Bob Forsyth – The future of security: looking to 2013

Bob Forsyth - Managing Director of MITIE Total Security Management
Bob Forsyth - Managing Director of MITIE Total Security Management

Bob Forsyth, the Managing Director of MITIE Total Security Management (TSM) introduces his fourteenth blog on Bob writes: “As the year draws to a close, I’m looking to 2013 and have plans underway to make sure that we start both the calendar and financial years positively.

Looking back, our industry has come such a long way and I’m sure it will continue to evolve throughout 2013 and beyond.

The economic pressures look set to stay and my view is that during next year many SMEs will be looking to bolster their businesses through acquisition or merger. It is not surprising that some have been unable to ride the wave of margin erosion through commoditisation. I do not foresee a margin bounce in such areas and think that trading will be tough for companies that cannot differentiate and offer significant innovation.

I think bundling will continue to be a feature in the FM market which is seeing wider bundles to include more back office-related functional areas, with BPO merging with the traditional bundle of hard and soft services.

The emerging trend of bundling over the last few years will mean more FM providers will be looking to acquire specialist single service providers to strengthen their offering. Rather than partnering with a specialist provider they will seek to bring this capability in house as the demand for integrated FM is here to stay.

Integration will remain a key feature of how security is delivered too; moving away from the silo approach to procurement and with technology as the driving force to delivering risk-based solutions.

Fresh thinking and “what can you do differently?” should be at the top of customers’ lists as we see man-power reducing and the use of technology rising. Looking at the risk profile will be the starting point to define security needs and the commoditised approach of comparing like for like on manning levels will be less relevant and hopefully talked about as the ‘old’ approach before we really understood how to mitigate risk.

As a fan of output specifications this is something that I will champion to be adopted as the norm so that security is considered at a strategic level in organisations and risk is really deliberated by the thinkers in the business.

Differentiation will be a key driver in security company thinking to enable value propositions to be the norm rather than a narrow view on price which is not a sustainable approach to any industry. This will take varied forms but key areas such as training quality, customer care will be more important than ever particularly for companies committed to retaining their client base as well as attracting new ones.

All in all I think it will be another really tough year for business and we all need to work hard on our approach to continue to add value to our customers.

Personally my New Year’s resolution is to act on my ideas and be bold in my decision making and commitments to change. My vision has served the business well so far, my only regret is that I just wish I had taken some key decisions sooner.

Let me know yours, your highlights of 2012 and your predictions for 2013 @BobTSM.

MITIE Total Security Management Website

With over 17 years’ experience in the security industry, Bob is a proven achiever at a high level. He is a strong relationship builder who is financially astute with excellent negotiation and communication skills, with the ability to work with people at every level. A team player, Bob is able to lead by example.

Bob was promoted to the position of Managing Director of MITIE’s security business in April 2010 after several notable achievements since joining the company in 2004, including his win of the prestigious MITIE new business award.

Having successfully implemented the merger with Initial Security in the Southern region and developing a profitable part of the business, Bob has continuously worked towards expansion including the implementation of the response service, and has significantly contributed towards year on year growth. In June 2009, Bob initiated the launch of the business’ total security management ethos; to take an integrated risk-based approach to security, incorporating people, technology and consultancy services.

Bob continues to move the business forward and has delivered record EBITA profit. He has increased business retention and launched new services lines including lone worker, void secure, employee screening, and security risk and business resilience. Under his leadership, MITIE’s total security management business has grown into an organisation with a turnover in excess of £280m. He takes every opportunity to promote MITIE’s presence within the industry through his involvement with industry bodies such as City Security and Resilience Networks (CSARN) and the British Security Industry Authority (BSIA).

A member of the Institute of Directors (IOD), the Security Institute and Resilience Industry Suppliers Community (RISC), Bob is championing the development of the security industry from a guarding-focused, low-end purchase, to a risk-based, technology-driven industry, and plans to work closely with the BSIA and his peers to accomplish this. Bob is passionate about the security industry and enjoys speaking at events such as TINYg in New York, CSARN conferences, and various other security and risk events.

Bob writes a regular blog for the internet news provider to share his vision of the industry’s future. He is also an avid tweeter; taking to the social media site to both promote his ideas and listen to others from around the industry.

In his spare time Bob enjoys sports and is a devoted West Ham fan. He also appreciates current affairs, military history and travel.

Opinions expressed by contributors and commentators do not necessarily reflect the views of or Interconnective Limited.