Why a Visitor Management System is Important to Facility Managers

Across health care systems, school districts, government agencies, and other organizations, facility managers face a multitude of responsibilities related to infrastructure maintenance tasks that range from maintaining building codes, scheduling fire marshal inspections, call contractors to upkeep and respond to unexpected malfunctioning equipment. Nonetheless, other concerns include some level of preparation to ensure safety and security measures that would mitigate and immediately resolve any accidents or emergencies. Additionally, meet the compliance rules from regulatory bodies such as OSHA. These are just a few reasons why a visitor management is important for a facility manager to consider.

Safety and Security of People

Among the different considerations, facility managers need to review the importance of safety and security for their employees, faculty members, students, and visitors. While some facilities operate within close doors, the number of daily visitors is probably low. This would imply that their only visitor will probably be from the postman, lunch delivery, or an occasional service visit to adjust the air conditioning system. Alternatively, due to the operating nature of some organizations, people are expected to arrive at a facility to conduct business or request services.

Assess Your Practical Security Needs and Solutions

While access control systems can lock doors to prevent and regulate access to sensitive areas such as electrical rooms, executive offices, or employee only areas. Realistically, such systems cannot be deployed throughout the entirety of a facility because they would hinder the flow of expected visitors, specially at a main entrance. Plus it is not reasonable to deploy an access control system to prevent or regulate the entrance of the general public, when in fact the purpose of the organization is to serve the general public. Consider the following obvious examples: hospital emergency rooms, school districts, government facilities like a court house or county jail.

Therefore, depending on the organization and service to the community, the volume of people visiting can range from tens, hundreds, or thousands per day. This means that the dynamic volume of daily visitors can add another layer of uncertainty that would require the attention of facility managers to ensure the safety and security of employees and visitors from emergencies that would stem from both natural (e.g., earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, or snow storms) and from man made sources (e.g., active shooter, arson, fighting, theft, or workplace violence) - where such emergencies may result in financial and legal burdens.

Who is Entering Your Facility?

Nevertheless, facility managers should have some understanding and control over who is entering and exiting their buildings at all times. In doing so, facility managers would comfort employees by allowing them to know that proper protocols are in place to ensure a safe and secure operational environment. A visitor management system is important because having such control is a deterrent for those individuals considering even to arrive with capricious or malicious intents. These intentions can range from harassment, theft, vandalism, and violence. Unfortunately, in some cases, after an event occurs then facility managers would ask why did we not have a system in place, and in such situantions then the importance becomes clearer.

Paper and Pencil Method is a Thing of the Past

For decades, at the majority of lobbies or front desk entrances, the common first line of defense has been paper and pencil, in the form of a log book also commonly referred to as the sign-in sheet. And perhaps in low visitor traffic facilities (e.g., less than five per day), the hand written method has proven to be effective and will probably suffice current and future needs for a facility manager to establish some form of access control. Additionally, in low traffic visitor facilities, a receptionist would probably ensure better control with a friendlier approach. Simply because they would have more time to carefully screen the visitor by engaging in a brief interview to understand their reason for visit, review their handwritten name on the log book, verify their identity against presented identification document, make a phone call to the employee (i.e., person to see). In some cases, even offer to choose from a selection of refreshments, and perhaps even walk the visitor, so they do not get lost, over to their intended department, location, or person to see. You could make the observation, that in these cases visitors are greeted with some level of gracious hospitality. However, with todays technology, one would ask why are some organizations still using paper and pencil at the main entrance?

FAST-PASS 7 paper and pencil method

What About Facilities with High Visitor Volume?

Nonetheless, in high traffic areas (e.g., 100, 3,000 or more per day) the luxury of screening visitors on a one-on-one basis, with a personalized approach may not be possible due to limited personnel resources able to conduct a careful visitor screening and timing constraints would simply create pressure to process as many visitors as possible. In these conditions, a visitor management becomes ever so important to handle high volumes of visitors. In such demanding and extreme scenarios, technology can bring efficiency and multiply the efforts of a receptionist and facility manager. In other words, a visitor management system can help with the important task of crowd management. And the question of why? is aswered with an objective solution to a problem.

Here is another simple example why a visitor management system is important. Imagine the quality of handwriting that visitors have to write their own names, while some would have a steady hand grip and technique to write each letter and render a readable name, others will be challenging to decipher. Moreover, most visitors would be honest in writing their true names while some visitors would venture to write fictitious names. Therefore, the combination of high traffic visitors, false identities, and poor legible names can certainly represent a challenge, and compounded by the manual work load to extract any meaningful data to deliver clear and concise information, that can be delivered in a reasonable time to assist with any form of analysis for planning or investigation are influential reasons for having a visitor management system.

About The FAST-PASS 7 Visitor Management System

Since 2000, SISCO has delivered enterprise visitor management systems that are capable of handling high volumes of visitors per day. And over the years, we have have learned to better answer why a visitor management system is important, and we believe that we can help you with answering some important questions related visitor management. The FAST-PASS 7 system is scalable, where it can be initially deployed to a few select locations and as time unfolds and demand requirements become noticeable, more locations can be added to process more visitors. The system is capable of capturing a Live Photo of the person, parse the data from a State Driver’s License, conduct a background check, print a custom pass, and send notifications based on activity rules. Also importantly, store all the data collected in a secure SQL database engine that can facilitate analysis and investigative tasks more practical through user driven reporting queries. The visitor pass below is an actual example of a visitor pass template designed with FAST-PASS 7 and it illustrates the formatting ability to design a pass with different colors and font styles.

FASt-PASS 7 construction site pass

FAST-PASS 7 Dynamic Charts

Dynamic Charts provide a concise historical view of visitor volume activity, which can provide an essential item of information for an organization. Likewise, Dynamic Charts can provide a visual sense of the visitation activity and some clarity to the important consideration of assessing risk. For example, an organization can review conditions or events that were peculiar to a period of time and proceed to identify key factors that would help explain certain visitation behaviors. The Dynamic Charts can help uncover certain patterns which may have some predictive value in planning for emergencies, evacuations, fire drills and other events.

At a glance, the new Dynamic Charts in FAST-PASS 7 will provide visual information with statistical standard chart types that include bar charts, pie charts, and histograms with auto color-coding and scaling to represent the data with proportionate size. As humans, vision is a dominant sense because we have the ability to take abstract information and derive relationships to uncover meaningful patterns in data.

Avatar Erci Moisa, MBA