Access Control and Master Key Systems for the Banking Industry

By Ryan Kaullen, Field Services Manager at Kenton Brothers

Banking Client Project SpotlightWith Kenton Brothers being in business 124+ years we have seen a ton of changes in the security industry. What started out as only mechanical locks and keys has morphed into access control, camera systems, and intrusion detection. The founders of Kenton Brothers William and Leon would be shocked and excited at what this industry has become. (Both William and Leon knew how important it was to properly secure your facility.)

A trend we’ve been seeing recently is customers who spend a lot of money on their access control systems, cameras systems and intrusion  detection systems, but a lot of times keying is an afterthought (or no thought at all.) This is a mistake. Incorporating a controlled keying system helps complete your facility’s security. If a person has a key and isn’t authorized, they can do damage. It’s so important to tie all aspects of security together.

Merging the Old with the New

The question becomes how do you take something that was developed hundreds of years ago in mechanical keys and locks and have it work properly with today’s technology? The answer is planning. You plan how you want people coming in and out of your facility to have access in case of key override, power failure, safety concerns, etc. This common security need allows Kenton Brothers to create master key plans just like William and Leon did so many years ago.

An example of this in the real world is a banking customer of Kenton Brothers who ties in access control and a master key system. They have specific doors they flow traffic through and specific doors people can access via card readers, which also work using key override. The key override is driven by who should be able to access a certain space. Kenton Brothers recently did several installs for this customer allowing our mechanical and integration technicians to work hand in hand to secure their extensive facilities. As a result of being in the banking industry, this customer is on a high security system, adding another layer of security and protection to their facilities.

Banking Client Project Spotlight Banking Client Project Spotlight

Questions you can ask yourself to help better secure your facility:

  • Do I know who has keys to my facility?
  • Should all of those people have keys?
  • Do I need to restrict access to certain sections or rooms?
  • Would the security of my facility and the people and possessions in it benefit from knowing exactly who has access to the facility at any time?

If you answered yes to any of these questions and need help implementing a solution, please reach out to Kenton Brothers. We will help you properly secure your facility from keys to access control and more!

Start Strong, Finish Strong – 1 Customer, 9 Schools, 5 Different General Contractors

By Ryan Kaullen, Field Services Manager at Kenton Brothers

Start Strong, Finish StrongEarly May of 2021, Kenton Brothers was notified that we had won a commercial security project for a local school district that included 9 different school remodels with access control additions to each of the remodels. Included in the project were IP based intercoms, door release functions, web relay interfaces, and ADA integrations.

Kip Phillips was assigned as the Project Manager and I knew right away he had to Start Strong and Finish Strong because of several unique scenarios within the project.

Some of these potential challenges included:

  • Kenton Brothers was contracted directly with the school district and not the General Contractors
  • There were 9 different timelines that may or may not align depending on other trades
  • There were part logistics issues due to supply chain problems
  • Coordination with the General Contractors to ensure we installed our equipment at the right time

Kip knew that being properly prepared would allow him to maintain control of the project and be able to ensure its timely completion.

Relationship is Crucial in Complicated Projects

Start Strong, Finish StrongKenton Brothers prior relationship with the school district allowed us to not only win the job but also design exactly what the customer was needing.  Coordination began from there to align the timeline put out by the General Contractors to match what we were installing. Due to COVID, getting the parts we were contracted for took longer than normal. But there were also wait times on the parts that were needed from other trades to complete the projects.

Kip was in constant communication with everyone involved. Checking to see when parts were going to be delivered, getting them in our techs hands, and making sure the doors were in and ready for us to install the parts.

Timelines were a huge coordination component of this project. As doors and frames arrived, we had to get wiring in place so we wouldn’t get sealed out of physical places we needed to be. Sometimes, the notice that a door and frame had arrived was communicated to us the same day it was going to be installed. (Labor nightmare.) Kip had to shuffle a tech (or techs) off of one job and race over to the school district to make sure wiring was put into place quickly and correctly.

Start Strong, Finish StrongA lot of what Kenton Brothers had to do was contingent on other trades getting their work in place before we could do our work. This reality put us in a major time crunch to complete everything by the start of the school year.

Doing the Work

Kip was able to manage hundreds and hundreds of man hours spanning just a few weeks. He was able to keep everything in perspective by scheduling and organizing the techs efficiently. They knew what their tasks were each day, and they received the parts they needed.

Kip regularly attended weekly construction meetings to stay on top of everything and he provided feedback to the General Contractors, always being mindful of our deadlines. Being in constant communication with the techs, the school district, and the GCs allowed him to know where the projects stood at all times.

It helped that Kenton Brothers also had senior techs on the project… this allowed for good feedback back to Kip and our customer. The communication, the coordination, the anticipation of needs, and the strong project management allowed this project to finish successfully and on time. Our customer is happy!

