Profitability in the security service Industry

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The security industry in Southern Africa is proliferating. The current annual growth rate (according to Government) is at least 15%, which is expected to continue until 2026.

As the industry grows and more companies enter the sector, profit margins are coming under increased pressure.

In 2021, South African-based companies that provide security services controlled some 2.3 million registered security officers. There are about 9,500 registered security businesses in the country. The South African percentage of security income turnover to gross domestic product is said to be one of the highest in the world.

Increasing competition across the industry means that security companies selling guard services must aggressively reduce costs while still maintaining excellent service levels. Labour costs are the largest single expense item in a service company’s profit and loss. Any inefficiencies in the deployment of labour will directly impact the bottom line.

Security companies must also comply with complex labour legislation controlling the hours worked and compensation for overtime of every individual. Overtime must be strictly controlled to control costs and to remain compliant.

The security industry is also becoming more professional, investing in improved training while adopting new automation technologies to improve service levels and effectiveness.

Inefficient Shift Shedules Will Damage Profit Margins

In day-to-day operations, management must keep close track of operational efficiency. Management must therefore be able to track each security guard to ensure he or she is being properly utilised. When scheduling shifts, annual leave, sick leave, training, and additional time off must be considered.

Managers therefore rely on good software that provides real-time visibility on shift schedules and guard deployments. The software must help managers identify when people are being underutilised (on the bench) and any instances where people are working overtime.

Reasons for Poor Efficiency

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In general, security company inefficiencies are often the result of problems with the scheduling of guards:

  1. The schedules are badly structured and not optimised from the beginning.
  2. The schedules are not adhered to, with no-shows, or people exchanging shifts among each other .
  3. Last-minute changes that have a ripple effect resulting in the schedules quickly becoming out-of-date and unworkable.
  4. There is little or no real-time visibility or tracking of the deployments of guards to client sites. Managers are flying blind.

Manual Scheduling Using Spreadsheets Has Some Drawbacks

Much of the planning and scheduling of security guards is done manually using spreadsheets. But eventually these spreadsheets run into some limitations:

Spreadsheets require lots of maintenance by an experienced planner who is familiar with the logic.
The formulas in spreadsheets can become complex over time, hiding serious errors that if undetected can result in expensive decisions.

The inherent nature of spreadsheets does not allow for easy searching through historical information to discover trends, like a database can. Instead, multiple copies of spreadsheet files are stored on a shared drive. Each file must be opened and reviewed manually to see patterns in past information.

The Ideal Workforce Management Software

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At the core of a profitable security company is a robust workforce management database tool that allows managers to:

  • Optimally schedule and track the location of guards.
  • Respond quickly and optimally to disruptions and unexpected events.
  • Quickly identify suitable replacement guards with the right skills and availability.
  • Remain compliant with legislation.
  • Provide excellent real-time visibility into operations.
  • Identify inefficiencies at customer, site, and guard levels.
  • Provide usable reports that effortlessly allow operational managers to quickly evaluate the impact of their decisions on the bottom line.
  • These operational reports need to track performance at each customer site and for each individual security guard.

The ideal workforce management tool should also be capable of integration with other business applications. These other systems include:

  • Payroll.
  • Financial ledgers and accounting.
  • Time and attendance tracking.
  • Human Resource Management / Human Capital Management.
  • Learning management and competency tracking (for tracking skills and certification of guards).
  • Asset management for the tracking of controlled items such as radios, vehicles, and even the issue of uniforms and protective clothing.
  • Competitive advantage relies on using the best tools in the industry. Our clients regularly tell us that EasyRoster is the best software platform for security service companies on the market today.

For more information

EasyRoster is an easy-to-use workforce management system used by service organisations to optimise the scheduling and tracking of people across multiple locations. A unique, fast, and robust optimisation engine, proven for more than two decades years, sets EasyRoster apart.

EasyRoster is suitable for single branch companies, as well as large enterprises with branch offices across many countries. EasyRoster optimises and automates shift scheduling, attendance tracking and related workforce management. The system is simple, intuitive, and easy to use. Using EasyRoster will result in improved customer service, enhanced control of the workforce, and ultimately a more profitable business.

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