How Technology Can Help Save Businesses $
The Farmers’ Almanac is predicting a frigid winter for 2022/2023. Across much of the country they are expecting temperatures far below normal, and precipitation amounts that could make transportation difficult. When these extremes occur, they are often a challenge for facilities. In this post covid world, however, the somewhat expected tribulations of inclement weather become even more complicated with the staffing shortages that businesses are struggling to overcome. The reality is that a company, no matter how good their product or service is, is failing if they are not protecting their employees. Above and beyond the obvious fact that an employee’s wellbeing should always come first, from a bottom-line standpoint they are a business’ single greatest expense and should be treated and protected as such.
As a result of the current lack of personnel struggles employers are facing new challenges. Understaffing in manufacturing facilities can lead to a lack of feeling safe on the job and that can lead to even more employee retention issues. By implementing an automated alerting platform workers gain a sense of security and confidence in their positions that can lead to superior productivity outcomes. Rather than adding another siloed safety measure, facilities that are already full of varying technologies – such as door access panels, fire/smoke detections, temperature systems, and cameras – can all work together when integrated onto an automated alerting system. This would provide a mobile duress option for the worker who may find him/herself alone and needing help. By carrying this device on his/her person, if something were to go wrong, he or she could immediately call for help with the press of a button. However, these alerts can be smart too. They can send specific information such as who called for help and where this person is located, transforming them from a simple alarm to an informative situational awareness response assistant.
When assigned to specific people such as first responders, upon the duress button being pressed, an automated process will be triggered that could lead to extra life-saving minutes. The alert could even contain live video feed being pulled from already existing security cameras if all of the facility’s technology has been integrated. While life-saving measures and employee health is the most important measure of a well working integrated system, the immediacy of these information filled alerts could also result in a prevention of serious property damage or product loss.
Thinking back to The Farmers’ Almanac predictions for the coming season, facilities should begin planning now for what could be a winter of adversity. Though we must first traverse the changes of autumn, and winter doesn’t officially begin until the daylight runs short on December 21, 2022, the weather patterns are already taking hold. From a facilities management standpoint, technology can stand in for the unfilled worker positions. Just about anything that was once monitored by an in-person employee can now be monitored with information filled customizable alerts. These can be programmed so that the right employee can immediately be notified in the event of a humidity detection or temperature decrease or whatever situation is being monitored.
Large manufacturing facilities or warehouses may find that in today’s world they lack the manpower to have regular walks of the property or simply enough boots on the ground. The weather and precipitation that often accompany the colder months can lead to all sorts of calamities that could result in property and/or product loss. This is where environmental monitoring technology amalgamated with an automatic alerting platform can help keep a business safe and running even when staff members are not physically present.
Anything left undetected for too long can result in expensive repairs, employee injuries, or even a complete facility closure while repairs are made. A malfunctioning piece of equipment, ice buildup on a surface, or even something as simple as a door left ajar opens a business up to a whole host of potential problems. Calling upon the same technology that can be used to protect workers and the facility itself, environmental monitoring integrated into already existing safety measures within a facility can allow management to detect any changes or problems and alert stakeholders and emergency responders with near immediacy.
When the safety measures that monitor air quality, water levels, and temperature controls can communicate with the fire panels, door alarms, and security cameras a more stable and possibly profitable work environment is created. In this manner the business has taken itself from reactive in its alerting system to proactive. In both fully staffed and understaffed situations, alerts can be sent to specific employees to let them know of any shortcomings. Especially in the latter situation this type of monitoring can make up for the lack of manpower by possibly preventing emergency situations. Anything can be monitored to improve efficiency. Even concrete temperatures can be monitored so that the appropriate workers are notified when salt needs to be applied. This does not need to be complicated. It is simply a matter of what management needs to be aware of and how all existing technologies can intertwine to create a holistic view of the operation. Though situational awareness is often thought of for military or police operations, the reality is it should be used in any business that wants to create a thriving, safe environment for its employees and its product.
Detailed, automated alerting through environmental monitoring creates an efficiency in a business’s communication technology that sets it up for operational excellence, even in times of economic struggles, weather extremes, and staffing shortages. The time to prepare and invest is now. Meteorologists can only predict the weather so far out; economists can only predict the evolution of employment trends so far out. Now is the time to prepare, so that no matter what surprises lay ahead, your business is ready to stay on top of any unfolding situation.
Danielle Myers is General Manager for Status Solutions. Danielle’s expertise includes working with customers in senior living, health care, education, manufacturing, hospitality and government to design, deliver and maintain solutions for integrated alarm management and automated mass notification. She also has been instrumental in expanding the company’s U.S. channel with the addition of new voice, data, fire, security, audio-visual and managed services providers as certified resellers.