Taming the Paper Tiger

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Coinciding with an in-depth report about green practices on page 40, I would like to take this opportunity to specifically discuss what part central stations can play in the global effort toward environmental stewardship.

Although the electronic security industry can contribute on many levels to protect the environment, I want to address a major effort in reducing the amount of paper we consume during normal central station activity.

Anyone who has ever been involved with a central station is aware that ridiculous amounts of paper are consumed during day-to-day operations. It used to be paper was simply a necessity. However, a variety of alternatives have emerged during the past decade. These options, which are not so new any longer, can resolve the excessive waste of paper while automating many services in a manner more efficient, effective and faster than paper could ever travel.

Save the Trees by Digitizing Paper

Central monitoring centers provide valuable services to different types of clients in many different categories. Although these client types carry a variety of requirements, a central station’s value really comes down to some basic fundamentals. Individuals, businesses and governmental establishments rely on a central station to be an aggregator of event traffic. This traffic must be processed and acted upon accordingly, and then the data is communicated to the proper areas in a manageable format for review and deliberation. This may be an oversimplification, but I think it gets my point across.

The past has skewed the present for many. In the past it was a necessity to communicate aggregated information such as activity reports, open and close reports, etc., by printing them out, boxing them up and mailing them to dealers. Of course, the dealers in turn photocopied each report in order to mail a copy to their customers. That is a lot of effort and more dead trees than necessary!

Some of these reports are processed daily, others are weekly or monthly. In addition to these reports of frequency, many people are still printing customer database printouts for filing purposes and even requesting that their monthly bill is sent in a printed format. Not only does this generate excessive waste, it creates an even greater waste of labor for all involved. This doesn’t even consider the additional money that is spent on postage. Plus, the information is out of date by the time it gets to the recipient since it had to be printed and delivered via “snail mail.”

Automate to Benefit Clients

Virtually all respectable central stations operate on automation systems that offer reports via E-mail as well as Web access to all pertinent data. The simplest transition for a dealer to make is to request their reports be migrated to automated E-mail delivery. These reports can be E-mailed directly to the dealer’s subscribers as well. In many cases people choose to migrate to automated reports and change the frequency from monthly to daily or even weekly.

Now we have a client who is getting their information faster, sooner and intact on their computer when they want it. Everybody saves time, the client is happier and feeling that you are stepping up your service without asking for more money.

To be sure, automated reporting and E-mail delivery has become the normal way of doing business for many organizations. Still, far too many companies continue to subscribe to the old-fashion methodology. Dealers who transition to the automated way of communicating really stand out as among the more progressive, forward-thinking organizations.

In the end, while it is a great choice toward protecting our world and environment, it’s really a better way to run your business and serve your clients. 

Peter Giacalone is President of Mace Security Int’l Inc.’s Security Services Division. He can be contacted at (201) 394-5536 or [email protected].

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About the Author

Peter Giacalone
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Peter Giacalone is President of Giacalone Associates, an independent security consulting firm.

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