It would be safe to say that pencil and paper scheduling is about as dead as the old Dodo bird, or would it? Supervisors at small sites still do security officer scheduling on a printed template. Dispatchers take calls from employees and record hours on and off duty on a call log. Even companies that use electronic payroll processing often work from handwritten sign-in sheets. It’s all messy, time consuming and involves numerous points where errors creep in. Just ask any office manager how much time is spent on payday correcting payroll checks.
Scheduling software today is much more than a fill-in the blank spreadsheet. They are integrated programs that do everything. They can manage huge numbers of workers while being as personal as the individual security guard’s work schedule. While some of them are expensive there are others that are very affordable for the small businessman.
To start with, a scheduling program can be stand alone on one computer; or, they can work off a server that updates data from multiple inputs. Most of them are integrated with other functions beyond scheduling security guard shift. One popular function is to record on and off duty times for later payroll processing. Another program actually works off the employee’s smart phone. The phone’s GPS verifies the location where they call-in from. Another popular function is to keep track of hours worked during the schedule period. This makes it easy to spot when last minute changes start pushing specific individuals toward that 40 hour mark. It also makes it easy to bring-on part-timers who would like some extra hours. At least one security guard management software package has a function that blocks assignments of a specific individual to certain posts. The last thing you want to do is send a fill-in to a post where the client has banned them from the property.
The next function integrated into a good scheduling function is payroll. Using Quicken or QuickBooks these days is almost the same as doing payroll manually. Good security guard management software allows you to review your data; then transmit it to a payroll processing vendor. Some programs allow for importing each security guard’s data into your in-house payroll processing program. Still others are your in-house payroll processing system. Review the data and you’re just a few keystrokes from printing the checks.
A little known benefit of these programs is being able to retrieve data for analysis. It’s not enough to know you are paying too much overtime. You want to know where it’s coming from and why. There are a host of other reports you can run from this software that come in quite handy. Finally, the ultimate benefit of these programs is the increased accuracy coupled with a decrease in labor costs. You don’t need a payroll clerk if the office manager can do the same job with just a few keystrokes.