COVID-19: Automating Operations in a Time of Crisis
There is nothing like a crisis to expose the weak points in a process. In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, building resilience into your organisation is more important than ever. Now is the time to look at your business continuity plans carefully and build awareness across your organisation.
No one knows what the future holds. But planning for the unexpected means you are better prepared to rise above disruption. The question is, how best to do that?
In this article, we highlight the necessary steps that security business owners should take to be well prepared for a pandemic like COVID-19 alongside some essential business functions that can be automated.
How well prepared are you?
COVID-19 is not the first modern virus the world has faced. Since 2003, we've overcome SARS, Ebola, MERS and multiple major flu outbreaks. Despite these earlier epidemics, few companies, let alone countries, were prepared for the societal and economic upheaval we're currently living through.
Companies that are yet to plan, invest in automation, and consider the possibility of remote work are suffering the most. On the other hand, those with a robust business continuity plan for their security operations are faring much better. These organisations that have invested in automating operations, and minimising manual and physical labour are now reaping the benefits of their foresight.
As a security business owner, your priority should be to remain operational, honour your client commitments, and preserve the safety and livelihoods of your staff. To make that happen, identify areas of the business where working from home is possible and provide the resources that will help your employees do so effectively.
Being well prepared involves reviewing your policies, business processes, and workflows. You need to re-think how to stay operational as the world stays home.
What is your emergency response?
During a pandemic lockdown, the world does not come to a standstill. Clients still require your services. But for security companies, this multiplies the workload due to the essential nature of your service. The winners in this situation are the companies that can respond to these changes rationally and in real-time. You can mitigate the risk of being caught off-guard if you have an emergency response in place. Work on setting up emergency protocols and delegating essential tasks by judging the nature of the emergency. Begin by answering the following questions:
- What is the threat? Is it a loss of work or loss of life?
- What protection plan do we need? Consider equipment, processes and other Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).
- What is the element of surprise and how we can contain it?
- How quickly do we have to act?
What’s your new normal?
Humans are versatile. We are capable of adapting to difficult situations even when the challenges seem insurmountable at first. With no end in sight to this pandemic, social distancing and lockdowns have become the new normal for many of us.
That said, we are not resigned to merely reacting to events as they unfold. Smart businesses can plan proactively for the future and turn adversity into opportunity by embracing smarter ways of working.
For example, beyond automating high volume routine tasks such as monitoring alerts, logging, and incident reporting, you can incorporate smart technologies and solutions into your decision-making processes to solve complex security challenges.
As a security business owner, automation and smart technologies and solutions can make increased operational efficiency the hallmark of your new normal, even when chaos abounds.
How do you navigate the pandemic through automation?
As discussed in our previous article, COVID-19: The Impact on Security Companies and their Operations, we highlighted the essential nature of our industry. Security services are more crucial than ever, but processes have to evolve. From protecting the security guards who are performing their duties, to taking care of the clients who are already panicked, the spotlight is on our industry.
To navigate this worldwide phenomenon, the most crucial action for security companies is to reconsider the dynamics that make up daily operations. Streamline security management tasks to free up company resources. Read our previous blog to discover the 7 security management tasks that can be streamlined.
In this critical period, automation is the first action plan for business continuity. While there will always be client sites that require onsite security supervision, automation and remote workforce management will minimise the risk to your business and its workforce.
Key business functions to automate
Across your organisation, automation frees up valuable resources that are vital for crisis management and providing better client service. By embracing automation in crucial business areas like human resources, finance, and operations, your business becomes more self-sufficient while providing the support and resources your employees need. As a result, your business will be in a much better position to weather the crisis now, and continue to grow from strength to strength once it has passed.
Here are some of the functions that can be automated intelligently to gain greater efficiency during COVID-19 and beyond.
The role of HR is evolving due to COVID-19 pandemic. To prevent the spread of the virus, companies have shifted to a remote-work model. Face-to-face collaborations and in-person meetings now take place via video-conferencing, emails, calls, and messaging.
As HR grapples with new work-from-home (WFH) protocols, it must ensure that employees remain productive, motivated, and engaged while working remotely.
Automating human resources in security companies frees HR personnel from manual, time-consuming tasks to focus on more strategic work to help your business and people thrive in the WFH era. Here are some of the HR tasks that should be automated.
- Onboarding process
- Attendance and work log
- Payroll management
Finance plays a vital role in times of crisis. Due to the current economic uncertainty, finance departments face an even greater workload as they preside over pay cuts, lay-offs, budget adjustments, relief funds, medical services, and more.
Automating finance functions gives your finance team greater agility and resources to confront the pandemic. By implementing automation and innovation within your finance processes, your business can execute its pandemic response plan faster and more effectively. Here are some of the finance-related tasks that should be automated:
- Purchase records
- Payment and billing alerts
- Ledger entries
- Invoice automation
Operations and business processes
Automating operations now is something that security companies can benefit from, not just during this pandemic but long into the future as well. Automation breaks the silos and maximises performance, efficiency and resource usage – all while reducing cost.
By investing in automation, your security company can satisfy the increased demand for security guards without adding more personnel and more overheads to your business.
Why waste the talent of highly skilled security guards when automating menial tasks means they can be accomplished with a few clicks? Here are some of the operational security management tasks that should be automated:
- Guard allocation and management
- Track, manage and control your security personnel
- Client management
- Monitoring and site patrolling
- Reporting and incident management
Transforming your security operations can seem overwhelming. But we want to make it as smooth and predictable as possible. Learn how to transition to smart security management solutions in our blog here.
We are in a new and uncertain era of economic instability, remote work structure, chaotic communication systems, and haphazard routines. This pandemic calls for innovation and automation to solve the problems security companies face today.
Sooner or later, we will overcome the threat of COVID-19, but the ways we work could well be forever changed. So now is the time to find new and better ways to thrive throughout this uncertain time and beyond.