In times of change or evolution, innovation is crucial, especially in the business environment where a failure to innovate can leave a business looking dated and unable to capitalise on emerging opportunities. Even the most traditional and respected of brands recognise this and, while ensuring they stay true to their core values, will always be looking for ways to adapt their offer to better serve the evolving marketplace.
Yet while innovation is crucial to remaining relevant and addressing opportunity, it should not be considered a replacement for the one true constant that underlines all successful and long-lasting business – service delivery. However, in a market which has seen consistent pressure on margins for several years, and procurement teams that increasingly expect more for less, how can we ensure we keep service delivery at a consistent high level, and indeed protect margins that will enable us to embrace innovation?
Service delivery is all about getting the basics right and delivering to the client on what has been promised. The client will expect security delivered in a way that is not problematic, that delivers clear value for money, and which perfectly addresses their specific security requirements. What they aren’t factoring into their thinking is; that by applying pressure to get more for less, they are making it increasingly difficult for security suppliers to guarantee the quality of service clients have become accustomed to.
There is a cruel irony that the security industry has, in all likelihood, ultimately brought this situation on itself by being too good at what it does. There is no obvious logic to the idea that you should demand a cheaper price for something that is working increasingly well. The only inevitability of this way of thinking is it eventually brings about a state where ‘you get what you pay for’ becomes an inconvenient reality for those expecting more for less.
Therefore, the challenge for the security industry – and one which we can no longer afford to shy away from – is to draw a line in the sand and say ‘enough is enough’. If the market wants consistent high levels of service, and indeed innovation thrown into the bargain, it cannot expect to keep beating the price down.
So how do we achieve this, both as an industry and as individual businesses?
We need to ensure that service delivery remains the fundamental priority; but equally we need to ensure that procurement teams recognise and appreciate exactly what service delivery means in a security context. For a start, they need to stop devaluing security and thinking of it in outdated terms of a man in a peaked cap. They will all understand the concept and value of service delivery, as well as innovation, so we aren’t telling them anything they don’t know. We just need them to recognise that our industry and our businesses operate in the same way theirs do.
Robust and efficient management systems are hugely important here as this is the key to service delivery. It is also the foundation upon which our own business growth can be built and sustained, and of course it supports the innovation that helps us to keep our service offer relevant.
Innovation can be technologically driven and utilising the latest emerging systems to create greater and more effective integration of services, or it can be in the actual range of services offered and the ways in which these dovetail into each other and the client organisation. Innovation can also be more personal, for example in the ways security liaises with the client, neighbours, resident businesses, local authorities, and police. The security supplier can place itself at the centre of the whole security suite, instead of being merely a component. In this way the value and the level of service delivery can be made obvious. And once that penny has dropped, how can they keep demanding more for less while keeping a straight face?