Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Alarm dealers want to build a base of accounts to derive recurring monthly revenue (RMR) that will fund their operations and those accounts become a large asset to the company. To maximize the value of the accounts, there are two key tactics that should be followed: always keep current contracts with customers and have all accounts residing on your own line card.
Contracts Define Responsibility
Contract law is based on the principle expressed in the Latin phrase, "pacta sunt servanda," which translates to "pacts must be kept." That means when you have a signed agreement with a customer to provide a service for a certain amount of time for a specific cost, you have a relatively high level of assurance that you will receive that revenue for the duration of the contract length. Should you decide to sell your accounts; prospective buyers will perform audits to ensure they too can count on that revenue. If those audits show your customers are not under contract, but instead have a verbal agreement with you, those are worth much less, if anything. The reason is that while you may have felt comfortable with personal assurances — and your customers felt comfortable with you — when a new company takes over, the subscriber does not have to do business with it. There is no pact to be kept. By neglecting to get contracts signed, alarm dealers damage the value of their companies.
Secure Your Own Line Card
All alarm dealers plan to grow their subscriber base. So it is important that newly formed companies work with their central stations to secure their own line card early on to standardize installations and, ultimately, maximize the overall account value. Another advantage of having your own line card is that all of your subscriber accounts are programmed to dial a single set of telephone numbers and have the same two-character prefix. Not only does this standardize the installation process for your technicians, it will greatly reduce the number of phantom signals that land on your accounts. Phantom signals can be particularly frustrating and could occur when another dealer — usually one with accounts on the same line card — transposes digits during installation programming. The result could be a false dispatch to your customer's home, which could result in a fine. At the same time, you'd then have to explain to your customer why this happened when you've done nothing wrong.
This is a portion of the article “Maximize value via line cards and contracts” by Kevin Lehan on page 36 of the August 2011 Security Sales.
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Pictured: SentryNet’s 7,500 sq. ft. office in Greenville
SentryNet, Inc., a fixture on Harvey Street in Greenville for almost 25 years, announced today they will be moving their Greenville operations to Memphis.
In a prepared statement, Michael Joseph, vice-president of operations explains: “We have always been at the forefront of technology in our industry and we feel that we may have a better opportunity to find the best people and infrastructure support in a larger city like Memphis. We did not make this decision on a whim, but after much analysis, planning and debate we felt that this was a necessity if we are going to continue to thrive and grow within our industry. After 25 years in the Greenville market, it is time for us to move our operations to Memphis. Memphis presents an exciting environment in the center of the country with easy access by air or car. We want our new facility to be a centerpiece for industry, associations, and manufacturers and we are building a beautiful training facility inside that we will make available to our industry for centralized training.”
Ikie Lloyd, vice president, added, “This is not a move that we wanted to make. Greenville has been my home for 55 years, but in order to compete, I recognize that we must position ourselves for growth, and it is very hard to do where we are. As we push into the Canadian markets, expand in Central and Latin America, we need Spanish, French and Portuguese speaking employees and our local market doesn’t have the talent pool we need. We have some of the best employees and we are very sorry to disrupt their lives, but in order for our business to survive, we must make changes.”
David Avritt, President and owner of SentryNet added, “Change is never easy. We have great employees. Any employee that wants to move with SentryNet has a job. Our employees have been wonderful to us and we want to make this transition as smooth as possible for them.”
SentryNet presently has 65 employees in their Greenville operations. Plans are to hire 115 in the Memphis office by December 2012. SentryNet’s Greenville operations will close by April 1.
Pictured below: SentryNet's new 38,000 sq. ft. building on Sycamore View in Memphis.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
While efforts by the alarm industry and law enforcement community have helped reduce false alarm dispatches dramatically over the past decade, innovations in surveillance technology are poised to bolster that effort even further.
Police departments and sheriff's offices across the nation are now implementing prioritized response policies for alarms that have corresponding video clips of crimes in progress.
A city that has implemented one of these policies with positive results is Charlotte, N.C. According to Maj. Eddie Levins of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department, the city passed an ordinance two years ago that required alarm owners to apply for permits and if they suffered too many false alarms, the police department would no longer respond.
However, with the department's prioritized response policy, if an alarm owner has video evidence that a crime is being committed on their property, Levins said the police department will respond even if they've repeatedly violated the ordinance.
Another jurisdiction in the process of establishing their own priority response policy is the Boise Police Department in Idaho. According to Curt Crum, supervisor of the BPD's crime prevention unit, the policy represents another step in the city's efforts to reduce false alarm dispatches.
Keith Jentoft, president of RSI Video Technologies, maker of the Videofied system that integrates PIR detectors with surveillance cameras, says that prioritized response is not about false alarm reduction, but rather to build on top of the work that has already been done in this area. While some may argue that these policies are "anti-alarm," Jentoft said that they are simply a way for law enforcement to make their response to alarms more effective.
This article is taken from SD+I, August 2011, page 14. You can see the FULL article at http://www.securityinfowatch.com/root+level/1321476?pageNum=1.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
1. Set aside plenty of time to schedule all phases of a project, small or large. Improper time allotment toward a project can result in inefficient use of the installer’s time or not meeting completion expectations with your customer.
2. Managing the scope of work is one of the most important steps to a successful project.
3. A project manager must always be aware that issues will arise on a project. It is important to resolve issues as quickly as possible while keeping all team members on task and not allow the issues to impact their project direction.
4. Always continue to monitor the project budget to ensure that your actual spending is in line with the amount originally estimated. As needed, adjust budgets accordingly and ensure all stakeholders are aware of the adjustments.
5. Be aware that change orders will occur on all projects. Change orders must be managed properly and executed without severely affecting the rest of the project. Get all team members (installers, designer, project manager and client) involved with defining and executing the completion of change orders.
6. Be on the lookout for warning signs and red flags. If you can catch problems early, that is the best time to react to them. Being able to alter the project plan to account for unforeseen problems is much easier to deal with early than at the end of a project.
7. Keep a communication log of all meetings and discussions. Some people call it “meeting minutes.” This is a great way to track verbal items that otherwise may have been forgotten.
8. Keep in close communication with all project stakeholders, even if it’s just quick status updates. People like to know what’s going on, but even more, they don’t like to be surprised with things at the last minute.
9. Ensure you have enough time to get equipment in your hands. Often, back orders and discontinued gear may not be apparent until you go to order it, and if you wait until the last minute, you will be juggling unnecessary time to procure things.
10. Track costs during a project, not just at the end.
11. Project kickoff meetings are a must, whether it’s just an in-house meeting, or a larger kickoff meeting with all stakeholders on a project. Very good questions get asked during these meetings, and it’s a great time for brainstorming if necessary.
12. While this can be difficult, be sure to separate project management duties from installer duties. Try to avoid mixing the roles as much as possible. It’s hard to have a higher-level view when you’re in the trenches doing work.
13. Get signatures and approval on change orders. Verbal approvals on something that may have happened a year ago are hard to prove, so follow up with a paper trail. Also, consider zero-sum change orders for internal change tracking. Customers really don’t mind getting invoiced for zero dollars.
14. Keep your project staff happy. Institute incentives to perform better on a project. After a particularly successful project, consider having a post-completion party or event. Even invite other stakeholders if applicable.
15. Consider project management software. There are companies that work with mobile devices for time tracking, ad-hoc project information, etc. CRM software is great when able to access on the road or in the field, and allows you to keep in touch with people when out and about. Time-tracking software is great in that you can check reports of projects to know how much time has been expended. Plus various others aid more tasks.
This article is taken from CEPro, August 2011, page 74.