changes.
⬜ Train employees: So, you’ll want to provide them with any training they need and they can organise ensuring fellow team members understand new processes.
⬜ Compliance auditing: With some regulations, you’ll get spot checked so to ensure you’re covered when this happens, as part of your processes you can include certain checks and make a record.
This segues us nicely into the next bit…
Tech-improved best practices:
⬜ Digital compliance checklists: Tech allows you to create digital checklists that fire and security engineers can complete in real-time. Prompts ensure they fill in all the key information.
⬜ Document management: Having documents stored in one central location makes it easy to access important documents for audits or inspection (who can see this can be managed through access control for greater security).
⬜ Proof of work completed: It’s also important for their own customers as proof of work carried out and for their insurance and compliance.
⬜ Compliance reporting: And it can help you track compliance KPIs on a visual reporting dashboard so that you can spot areas for improvement. This is invaluable for both a compliance officer and the senior leadership team.
Compliance often comes hand-in-hand with safety so we’ll move on to that one next.
Given the safety risks, it’s easy to see why fire and security are more heavily regulated. To protect employees and customers, these are the recommended best practices…
General best practices:
⬜ Full job information: When you scope a job, you want to look out for potential hazards and record this as part of your risk assessment. This will determine who you send to a job, the kit you need and it helps to price jobs more accurately too).
⬜ Regular safety checks and PPM: This one is pretty obvious but quickly overlooked – schedule routine checks on equipment and ensure you’ve plenty of PPE for the various jobs.
⬜ Keep track of certification: Your fire and security installers won’t be able to attend jobs if they’ve not got up-to-date paperwork. For their safety and productivity, you don’t want this to slip.
Tech-improved best practices:
⬜ GPS tracking: This helps to visibly monitor how many hours your engineers have been on the road and consider the Working Times Directive.
⬜ Resource allocation: GPS also helps to optimise scheduling so that your specialist mobile workers are selected based on their location, availability and expertise. It helps to prevent overworking and as you can track driver behaviour, it can help flag any safety improvements needed.
⬜ Digital risk assessments: As with compliance, safety can be digitally documented and engineers prompted to complete checks. For example, you can make it mandatory that an engineer complete a vehicle check before setting off and you can set up email or SMS text alerts so that issues can be dealt with quickly.
We’ve started to weave through examples of how you can improve productivity whilst maintaining compliance and safety. So now, let’s go harder on profitability.
Not meaning to start on a harsh negative – but failure to comply with regulations can mean big legal and financial implications through fines and lawsuits. Obviously, this impacts profits and can have long-term issues for your brand if customers hear about it.
But going beyond safety and compliance, there are so many ways fire and security businesses can maximise profit margins.
To be honest, tech can help with the general best practices and so leading field service businesses use digital tools to manage these areas too. With this in mind, we’ve pooled these best practices into one.
Tech-improved best practices:
⬜ Tracking expenses at a job level: So that you can accurately invoice and quote for new jobs. Essentially, this shapes your entire pricing model to ensure you maximise profit. Whilst this may sound like a lot of admin, with tech, you can record all this as you go and use it to automate invoices and pre-built quote templates.
⬜ Regular expense and revenue tracking: The more regularly this is updated, the earlier you can spot and react to trends or issues.
⬜ Real-time analytics and reporting: And if your fire and security engineers are updating digital job records via their mobile devices, you can get an instant view of how your profit and loss are trending.
⬜ Build supplier relationships: With tech, you can see the cheapest supplier of particular parts, which is ideal on small orders. But for larger order items, it’s better to negotiate bulk rates with suppliers. For some fire and security businesses, their large customers may even have this rate already negotiated.
⬜ Resource allocation: With the right tech, you can optimise engineers’ schedules based on location, traffic congestion, likely fuel consumption and availability – whilst ensuring there are constraints in place in the tech that only ensures field service technicians with the right accreditations and certifications are allocated certain jobs.
Let’s now bring this all together.
Using innovations to grow your fire and security business
Ultimately, these best practices provide a much more accurate handle on how the business is performing against compliance, safety, and profitability KPIs. And with closer measurement and new processes, you can improve field service operations, provide outstanding service, and boost revenue.
In fact, you can see how tech is having a profound impact on the industry. A report by Gartner found that the use of tech in field services is on the up, with 19% purchasing bespoke-built field service management software.
As more and more businesses move to tech, there’s definitely more of a fear of missing out that’s likely to hit those that don’t switch to digital operations.
Want to see exactly how your peers are managing compliance, safety and profitability? Take a look at these case studies. Psst. You can filter to ‘Fire and security’ just here:
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