Bob Forsyth: Security managers are relevant again in procurement

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

Bob Forsyth, the Managing Director of MITIE Total Security Management (TSM) has agreed to write a monthly blog for In Bob’s first blog he looks at the pendulum swing towards involving security managers in a more influencing role in the buying process of security services.

Over the last five years the security industry has seen a shift in how services are procured and I’ve been giving some thought to the evolving role of the security manager in the industry.

It’s really interesting to see how security managers are starting to come back in to their own and are becoming increasingly relevant in the decision making process alongside procurement departments.

A few years ago the security manager decided who would be invited to tender based on previous experience, reputation and relationships. They had significant influence in the decision making, while procurement negotiated the best price.

The pressure to get more for less in outsourced services including security meant that roles changed within the decision making unit (DMU) and the positions of ‘decider’ and ‘influencer’ moved to procurement departments. The security manager became simply an ‘initiator’ –identifying the need for security in the organisation.

With restrictions on spend in procurement departments, security was treated as any other outsourced service and the input from the security manager was limited, leaving them with a service that sometimes didn’t meet their needs in the longer term.

I’m now beginning to see that the role of the security manager in the DMU has gone full circle and once again is one of ‘influencer’. I’m finding that the security manager’s expertise is needed in order to make a selection based on important differentiators such as innovative ideas and risk mitigation. The skill set of the security professional is now expanding to include the new threats such as cyber security and civil disobedience as an example, meaning the security manager is once again becoming more relevant in the buying cycle.

With competitive pressures as high as ever and I’m not expecting that to subside anytime soon, decisions must be based on adding value and shaping security solutions for the future.

Bob Forsyth, the Managing Director of MITIE Total Security Management (TSM) has over 15 years’ experience in the service industry. He is a strong relationship builder who is financially astute with excellent negotiation and communication skills, and the ability to work with people at every level. A team player, Bob is able to lead by example.

A member of the Institute of Directors (IOD), Bob has recently completed a Leadership course at Cranfield University. He is a keen advocate of MITIE’s partnership approach and is a champion of the business’ strategic risk-based approach. He sees this as an opportunity to move the business forward, and as such has launched a dedicated security risk and business resilience team since his most recent promotion. 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). Bob is also a member of the RISC (Resilience Industry Suppliers Community) which is the leading business think tank on UK Security advising government on security.

MITIE Total Security Management Website