Magazine Article | October 18, 2006

Sounding The Alarm For Centralized Monitoring

Source: Innovative Retail Technologies

Partnering with one alarm service provider keeps more money in Dollar Financial’s pocket.

Integrated Solutions For Retailers, November 2006

A leading financial services organization that offers a variety of products to its customers, Dollar Financial operates approximately 340 check-cashing stores in the United States under the brand names Money Mart and Loan Mart. In 2004, the company undertook an initiative aimed at reducing its alarm equipment and monitoring expenditures. At the time the initiative was formulated, Dollar Financial had contracts with 14 alarm service companies, including several major providers. Almost all Loan Mart stores had company-owned equipment in place; a majority of Money Mart stores were using leased equipment.
“Besides the logistical challenges of dealing with so many providers, the price we were paying these companies [for equipment leasing and monitoring services] was spiraling out of control,” says Fred Baish, national director of loss prevention and safety. “With some, our cost was upward of $250 to $300 per store, per month, and in certain cases the support could have been better.” Eschewing working with multiple companies in favor of one provider was deemed the best way to remedy the situation.
After evaluating a number of candidates, Dollar Financial chose to partner with alarm service provider NuTech National, based on the firm’s ability to serve as a single point of contact for all stores as well as to custom-design equipment configurations for most sites. The vendor also was engaged to execute all alarm monitoring in existing stores as well as to replace leased equipment with better technology and upgrade all equipment, whether leased or company-owned, to meet higher security standards.
The conversion to NuTech is occurring at a rate of several stores per week.  With the exception of a few ‘stragglers’ that Baish says will be converted as their service and monitoring contacts expire, all conversions are expected to be complete within the next year.

One Security Source Reduces Monthly Maintenance Costs
While Baish has yet to calculate the total return on investment reaped by partnering with NuTech, he says Dollar Financial is well on the way to attaining payback and that the move is benefiting Dollar Financial in several “very significant” ways. For example, monitoring costs have been reduced to approximately $50 per site, per month. All sites will have the same wireless panic devices, further reducing costs, ensuring consistency, and trimming replacement time.
“In the past, we had to pay not only for replacements when the wireless panic devices went ‘bad’; we also had to pay for programming, repair, and training,” Baish notes. “At about $250 per service call, $200 for training, and an average of $85 per device from one of our major alarm company partners, it added up fast. We currently pay approximately $50 per wireless panic device and, with support from NuTech, can teach store personnel to program the devices themselves. That’s a huge savings that reduces equipment costs and training time.”
The partnership also yields Dollar Financial easy access to actionable information. Through a Web-based, password-protected service dubbed NuTechLink, Baish can obtain detailed exception reports and other related information in real time rather than by telephone or mail as in the past. The service is also programmed to send Baish an e-mail whenever an incident occurs in one of the stores.
“One key element of a good security system is the back end, and we now have excellent support on that end,” states Baish, who taps into NuTechLink about 50 times per day. “For example, if there is an incident, I can get the information I need to report to the insurance company right away, instead of days or even weeks later.” 


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