Online forum of the largest security companies in the region

The General Director of BESA SECURITY, Mr. Granit Hasani, represented Kosovo in the online forum organized together with the leaders of the security industry from: Bosnia & Herzegovina (also organizer’s country of origin), Slovenia, Croatia, Northern Macedonia, Serbia, and Montenegro.

In this online forum the panelists presented and discussed how COVID-19 is affecting the security industry, how they are adapting to this situation and the new shifted product and services offered.

Below you may find the speech of Mr. Granit Hasani:

Dear online forum organizers, dear panelists, dear colleagues, dear online guests,

First of all, I hope that this online forum finds you all in good health and good emotional state, during these difficult circumstances. All of us are facing a lot of uncertainty, during this time of global pandemic time. Even though, we are certain that this pandemic has affected all society aspects, including our industry of security.

Secondly, I would like to thank the organizers a&a Adria magazine for being always up to date with organizations and bringing us together in order to learn more from each other and share our experiences, from which we may benefit.\

Thirdly, I would like to inform you that our company has been taking early protection measures learning from our partners in the region, which shared with us the difficulties of operation as security companies.

Therefore, we asked for meetings with Police, operations and planification department and we disclosed our concerns of facing movement difficulties with staff. We shared the list of staff with them and declared that all our staff will be equipped with protection products. After that we had an allowance for movement. But very fast everything was in good order and it was very well managed all aspects from current Ministers.

Nonetheless, we have dismissed some of the staff, with payed leaves, and even have ceased or lost some contracts, which brought burden to our company budget.

Now, I would like to address the questions of orientation of my speech provided priorly from organizers.

Q1 – The economy is stalled and many companies are prevented from operating during the pandemic. Which verticals are most affected? Have you already faced the cancellation or delay of projects and investments?

– In Kosovo, retail stores other than grocery stores, pharmacies and bakeries have been affected the most. Usually in these stores we have installed alarm systems which we also monitor. They are closed and they are asking for not paying or postponing their payments. On the other hand, we are obliged to keep offering them security services by monitoring their signals, patrolling, and even intervention in cases of alarm. In addition, we have in these retail shops we have been always installing cameras for the first time or even upgrading from analog to IP systems, for which we have been paused for these 1 and a half months.
– Other affected projects are tenders in institutions which I would like to mention two cases, one is an institution in which we were contracted to install security equipment, including access control system. We had the possibility to install other equipment within the early march 2020, but we could not install the access control equipment due to impossibility of access control company to supply us due to Corona virus time. The other project is maintaining surveillance cameras in an institution all over Kosovo locations. We could not do the service/maintenance again due to Corona Virus because the client did not want to make contacts during this time.

Q2 – Have you had any problems procuring safety equipment from suppliers or manufacturers?

– Actually, luckily for disinfectants in end of February 2020, we were equipped with disinfectants in the building, and we started to use them in entrance of premises/offices. However, the prices started to rise rapidly for Covid-19 protection products. Yet, after a fast response from agency of competition in cooperation with Tax Administrator these suppliers were punished with 6 to 30 thousand Euros. Thus, prices started immediately to fall. In addition, Besa Security ordered since 26 February 2020, for our 1000 employees, 1000 thousand reusable masks, with tested filters, but due to one supplier available for this type, and orders within the same time with banks, we had to take them part by part. This issue raised our costs, because we had to supply many of our guards and patrols with disposable masks until we were able to supply them with reusable masks. I also want to thank many of the clients, especially banks, that helped us supply our guards with disposable masks during this time. Furthermore, we have equipped our CIT/patrols/technical teams with car disinfectant sprays for their vehicle masks and equipment as well as disinfectant tissues, in addition to masks and disposable gloves. It is also worth mentioning that to these teams we have also supplied with vitamins with natural ingredients with vitamin C and D, and 11 other immune benefits.

Q3 – Due to reduced revenue or difficult collection, companies are forced to offer additional services to generate greater profits during this state of emergency. Have you offered any new services, online training, reduced margins, etc.?

– Actually, we tried to shift man guarding services to monitoring services alarm monitoring + video surveillance, however, very few businesses from those that were closed shifted to this service until now. Considering that they are having difficulties on paying on time, we are “forcing” them to decide to shift to these services.
– In addition, yesterday, biggest companies of Kosovo had a meeting with Economic Chamber of Commerce to discuss about our concerns and our suggestions for returning back to business and with what measures. During this meeting, the president of Economic Chamber of Commerce said that he want to propose to government to engage our security patrols to do policing in the streets if we see crowds of people or more than two people together without the distance and not heaving the protection measures.
– Yet, during this time we have used the opportunity to think of reorganization as per ISO 9001 standard, what should we change to provide better and faster services, etc.

Q4 – Has the demand for certain security products and solutions increased, such as thermal cameras, contactless and mobile access control, GPS, digital signatures, VPNs…

– In general we are installing security equipment, but at a lower scale.
– The demand has certainly increased for such solution, however, all vertical markets are trying to cut costs. Therefore, when we are sending the prices, many of them are delaying or postponing their decisions. Yet, I believe that after we start returning to our business with a lot of higher costs of space, protection measures expenses, businesses will all think again of making the extra investment on using thermal cameras with smart features that ask for wearing masks and warn it loudly if someone has high temperature.
– This shift in demand of thermal cameras and heat checkers have also alerted the agency for data protection and privacy, because of face detection features and information scanned and saved in businesses without getting a written confirmation from clients, which of course is time consuming and needs a lot of organization and human resources to be engaged.
– In addition, as we are all aware, cyber attacks have increased rapidly and we all are hearing and having some experiences. Such digitalized information with many benefits for the society for preventing pandemic disease, is also a threat back to us or our clients.

In conclusion, as antient Greeks said, along with each crises follow other opportunities. Therefore, let us take of these new opportunities to reshape our services and be creative to emerge from the pandemic crises and become even stronger than before. As they say, what doesn’t kill you, will make you stronger.

Stay positive, stay healthy, all the best to all of you from Kosova!

Thank you!