GMS puts final touches on central station addition

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Wednesday, January 1, 2003

LONG BEACH, Calif. -General Monitoring Services is wrapping up the final touches on a major technological and physical upgrade to its central station here that will provide a platform for new services and additional account growth.

The expansion of the central station expands the dispatch area of GMS’ operations by moving administrative functions, such as quality assurance and accounting, into unused space on the second floor of the company’s 8,000 square-foot, two-story building. That facility also houses an expanded marketing staff, project management, executive administration and new dealer services.

“When we originally designed operations, we designed it to go to 130,000 accounts,” said Tim LeBlanc, president of GMS. “Our growth has been very good and we had to implement the expansion sooner than we had anticipated.”

The move into second floor space allowed for the addition of operator stations - there are now 19 positions - and also an increased account capacity through a total rewiring of the building, LeBlanc said. Now the central station, which monitors roughly 80,000 accounts, can handle up to 150,000 accounts.

The company also increased its staff complement to now more than 70 employees, with 48 of those working as dispatch personnel, an increase from about 50 employees overall. Among those are a number of quality assurance staff members to facilitate an expansion of GMS’ online services for dealers, said Ken Gresty, project manager at GMS.

The online offering will include a new website design as well as web-based applications where dealers can access account data, such as event history, custom reports, central station policies and procedures, and other information.

New dealers can also taken advantage of Underwriters Laboratories and other code expertise through the new dealer assistance department. Those services are for dealers not be familiar with UL or with fire codes and regulations, LeBlanc said.

“We get a lot of small companies and they want to compete, but don’t know how,” LeBlanc said. “If we teach them how to do it, not only have we created a loyal client but we have generated a client that is going to be more productive for us both.”

The addition of new monitoring services was also an area where GMS improved its offering, with the addition of video monitoring, which is being migrated into operations in a couple of phases, Gresty said. GMS’ Monitoring Automation Systems automation software was upgraded and expanded to handle the addition of the video.