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Once all the preliminary groundwork has been laid, it's time to move on to the vendor selection. The goal at this point is to ensure that each vendor understands the entire scope of the project and that the pricing is submitted in a format that allows for effective review and approval. As well, facility managers need to verify that the vendor is qualified to install, maintain and support the system.
In a pre-bid meeting, facility managers meet with prequalified integrators that have proven capability of installing security systems in the local market. The integrators are provided with a design overview and walkthrough of the facility. This meeting gives vendors the opportunity to submit questions, which should be answered in writing.
Once the bids are submitted, the facility management team reviews them and ensures the design and installation requirements for the specified systems are met. At this point, it can be beneficial to tour sites where the vendor has already installed systems. This provides an opportunity to review the quality of the work and to spend time with staff from an organization that has used the integrator in the recent past.
Shortlisted vendors are invited to a de-scope meeting to discuss the project in detail with the facility manager. Questions from all parties should be addressed at this meeting and, if appropriate, vendors can resubmit their proposals and pricing. Once the selection is made, it is customary to call each vendor personally with the decision and follow up with an official award notice letter.
Now that the purchasing decision has been made, implementation. At this point, facility managers will want to ensure the installation of the system is on time and on budget, the system specified is professionally installed and that it functions in a manner consistent with the operational and technical specifications.
During implementation, facility managers should review schedules, plans and specifications with the vendor and conduct periodic review meetings. At these, construction progress reports can be discussed and vendor drawings and submittals reviewed. As well, facility managers should conduct quality assurance tests, review the site and materials, and review any change orders.
Once the project is complete, a few last steps remain. These involve compliance approval, final (as-built) drawing approval, system testing, final inspections, oversight of end user training and a review of the operations and maintenance manuals.
Following this proven methodology will result in the procurement and installation of an integrated security system that will meet the current and future needs of any organization. This will include proper product selection and implementation by a qualified vendor that will install, support and maintain the system. The systems installed will be both operationally and economically efficient, achieving buy-in from multiple departments.
Daniel O'Neill is senior vice president of TSG Solutions, Inc. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Douglas Early is business development manager with the firm.
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