New ISP group identifies trends to focus on

Topics include: home automation, training and alternative schedules for techs
 - 
Tuesday, October 18, 2011

IRVING, Texas—A recent survey focusing on security companies’ installation and service practices generated not just data but helped to identify industry trends that can be studied and discussed further, according to Trevor Block, vice chairman of the Electronic Security Association’s new Installation & Service Professionals (ISP) group.

“[We’ll] look at percentages [of responses in the survey] that may be emerging trends, and through the group try to facilitate training programs, webinars, white papers” to address those issues, such as offering home automation, Block said.

The group also could look at why more security companies aren’t using certain practices that could benefit them, said Block, who also is VP of field operation for Guardian Protection Services, based in Warrendale, Pa.

For example, he said he was surprised the ISP survey showed that most security companies find non-traditional schedules for their techs “taboo”—even if alternative schedules such as a 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. shift or a Tuesday-through-Saturday workweek might benefit customers.

Block said, “If someone is using some different shifts, I think that would be interesting for the membership to hear … What happened when you started working a Tuesday through Saturday schedule? Did it affect response time or attrition? … Those are the discussion points we’re hoping to create.”

Block led a Sept. 14 webinar put on by the new ISP group. The group was launched in June by the ESA, which is based here. The ISP group’s mission is increasing the “knowledge, skills and professionalism” of installation and service professionals.

Results of the recent survey were presented at the webinar. Block said 151 members representing 120 companies—whose annual revenues ranged from less than $500,000 to more than $5 million—participated.
The survey covered such topics as labor management, operations management and technology.

Block said that among findings were that 25 percent of the respondents offer home automation and 18 percent are involved with commercial energy management, showing that “non-traditional product categories are becoming more relevant in the electronic security industry.”

He asked ISP group members: “Are you looking to add these into your sales mix and consequently into your installations?”

Another finding was that while 79 percent of respondents said they formally train and certify their technicians, only 45 percent have a performance appraisal program.

“That is something the ISP group can look at … and present a white paper or some thoughts or ideas on how to introduce that to your company,” Block said.

Also, he said, the survey showed that about 65 percent of companies have standard operating procedures. However, he said, such procedures are found “more on the billing side as opposed to the estimating side, which I think is an opportunity for us to work on.”