Preventative Maintenance for Executive Protection 1024 768 ESLNA
Preventative Maintenance for Executive Protection

Preventative Maintenance for Executive Protection

Executive protection programs, much like any complex system, are prone to wear and tear, and occasional malfunctions. While some issues can be difficult to identify and avoid, akin to a lone nail puncturing a tire on miles of road, most problems can be preempted through proactive measures. As the old adages say, “a stitch in time saves nine” and “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Engineers categorize maintenance into three approaches, which can also be applied to executive protection. However, preventive maintenance is the most crucial aspect that requires the most attention.

  1. Breakdown maintenance: Don’t wait to prevent failure

Like sharp nails piercing new tires, even well-run executive protection teams can face unexpected challenges. When issues arise, be it with personnel, protocols, or technology, they must be remedied. However, relying solely on breakdown maintenance is not the most effective approach to maintenance.

Waiting for things to break before addressing them often results in more unpredictable and extended periods of downtime, and ultimately proves to be more costly than adopting a preventive maintenance strategy. This applies to both machines and executive protection programs in the long run.

  1. Preventive maintenance: Examining and maintaining items to avert unexpected breakdowns, as well as identifying and repairing minor issues before they escalate into major ones.

There are numerous compelling reasons to adopt a proactive approach to maintaining executive protection programs. First and foremost, preventive maintenance significantly reduces the likelihood of program failure. While poorly maintained programs can impact a principal’s productivity, in extreme cases, they can put their safety at risk. However, there are other compelling reasons why preventive maintenance is a wise choice in executive protection, including:

  • Poorly maintained programs can result in wasted time, money, and other headaches, including career setbacks.
  • Changes in the threat landscape and advancements in technology necessitate ongoing program adaptations.
  • Preventable failures within protective teams, big or small, can undermine the trust essential for program success.
  • Preventive maintenance not only saves downtime and money compared to breakdown maintenance but also provides more predictable downtimes because maintenance is scheduled, not random.
  • It develops people: Proactive maintenance focuses managers and agents on critical matters, builds skillsets and develops people.

While preventive maintenance is not free, determining whether it is worth the time and effort involves a simple cost-benefit calculation: preventive maintenance is economically viable when its costs are lower than not doing it.

  1. Predictive maintenance: Enhancing individuals, procedures, and technology to further enhance the effectiveness of preventive maintenance.

Predictive maintenance strategies are commonly used in manufacturing to schedule the most appropriate time for corrective maintenance. Unlike time-based preventive maintenance, predictive maintenance leverages data and analytic processes to execute “just-in-time” fixes, allowing machines to operate as long as feasible before deciding to halt and perform maintenance. This enhances machine uptime. However, examples of this approach in executive protection are not immediately apparent because data collection and analysis in the industry are still not widespread. Nonetheless, we believe this will change in the future when the adoption of apps such as Protection Manager becomes more prevalent.

The four pillars of preventive maintenance in executive protection.

Executive protection managers should consider four key issues as essential to preventive maintenance:

Training: Sustainment training is critical to maintaining the perishable skills required for executive protection. Ongoing training and assessments are necessary to ensure the team is always ready to handle any situation. (insert link to sustainment training blog)

Quality Control: QC is a critical component of any preventive maintenance program, as it allows managers to identify what is working and what is not. It is essential to have reliable methods of detecting and evaluating small issues before they turn into significant problems. Many contemporary executive protection programs are seeking formalized and intentional quality control procedures. However, as there is no recognized international standard for executive protection, each program must establish its own quality control process. A good model to emulate is the ISO standard for quality management systems, which can be tailored to be more relevant to executive protection. ISO provides internationally recognized processes that are easily understood by the businesses we serve. In addition to managing quality, dependable QC systems also promote alignment between principals, other stakeholders in client organizations, and executive protection providers, as well as improve quality engagement between providers and clients.

HR development: Talent recruitment and development are essential for maintaining a strong executive protection program. However, very few Fortune 500 HR departments have experience with executive protection agents or managers. It takes both domain expertise and HR savvy to build effective personnel evaluations and career plans.

Alignment: Reliable quality control systems can help align the frames of reference between principals, stakeholders, and executive protection providers, resulting in improved engagement between providers and clients.

Quality engagement with the client organization: To practice preventive maintenance, executive protection managers should establish and maintain effective communication channels with client organizations. Regular sharing of expectations and evaluations against agreed quality parameters ensures alignment and prevents program failure. While executive protection teams may not like hearing questions such as “Why are you here?” or “What does your team do, anyway?”, they should be prepared to answer them upfront and whenever they are brought up by the principal or people in their orbit. Quality engagement reduces the need for such questions. Maintaining transparency and trust through effective and regular communication of the features, benefits, and value-add of the protective program is critical. Formalizing and scheduling this communication, for example in quarterly business reviews, is an invaluable component of preventive maintenance.

Let us know your thoughts…..