By Barry K. Willingham
Published in the August 2011 issue of Today's Facility Manager
Confidence is a term that would seem to have a significant place in every discussion about perimeter security. But more often it is a term only associated with the drive towards hitting a budget number, not accomplishing the task of mitigating risk exposure.
Fiscal responsibility is a key component of a facility manager’s (fm’s) purchasing decision. But when it becomes the primary consideration, it sets the stage for taking ineffective actions in implementing appropriate measures. This behavior fuels the supply side to deliver non-performing protection products that are do not comply with industry standards compliance and are installed by companies that are not only unqualified, but that have little concern for the operability or long-term service the systems are expected to provide.
This is a situation where the economic challenges that are affecting almost every business globally are becoming the directional compass on how fms are planning to protect critical assets and personnel. They must also define how they are going to do it within a budget that is usually out of alignment with the desired result.
Not “How Much Does It Cost?” But “Why Should We Do This?”
The question most often ignored in the current economic climate is “Why are we doing this?” Once a manager can candidly address why the company is investing resources towards securing its facility, it will dramatically change the approach to the thought process of how fms plan on accomplishing this and with what technology and methodology.
There are countless facilities that have numerous physical security technologies deployed. Many of these technologies have been turned off because they either do not function as expected (due to lack of training or deficiency in quality), or they are too much trouble to operate as a result of poor design engineering or lack of definition in terms of installation criticality. They may also be too expensive to maintain because the systems break down frequently—a direct reflection of poor quality combined with haphazard installation.
Unfortunately, many of today’s perimeter technologies are engineered solutions which have never been tested in actual stressed conditions; instead, they are designed to address a general price point. Whether or not the systems will actually perform to prevent an undesired event is often left in the hands of a person or company whose primary objective is to make a sale. The unspoken wish is that the system is never called into duty.
Asking The Right Questions
The subject of security will forever be a challenging topic. It’s a discussion often fueled by fear with an ambiguous demonstration of Return on Investment (certainly not one that could be published in the company’s financial reports). When facility resources are invested to mitigate an external security concern or threat and nothing happens, it is often seen as a waste of company funds. This is because we did not answer the question, “Why did we do this in the first place?”
Complex decisions charged by emotional uncertainties are best addressed in a direct fashion. If fms think in a straight line, it may be easier for them to start asking the hard—but essential—questions:
Why is it critical for our company to implement these perimeter security systems?
How will we accomplish this using tested technologies supported with documented evidence of compliance with industry standards?
What evidence must we rely on to be convinced that this security initiative will be installed by a competent professional who holds submitted evidence of past performance, credentials, and financial dependability?
What evidence is there that this company can execute the scope of work with the ultimate objective to deliver a system that is reliable and performs as a direct response to why we made this investment?
Political pressures to do something to demonstrate the company cares about perimeter security are bridled by the growing financial pressures of the current economic environment. The result, many times, is a mismatched group of products, most of which are designed under the performance premise of “good enough.” These solutions meet no industry standards, are installed by a contractor who bid the project for less than the materials cost, and will eventually lay dormant because they cease to function or don’t operate as originally expected.
Industry standards and test method credentials are valid tools to guide fms thought processes towards the development of exterior security systems that inspire confidence. But it is up to fms to choose to employ these standards and methods. Fms must work to redefine what “right” looks like by working against the budgetary pressures and answering the hard questions.
Willingham is president of Smith & Wesson Security Solutions, providers of facility access control such as active vehicle barriers, guard shelters, high security fencing, bollards, barrier walls, signs and signals, and card readers.
Auction.com, LLC today announced the largest transaction in its eight year history and largest online real estate transaction ever: The $96.075 million sale of Manhattan Towers, a two-building, 309,734 square foot office property in Manhattan Beach, CA, a coastal community within Los Angeles. Manhattan Towers sold in a custom auction that concluded on July 22, 2015. CWCapital was the seller, and the deal was brokered by Eastdil Secured. ... [...]
Think Tech Labs, provider of REthink, a real estate business management software has announced a new release of its REthink Commercial. Meanwhile, a new release of the firm’s residential software product coincides with the commercial release. “While we’ve added important new capabilities to REthink in these new releases, ultimately our emphasis was on platform and infrastructure enhancements,” said Tori Jordan,... [...]
Photo credit: University of Michigan The University of Michigan recently celebrated the opening of Mcity, the world’s first controlled environment specifically designed to test the potential of connected and automated vehicle technologies that will lead the way to mass-market driverless cars. “We believe that this transformation to connected and automated mobility will be a game changer for safety, for efficiency, for energy, and for... [...]
Facility Executive is your one-stop source for information on quality operation, design and maintenance of facilities. Facility Executive offers a shared community of facility management experts who explore and analyze issues that affect your facility and its environment.
Facility Executive is a specialized trade publication written and edited for corporate facility executives in all industry and service sectors whose responsibilities include purchasing, planning and approving products, services and materials for facility operations.
EDITORIAL AND ADVERTISING OFFICES
44 Apple Street, Suite 3 | Tinton Falls, NJ 07724 | P: 732.842.7433 or 800.524.0337 | F: 732.758.6634
By William A. Lotz, P.E.from the July/August 2015 IssueAs a professional engineer, my preferred method to evaluate various insulation products has always been field thermal performance test data. Laboratory tests may provide data to the third... [...]
CAST Lighting has added the Night Owl Perimeter Lighting System to its line of LED exterior lighting systems. Because not every security scenario calls for visible light, this new fence-mounted perimeter lighting system is capable of on-demand... [...]
Posted by Anne CosgroveThis week's question about procurement strategies comes from the Facilities Management Group on LinkedIn.When your requires three bids what are the best methods you have found—especially when required to use prior approved... [...]
Facility Executive serves as a comprehensive resource for facility professionals who regularly purchase product and services for their facilities. In this web exclusive Waste Management product focus, the editors present several offerings on the... [...]
Facing increased regulatory, environmental, social and bottom line demands, today's facility and energy managers require strategic energy management solutions.Magnetrol® Thermatel® Model TA2 mass flow meters and Polaris™ electromagnetic flow... [...]
Public urinators, beware! In at least two cities, a new approach to discourage peeing in inappropriate places could leave public urinators wet and smelly. San Francisco, CA and Hamburg, Germany have both applied pee-repellent paint to walls where... [...]
As critical facility systems are put to the test in extreme summer heat, FacilityDude, a Cary, NC based provider of cloud-based operations management solutions, shares advice for facility managers dealing with summer heat related maintenance... [...]
By Charles C. Carpenter, CFMfrom the July/August 2015 issueWarning signs of violence was a topic addressed in this column back in 2013. Since that time, things may not have improved for facility executives as violence in various facility types... [...]
By Robert Greenfrom the July/August 2015 issueOn a global level, restroom hygiene is a major point of concern when promoting public and personal health—especially in high traffic areas where customers and employees are closely interacting (e.g.,... [...]