Field services technicians and delivery drivers face danger in high-risk neighborhoods. Here is how AGB provides data-driven, performance-proven security to field force management.

The workers who serve our communities a day in and day out—repair technicians, utility technicians, cable technicians—perform challenging tasks that often involve heavy machinery, electrical lines or work high above the ground in bucket trucks. But another factor exacerbates those everyday field service demands: when their work takes them into high-risk neighborhoods where bad actors lurk.

Assuring the safety of field employees has gotten more complex during the pandemic. COVID-19 has meant a sharp rise in deliveries to consumers who would otherwise shop outside the home. Trucks that belong to Amazon, FedEx, DHL, and UPS have become a more common sight than ever in our neighborhoods. To criminals, they represent a tempting target that requires asset protection while also affording drivers peace of mind.

What happens when a driver has to leave a truck unattended to drop off several packages on a block? Or a utility technician faces hostility from customers who have lost their service in a storm? Scenarios such as these demand the presence of security professionals, not only to protect property but also to keep delivery drivers and field service technicians safe.

Using Data to Drive Peak Performance

While it might sound easy to demand increased protection when workers enter dangerous neighborhoods, police cannot scale to manage the violence workers might encounter. By contrast, AGB has developed a proprietary method of working actively to guarantee field service technician safety. In fact, we use the same data compiled by Chicago Police.

By analyzing crime incident reports, we can examine baseline crime in a neighborhood—the numbers and types of incidents—and perform analyses that compare crime in any given month to that same month in the previous year. As a result, we have identified 22 communities with the highest threat histories.

Companies that have field employees find it convincing when we present our findings and show how they help us prepare before we back upfield service technicians. They can measure our appearance, attendance, and business performance but don’t necessarily know how to measure strategic effectiveness beyond loss prevention. AGB can do that through incident and response metrics.

Security Logistics the AGB Way

AGB also uses a three-level, proprietary system of security logistics in dangerous areas, based on our experience with a major utility company. On the most granular level, we deploy chaperones, security personnel who might escort a specific maintenance employee to a worksite. This could be a repair technician called to service washing machines in an apartment complex, for example.

Next, our grid patrols cover a concentrated area and can be fine-tuned for response time. If a company considers a two-minute response as a key performance indicator in protecting a utility technician or field service technician, we will deploy the right number of patrol cars in the grid to meet and exceed that KPI.

Finally, we utilize roving patrols over wider areas to assist our grid and chaperone patrols. We plot these based on “heat maps” we create from Chicago Police data on arrests and incidents such as car thefts and assaults. This also allows for more efficient backup where supervisors make sure employees are OK and get necessary breaks.

Helping Field Service Workers Feel Safe

Communication is crucial to everything we do with field service workers, repair technicians and delivery drivers. To that end, we share dispatch resources that connect delivery trucks and security vehicles. By interconnecting dispatch systems and GPS networks, we always know where any given truck is and drivers have access to our patrol locations.

We also offer these workers a sounding board. We consider field service workers our customers and strive to learn their issues as we fine-tune our security logistics. They tell us repeatedly that they don’t feel safe when unattended, so a big part of our job is to restore a feeling of safety. Are we close enough to a potential situation to respond? What’s our posture? Are we monitoring activity around the vehicle? The right answers to these questions restore and guarantee the confidence of service technicians and field force management.

Yet we also perform a valuable service just by showing up so that technicians and drivers can do the work on which we all depend. Once we establish a presence of control in any dangerous area where field service workers are called, the message goes out: If you try to cause serious harm, you will be challenged. It’s just a small part of how we rise to the challenge of providing first-in-class security.

Arba L. Houlden Jr. is AGB’s Executive Vice President of IT and Business Development.