Are Your Alarm Monitoring Processes Holding You Back?

a group of people in a conference room

For many security organizations, processes can be both a boon to productivity and the bane of efficiency. They are the key to success for any team of even moderate size and complexity. However, bad alarm monitoring processes sap efficiency, cause frustration, and increase risk. For a security service provider, this creates an unacceptable situation.

Processes in Security and Alarms

Alarm monitoring businesses and other central stations handling a large number of alarms need to be thoroughly organized to operate efficiently. There are two key operational states of such teams. The normal state requires the careful and orderly monitoring of potentially thousands of alarms. The second state is a period of more intense activity in response to a positive alarm signal. Despite the focus that comes with this second state, it cannot cause a sacrifice in monitoring the other alarms.

To operate successfully in either of these states, your team must have procedures that dictate how people work. Simply put, you can’t wait for an alarm to go off before you figure out how you will respond. Unfortunately, just because you have a plan for how to operate, doesn’t mean that you are being efficient.

Reasons Your Processes May Be Holding You Back

For many organizations, some central procedural issues can cause major problems in terms of efficiency, risk, and results. In other words, your alarm monitoring processes may be holding you back. Fortunately, there are also some simple ways to address these issues. The following are some likely culprits that may be causing difficulties for your team.

Over-reliance on Key Individuals

As organizations grow, they expand far beyond the initial founders and early team members who started everything. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that their procedures also expand. In fact, in many cases, a few key individuals find themselves in the center of all operations. These lynchpin team members become effectively irreplaceable. So, if one is out of the office, it can cause major operational hiccups.

This isn’t limited to new businesses. Even companies that have been around for decades can find themselves over-reliant on key individuals.

Processes Not Being Accurately Followed

One of the most common reasons for inefficiency is that the planned processes aren’t actually being followed. This can happen for a variety of reasons such as poor training, unnecessary redundancy, or poor operational design.

While the altered procedure may be superior to the planned one, this is still a problem. It can make improvement almost impossible. It is better to update the plan officially than to alter it on the fly.

Undocumented or Under-Documented Processes

In a similar vein, it is important to document your operational procedures. Writing them down is the first step toward improvement. As mentioned above, bad design, poor training, and lack of compliance can cause inefficiency. None of these are solvable without documented and consistent practices.

Undocumented or under-documented procedures may arise because an improvisation by your team became adopted as the official operating policy. It could also happen simply because no one took the time to write things down.

The Wrong Software for the Job

At the heart of many of your processes are tools. These are especially important for alarm monitoring operations. Without the right software, it is almost impossible to oversee a large number of alarms and to respond to them as necessary.

Software and other tools need to be carefully considered when planning operational practices. If you are organizing your team around the wrong tool, you will see poor results.

Inconsistent Operations

Alarm monitoring and security businesses need to organize around shifts to ensure consistent vigilance. This is a wellspring of inefficiency and inconsistency. Different shifts may be operating differently, perhaps in response to different circumstances. For example, there is far more legitimate traffic during the normal workday. At night, it is far less likely that someone trying to enter a building is authorized.

Don’t just examine the operations in your primetime shifts. Make sure that there is also procedural consistency between shifts.

How To Improve Your Alarm Monitoring Efficiency

The above issues are common and may happen at any organization. They are not the result of incompetence or willful flouting of planned procedures. Instead, they often arise organically, especially if there are insufficient procedural controls. The following tips can help you to enhance efficiency through your processes.

  • Increase Consistency with Documentation and Enforcement: One of the keys to improvement is having a known starting point. This begins with documenting your practices and putting a premium on adhering to them. When there is an issue with a planned procedure, update it rather than circumvent it.
  • Implement Thoughtful Redundancy: Having backup plans is essential for risk mitigation. However, it can also cause inefficiency. Balancing these two priorities through thoughtful implementation of redundancy is the key to success. The right tools can make this significantly easier.
  • Audit Documentation to Improve Efficiency: Once you have improved consistency and adherence, it is time to audit your documented processes. Carefully measure your performance and identify where inefficiencies and bottlenecks are appearing. Use that information to update procedures and documentation. Alarmingly, a 2016 survey found that only 4% of companies measure and manage their processes.
  • Provide Documentation to New Entities: Whether through acquisition, hiring new team members, or onboarding a new client, you need to share your procedures with new entities from time to time. Do this by sharing your documentation. This will help to ensure that everyone has a common understanding of how things run.

Harness Manitou Alarm Monitoring

Set your alarm monitoring business up for success with the Bold Group’s Manitou software. This alarm software is perfect for the modern central station. It can be the lynchpin of your efforts to improve operational efficiency. Learn more today with a free demo.