TIME SENSITIVE TENANTS
In organizations around the globe, this situation is replicated, especially for managers with operational and asset risk management responsibilities. While the high risk of a rogue trader or fraud artist bringing your organization to its knees is a remote possibility, the risk of theft, medical emergency, or unplanned business interruption has risen exponentially. The speed of today’s business world creates opportunity and accompanying risks due to a just-in-time mentality that now pervades much of the service sector. What does all this mean for security and emergency management teams? It means that tenants will be more demanding, and less forgiving, when anything - a faulty elevator or a locked door - stand in their way. Security doors will be wedged open, procedures by-passed and tempers short if there are any delays. Building managers have to respond, to keep their tenants, and remain competitive.
What to do? How about providing a higher level of service while changing your security operation from a cost centre to a profit centre? Impossible, you say! Just ask John Stephenson, Director of Security and Life Safety at the Toronto Dominion Centre run by Cadillac Fairview Corporation in Toronto. John is in the process of making his operation the hallmark of operational risk management in high-rise tower complexes. John and his team have heard, as have we all, of the promise of integrated risk management. The difference here over the last six years is that John has been putting it into practice, with impressive results.
EMBRACING THE ELECTRONIC APPROACH
In the early 1990s Cadillac Fairview saw the potential to improve their security and emergency management services at the Toronto Dominion Centre. Through the use of an interactive software system, security staff could respond to incidents, document actions, file reports, and take relevant training from a number of different locations - concurrently. Working with the tool provided the opportunity to assess how security and emergency services were being provided to tenants, and initiate, where required, changes in thinking and daily operations. This transition from a paper-based operation to a technological system did not happen overnight, but was developed cooperatively with the designers, SOFTManagment Inc of Montreal. The relationship continues today as new features are added and existing capacities more fully utilized. Over the past six years John has found that through use, the system has adapted and moulded itself to their security and emergency processes, rather than having to adjust to the way the system works. Such flexibility has been one of the features that has evolved, a feature that gives John and his staff not only confidence in doing their job well, but pride that they can exceed the expectations of their tenants.
For example, the day after an event (or sooner if the tenant wishes) a full report of any incident can be on the tenant’s desk complete with an assessment, suggested remedial actions, and if appropriate potential suspects. Such timely action results from the automatic log (often referred to by police services during investigations), basic mouse-activated functions and an integral e-mail system that sends encrypted documents to those who must review and approve incident reports. What the system has meant for the security officer is fewer late nights writing reports, and for Cadillac Fairview, reduced overtime costs and as Steve Nicholson, Security Supervisor recently noted “a vast overall improvement in security reports”. However, tenants now expect this high level of service, and this represents a positive challenge for John’s security and emergency team - one they know they can meet.
The cooperative approach has also extended to tenants, for while they are responsible for security and life safety issues during daytime hours, they often still turn to the Cadillac Fairview security staff to help them look into thefts and emerging trends in incidents, through use of their analytical module in the software. Sometimes trends can point to weaknesses and areas or zones of repeat incidents. The resulting changes may be as simple as a new lock or involve increased surveillance. Either way tenants get the results and security they expect.
INTO THE BREACH
Late one Friday evening in April 1997 - luckily not earlier in the week - the seal of a chiller pipe ruptured on the 33rd floor of one of the TD towers sending over 20,000 gallons (90,000 litres) of water cascading to the basement. As is its wont, water will find the path of least resistance, and much of this torrent went down the elevator shafts, shutting down all elevators. Through activating the emergency system pre-identified resources were brought in to clean-up water damage and make repairs on a number of floors, and fix the elevators. At the same time affected tenants were notified through the resource module. The rapid start to the recovery, mobilization of significant resources, and excellent cooperation from all authorities meant that everything was back to normal by Monday morning. Unless their offices were affected, tenants arriving for work on Monday never knew there was a serious problem. Having a well-developed response system, trained staff, and quick access to the needed resources saved tenants thousands of dollars and enhanced tenant loyalty.
TURNING COSTS INTO PROFITS
No longer are security reports left incomplete; nor is there uncertainty as to what actually happened during an emergency response or who must follow-up. John’s team is on top of every event, every day. As well, they are seeing the benefit of being able to easily analyze the thousands of incidents that occur every year. In one assessment of call outs they determined over 62% of their calls came from one tenant. With the management capacity of the integrated software they were able to document this use, present a well-supported case, and renegotiate a fixed lease to include an additional $20,000 annually. Knowing what is happening throughout a facility and being able to track trends is an important first step to managing security and emergency incidents effectively.
he benefits of using an integrated security/emergency management system at the TD Centre have shown up increasingly as the database expands. Brett Reddock, Security / Life Safety Coordinator stated that since the inception of this approach “we have realized an increased efficiency in managing our emergency and security events… and have enjoyed better control over services that were difficult to manage”. Effective response to thefts, medical emergencies, and fire alarms together with access to an relational database has provided timely assistance to help tenants coordinate the required services and actions.
For John Stephenson, the close working relationship with TD Centre’s tenants has also resulted in requests for additional services. “Once tenants see the value-added services we can provide, they come to us for help in solving their security problems. The integrated security management system is proving an excellent business development tool for us” John stated. Prime among these services is enhanced security as well as first aid and fire warden training. These services are income generators for Cadillac Fairview and together with the analytical power of the software are helping to move John’s operation from a cost centre to a profit centre.
Among new developments in the works for 2000 will be consideration of a business continuity management module that will offer Toronto-Dominion Centre tenants a unique opportunity.
Through cooperatively developed plans tenants will receive assistance with their continuity plans and help to recover their critical functions should they be unable to operate on their normal floor. Many large corporations have such plans, but for smaller operations viable options have been few, and generally expensive. Now, a business continuity service will be integrated and delivered through an on-site organization that tenants already deal with. By exploring ways to give tenants the added resilience their operations now need John’s team could help reduce tenant’s overall vulnerability and improve the look of his balance sheet.
John Newton Ph.D., P.Eng. is the Principal of John Newton Associates, a consulting and research firm providing crisis and risk management counsel.
John Stephenson is the Director, Security and Life Safety at the Toronto-Dominion Centre.