How digitisation can unlock new sources of revenue for providers of security and alarm systems maintenance
The UK Government has set itself a target of spending £1 in every £3 on small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) in its procurement activities by 2022 and spent £14.2bn with SMEs in 2018/2019, (nearly double the previous year), as part of this aim. According to the Federation of Small Businesses, making better use of SMEs in government procurement is good for public services, good for the economy, good for jobs and good for taxpayers. The UK security and alarm systems industry is one such sector that stands to benefit from the Cabinet Office’s initiative to facilitate more government spending with SMEs. The industry itself is composed of over 2500 businesses, spanning sales, supply, installation and maintenance of security and alarm systems. The security system services industry in the UK is estimated to be worth about £1.4bn in 2021 and has been growing about 6.4% per year on average between 2016 and 2021. However, one of the biggest issues facing providers is high levels of competition. Aside from a few large players, the majority of the 2500 companies are SMEs. For such businesses, the opportunity to secure government contracts for servicing and maintaining security systems can be lucrative, providing a steady source of income, to support the bottom line and enable businesses to grow further. SME providers of security and alarm systems maintenance may also find that winning one government contract can open doors to more public sector contract opportunities for these types of services. This can be a critical move for businesses seeking to differentiate themselves and find new clientele when operating in an exceptionally competitive industry.
Right software investments can transform SME businesses
However, to ensure the best chance of winning government tenders, SMEs in the UK security and alarm systems market need to invest in their digitisation capabilities. Such investments are worthwhile, helping businesses to transform and gain the edge they need to go head-to-head with larger and more established players and be in prime position to win more contracts. The UK Government and public sector has authority over many different types of facilities and premises, many of which are accessible to the public; ranging from schools and high education colleges, to local council offices, to libraries and courts. Public sector bodies and authorities are tasked with driving high levels of scrutiny and accountability on spending. For any government authority or agency tasked with procuring security and alarm system maintenance and related services, a key deciding factor for choosing a contractor can come down to being presented with proof that the service on offer minimises security, or alarm, system downtime, and reduces false alarms and recall rates. That requires hard data. Implementing field service management software works in several ways to increase engineers’ productivity and responsiveness, resulting in reduced systems downtime.
Cut security and alarm system downtime
Firstly, field service software optimises schedules, by deploying powerful navigational tools through processing various data sources, including maps and traffic information, working out the best routes for each technician between sites, minimising time spent travelling to different locations and saves on fuel/energy. Secondly, field management service solutions ensure that engineers have all the information they need, easily accessed via an app on their mobile device, to help them complete service jobs and repairs efficiently and quickly. Field service management software, sometimes described as work optimiser software, also improves communication channels between back office teams and engineers too, enabling engineers in the field to complete jobs more efficiently through clearer and more structured communication between themselves and dispatchers. Because top field service management software is able to record and store information about jobs, including time spent completing them, it can process all of this into reports and visual graphics to show prospective clients, such as government procurement departments, demonstrable and quantifiable reduction in downtime of security and alarm systems and also provide digital records of preventive maintenance to ensure compliance.
Create customisable service reports and work orders with clients
Field service management solutions can also provide customisable easy to understand service reports that can be sent to government and public sector clients once jobs are completed for their own official records keeping and compliance. Maintenance scheduling software can also be used to create personalised indicators, pre-agreed with the client, providing all parties with a comprehensive overview of commitments made to the end customer. Such features help in providing assurances that commitments are met or that remedies for problems can be implemented quickly. These are accomplished by the use of tracking metrics, such as work order times and recovery times, as well as work order failure rates. In some cases clients will also want to create their own work orders and track the progress of these in real-time. Field service management software web portals give customers or prime contractors access to do so.
Support KPI development to enhance delivery of service
Advanced field service management software can allow providers of security and alarm systems maintenance to track key performance indicators (KPIs) in real time, providing insight into how to improve or enhance responsiveness of the field service team. KPIs can be developed around key criteria established with the customer, which can be important for government or public sector clients, such as local authorities, which may be tasked with procuring security system maintenance services for various types of facilities and buildings where having robust, reliable security systems to protect premises and assets is critical, such as schools, or council offices.
Ensure data security is a top priority
Another important issue for government agencies and those in charge of government procurement is data security. Security professionals are responsible for capturing, transferring and storing sensitive customer data. FSM software supports e-security system asset management, integrating with enterprise resource planning systems (ERPs), storing key information, including the date the system was installed, by which technician, as well as maintenance history, in one centralised place. The software ensures data is captured and stored securely to meet the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
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