A look at how Suresh Kumar K, AGM & Group IT – Head, Chemmanur International Group, secured his company's 160 outlets by innovative use of IT
Established in 1863 in Kerala, Chemmanur International Group today has multiple branches across the globe. The company manages about 160 outlets (30 jewelry showrooms outside India, 115 NBFC branches and 10 micro finance branches across Kerala) dealing in jewelry, gold loan and microfinance.
As all these branches deal with cash transactions and gold business transactions, having a strong security infrastructure in place is of top priority for the company. Keeping this in mind, Chemmanur has state-of-the-art technology ((camera, intrusion prevention systems, burglar alarm etc) deployed at all its locations. To backup this infrastructure, the company also employs 350 security men to guard its outlets throughout day and night.
Despite this robust security set up comprising technology and manpower, the top management in the company still spent sleepless nights.
“While the technology was in place, we were still dependent on manned security. Given the lackadaisical attitude of most guards, we were never sure if they were doing their duty properly during the night. There were times when we found the guards drunk or off to watch a movie,” says Suresh Kumar K, AGM & Group IT – Head, Chemmanur International Group.
Although there was a night patrol (a vehicle with one driver and two people) in each city to keep a tab on the guards, it was expensive.
IT Controls Manned Security
To overcome the bottleneck, Kumar decided to use technology innovatively. As the 160 outlets were already connected through VPN because of business reasons, he decided to make use of it.
“The connectivity across locations was already there and maximizing its potential, we deployed an RFID reader outside each branch. It cost only Rs. 2500-3000. These were connected though biometric devices. The RFID readers were in turn connected to a card reader outside and the security personnel were given cards, which they had to punch hourly from 7PM to 7AM,” said Kumar.
Through the VPN, the data from the card reader comes to the central server. Each branch is given a specific card ID. In the case of a guard not registering his attendance, the system will first check if the solution is accessible or not. In case the solution is connected and yet the guard hasn’t punched, the system will send a voice call to the security guard’s mobile number.
The call will be repeated three times and then it will be re-directed to the control room. The person at the control room will manually call the branch while the system will, at the same time, generate a penalty.
In the case of the solution being down, the guard can give a missed call on a virtual number every one hour, and the system will capture the virtual data into the report.
Better Manageability, Healthier Bottom line
Kumar’s security punching system has delivered tangible benefits for the company.
“While earlier we were under pressure, the security agency is now under pressure to ensure the presence of guards. This has improved our physical security by several notches,” he said.
There has also been savings in fuel and salary by doing away with the patrol. This has directly impacted the bottom line for the company.
“Another advantage is the clarity of information. Earlier, the manager at each location used to send us the register with the attendance signatures to release the salaries. Now this is streamlined. The salaries are now being generated through the system, thereby bringing transparency into the system,” Kumar added.