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Can less be more and save customers money?

Doug Hewitson, the Managing Director of G4S Secure Solutions (UK) introduces his fifth blog on
G4S, Secure Solutions

Doug writes: “In good times and bad, any sensible business is always on the lookout for ways to reduce its overheads and to manage its budgets with optimum efficiency. Businesses will often look at the services they contract out and rightly examine the value they add in proportion to their cost.

It is critical for security professionals to reflect this continuous need for efficiency. In my view, we as an industry need to pose the following question: is it possible to deliver more with less and to save customers money?

The answer is yes, it is possible.

Depending on a customer’s security needs and their attitude to risk, it is possible to deliver more for and with less. Naturally, this is not universally applicable, but in specific scenarios greater security provision can be achieved with fewer officers, and can present customers with greater financial rewards via net savings.

Using the example of a construction site, experts in G4S’ Gurkha Services division have extrapolated figures showing scenarios whereby three enhanced security officers – paid more per head – can save a company over £100,000. This calculation contrasts enhanced guarding with a conventional patrol function, based on five guards costing £100,000 more. The figures are too big to ignore.

The reason this works is because enhanced guards (like those in G4S Gurkha Services) are specialists, often former soldiers and officers, skilled at using their intelligence-led approaches in both strategic and tactical ways, therefore fewer are required. Their adaptability is then deployed to fit a site’s risk profile, so in effect the services are additional as well as enhanced.

So, where does this model of service appear to work best? Sensitive construction sites and energy facilities are unique risk environments and demand suitably bespoke security services which in our experience enhanced guards are exceptionally well placed to provide.

As risk profiles at sensitive sites become ever more complex, I see this as the direction of travel in our industry for the higher risk parts of the UK’s security landscape.

Sticking with the construction example, the menace of metal theft is a particular issue at present. The theft of metal or valuable machinery can hit a construction company’s reputation just as hard as its profit margin. G4S officers will be present at the ACPO Metal Theft Seminar in Kettering this month to share their experiences of both the financial and security benefits the enhanced model offers.

Similarly, energy facilities ranging from nuclear power sites to potential shale gas operations will benefit hugely from an enhanced service. As the Government considers the future of the UK’s energy supply, the security industry has the opportunity to shine in protecting our national infrastructure.

The fundamental point is that security can be provided at this enhanced level but in a very cost-effective way and, if in the right conditions, can achieve customer savings. In short, less can be more and any sensible business might find itself remiss in not examining the benefits on offer."