Business, but not as usual
Retail’s ever-changing landscape is being further shaped by the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19, a crisis that has triggered innovative ‘business as usual’ solutions to help essential stores keep trading.
With the Government’s confirmation of a widespread closure of all ‘non-essential’ outlets, the fear and risks of increased burglaries, panic buying and even civil unrest as the Coronavirus crisis reaches its peak, retailers are having to dig deep into their business continuity plans.
In addition to conventional security measures including keyholding, alarm response and patrols on now vacant high streets and retail parks, business owners are looking beyond traditional guarding models to deal with uncertain times.
As a result, a number of leading retailers are looking to utilise an innovative shared guarding initiative to pool their security resources across the UK.
The scheme, ROM – Roaming Officer Model – is a flexible ad-hoc resource introduced by Amberstone Guarding to optimise resources cost-effectively across stores, distribution centres and even the protection of lone working delivery services.
Under the ROM scheme, contributing retailers can access a dedicated pool of roaming security personnel to protect their people and property across the UK, as well as providing intelligence, including the COVID-19 Pandemic Resource Hub provided by strategic partner Zinc Systems, which provides real-time government and health updates, as well as situational awareness to enable optimised re-deployment of security resources.
Patrolling, keyholding, incident assistance, high-risk product protection and worker welfare checking across multiple locations are among a number of benefits provided under the new ROM umbrella, all of which are supported by appropriate technology and data sharing protocols.
The ROM model can also work collaboratively with a retailer’s existing guarding providers, many of whom may be feeling stretched by the demands placed upon them by the Coronavirus crisis.
Amberstone’s CEO, Jason Trigg, said: “This is far from business as usual because we’ve never seen anything like this during peace time. However, necessity is the mother of invention and businesses like ours and Zinc have been able to step up and respond to the requests of leading retailers in the spirit of the old wartime mantra “Keep Calm and Carry On".
“ROM works by the flexible re-deployment of guarding that is no longer required to patrol non-essential retail stores, albeit the risk of empty property vulnerability can also be part of the 24-hour shared offering on high streets or retail parks.
“This flexible approach enables retailers to be able to map their challenges and deploy a shared, cost-effective resource to whatever challenges are thrown up by the crisis – whether its conflict situations created by panic buying in supermarkets, threats and intimidation directed at delivery drivers, or even incidents of civil unrest, if necessary.
“This is a service that can be effectively flexed for the duration of the crisis or for as long as retailers need it.
“The ROM model can work directly with retailer’s or, under strict framework agreements, their approved guarding supplier to take the strain of what is happening across the UK on a day-to-day basis. We are among the top 10 guarding companies in the country and understand the pressures the sector is under – this approach to working together in partnership will help,” he added.