Manned Guarding Supplier or Risk Management Company for 2012?

Bill Freear - Managing Director of Pilgrims Group Ltd
Bill Freear - Managing Director of Pilgrims Group Ltd

Bill Freear, the MD for Pilgrims Group Ltd in his second column for, asks: “Manned Guarding Supplier or Risk Management Company for 2012?”

Most clients are looking for innovative ways in which to reduce their manned guarding and security costs but at the same time avoid increasing the risks to their business. The choices of manned guarding providers are numerous – so how do you determine which are quality and which are not?

After all even when you visit reference sites these are the best sites the providers have and perhaps not representative of their normal offering! When you seek ideas for innovation from your suppliers how many times have you actually heard something that is really new or something you have not thought of?

Whilst the incumbents are generally reluctant to lose revenue if they recommend reductions in staff, the new bidders will agree to reduce anything in order to win your business. How do you assess whether it’s just slick sales talk or real ‘value for money’?

We recently took part in a unique and inspirational manned guarding RFP which focussed on the differences suppliers could really bring to the table. Out were the normal – and in our opinion pointless – questions of; what is your turnover, have you got a contract like ours, how many staff do you have etc. Instead in came questions came like; what differences will you bring to our business? What is unique about your company? Demonstrate what you understand about our business? What do you see as the greatest challenges to our business over the next 5 years? How do you recommend we deal with those challenges from a security stand point, and so on?

This approach gave us and the other bidders the chance to demonstrate our knowledge of the industry, our client and the risk environment within which we would both be working in. After selecting the three best responses the client then ran a half workshop for each bidder. This gave the client plenty of time to really explore the bidders’ responses, meet and question the actual management teams and eventually identify which of the suppliers truly had something unique and beneficial to offer.

One of the debrief points from this exercise showed that a company and management that truly understood the risk environment were much better placed to recommend and implement effective and reliable solutions that reduce costs but also retain quality.

It is very easy to say reduce the number of guards and or invest in a technology system but it’s much more difficult to ensure those reductions and investments actually return a service that matches the promises. Pilgrims Group has often been seen as the odd fish due to the fact we provide high level risk management consultancy services and at the same time have a fully functioning manned guarding division. In these tough economic times however the combination of the two is becoming hugely beneficial to clients, as this enables the security provider to provide the service the client is looking for in a variety of ways, to match budgets and business day to day requirements.

Many large corporate clients contract with a Risk Management and a Manned Guarding provider. By having one who does both, companies can both reduce costs and reduce management time.

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