Managing a guarding company is theoretically the same as managing any other company. All good managers use the information at their disposal to make informed and thus correct decisions. That said, guarding companies have to a large extent been starved of the necessary realtime information that is needed to run a company efficiently. As a result of this, many managers within companies in the guarding industry are running their operations 'by the seat of their pants' with little or no regard being given to efficiency, productivity or profitability.
This has been acceptable until now because the guarding business has been a very profitable one. This situation is changing as a result of more and more competition entering the industry, new technologies becoming a better option than guards, labour laws and other factors.
Alkon, a Pretoria-based information technology company established in 1989, has developed the EasyRoster software package, and provides a business consulting service to help improve the efficiency of procedures which are used within a guarding company, and specifically within the area of operations management.
According to Alkon's Pieter Grobler, EasyRoster has been on the market since November 1995 and has already gone through four major upgrades in functionality. The package is currently being used by the majority of the larger guarding companies in South Africa (and some in the rest of southern Africa), as well as many medium to small companies.
Says Grobler, "Service is something that must become part of the company culture, but the key to offering a better price without cutting profits is obviously to keep a tight reign on costs (of which labour cost is the most significant). To do that, it is necessary to know where and why costs are too high before they get out of control.
"In other words, it is necessary to have the right information at the right place, at the right time, and then to act on that information in a pro-active manner. This can normally be done relatively easily by, for example, simply scheduling personnel more efficiently, or limiting the overtime on the wage bill," he says.
Adds Grobler, "Functionality included in the system has been specified by companies in the guarding industry, from a business perspective. The management reports available in the system are therefore pertinent to the effective management of guarding operations.
"The aim of the package is to simplify the task of managing and controlling security officers, with specific attention being paid to the control of costs and management by exception."
The advantages of using EasyRoster include:
* Ease of use - EasyRoster is designed to be used in the standard Windows environment. Anybody who is (even a little) computer literate will be able to operate the system with minimal training.
* Quick and easy rostering - As long as the rules for rostering are kept up to date, rostering for a period takes a matter of seconds.
* Quick and easy attendance - EasyRoster promotes management by exception, and thus allows the capture of attendance details on an exception basis. This shortens the time to capture attendance significantly.
* Management information - If rostering and attendance details are kept up to date on a shift by shift basis, management will have absolute control of the efficiency of postings as well as costs, by simply drawing management reports out of EasyRoster. All information required to make important operational decisions is available in these reports daily.
* Export to payroll - EasyRoster provides the facility to export attendance details to various payroll systems. This means that manual calculation of overtime as well as manual input of attendance details into the payroll system are no longer necessary.
"If used effectively, the package will enhance the efficiency of the company and result in significant cost savings. Power-up today, take control with EasyRoster and increase your return on investment (ROI)," concludes Grobler.
For details contact Pieter Grobler
Alkon on telephone (012) 807 1520
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