This project properly aligned with the #KBWay of protecting people, property, and possessions. And we love the satisfaction of completing a project that will help the school district protect the kids and staff that work and learn in their buildings every day.

Start Strong, Finish Strong Start Strong, Finish Strong

Kenton Brothers Implements NetSuite – 5 Critical Steps to Consider

By Neal Bellamy, IT Director at Kenton Brothers

Here at Kenton Brothers, we’re investing in our systems to help support our customers, both internal and external, in a way that can make us faster to respond, with better information and with more organization than we’ve ever have had before. We’ve done this before, at least four times that I know of… the latest in 2015. At that time, we decided we could no longer have multiple areas for information and that all data had to live in one database. While that system worked from 2015 until now, we’re outgrowing its capabilities. Two years ago we set out on a quest to find out what the next system would look like.

ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning

Kenton Brothers - Netsuite ERP FeaturesERP is applicable to almost any kind of business from manufacturing to service companies to franchises. Furthermore, there are hundreds of software packages that claim to be an ERP. In some sense, they are. But their capabilities can be vastly different.

There are software packages that you can buy off the shelf and implement yourself for $40/month. And there is software that you can implement for several thousand dollars per year.

2nd Step – Evaluating Software

This brings us to our second step (Yes, I skipped the first step, hold please…) We evaluated lots of software packages, some were industry specific to physical security, some were generic and could be modified, some were specific to industries that were related to ours. That’s when we learned what the first step should have been.

1st Step – Know Your Business

Gina says, “Without a destination, any road will get you there.” In this case, if you don’t know what you want, any ERP will fit. Which is where we got stuck the first time around. There were lots of options for an ERP that might work. We really hadn’t thought about the areas that were going well, the areas that could be improved, and the areas that needed vast improvement.

We really had to step back and look at the business and decide what was most important to us. And we should have gone through this process before we started looking at software… but lessons learned. I wish that we had found some silver bullet software for our business, but what we found is some are better than others in different areas. Some give and take is required.

KB breaks the traditional mold. Sure, we’re a service company. We come out and fix things if they need to be fixed. We’re also an installation company. When something is old and needs to be replaced, or you have a new need, we do that too. But, if you just want the parts and can install it yourself, we do that as well. Finally, if you’re not sure what you need and just want experts to lead you through the entire process, that’s our bread and butter.

I’ll spare you all the details, but this ERP project was not going to be easy.

KB NetSuite Project TimelineWe talked about our business and documented what was going to be required to be successful. At the end of the day, we determined that we needed something to be flexible and “future proof”.

Once we determined what success would look like, it quickly narrowed the field of possibilities. We learned that industry specific was not going to work for us. There is no industry specific software that exists for KB.

We looked at two competing software platforms that were flexible, future proof and could be customized to KB. That’s when we realized we were going to need an expert.

3rd Step – Find an expert that you can trust.

Meridian Business worked with us early on. They talked with us about the capabilities of NetSuite, long before we decided that NetSuite was a good option. They engaged with us to learn about our business and researched solutions for our needs. Even though we looked at other solutions, we ultimately came back to Meridian Business because they know our business better than anyone else. They dedicated a lot of time and energy understanding our needs and desires.

We started our implementation with Meridian Business in November of 2020. We will go live on January 3rd, 2022. That’s more than a year of meetings, planning, and discussion. It seemed like a long time at first, but now we are 70% of the way complete it seems right on. If we could all stop business tomorrow, pluck the most knowledgeable, most valued people out of the business and sit down for 3-4 months straight, sure we could accomplish the same goal. But business can’t stop. There are customers to serve and people that need paychecks, so we must, as David says, “Paint the train while it’s moving.”

4th Step – Take the time for extensive testing.

KB NetSuite TestingOver the last 9 months, I’ve been able to engage the right people in the business to help make the right decisions. We’re not making snap decisions that are obsolete before we go live. It’s important to actively engage business leaders so they’re not overwhelmed by the coming changes.

Something I thought was odd, was the amount of time dedicated to testing. Surely if everyone knew the requirements (Step 1), testing should not take long. Boy, I was wrong.

There are two issues with requirements:

1. They are never really expressed with exact detail.
2. They are never really understood with exact detail.

Testing takes care of both issues. We have experts working through examples of our typical scenarios to determine where something isn’t right. What we’re finding is that we didn’t understand our own requirements as well as we thought we did. The result? Neither did any of the partners.

Our integration involves five different companies trying to merge their own software and ideas into our final solution. This is no small feat. Testing will take us more than two months. If I could only give you one word of advice, it would be Plan for Testing. (And don’t cheat the timeline.)

5th Step – User Training

Testing should be over soon and we’ll start user testing and training. I am sure we will find additional tweaks that we need to make to the system, but I am confident that the early groundwork we did asking lots of questions and testing our workflows will minimize the amount of work we will have to do in this step. (Famous last words, right?)

With all of the preparation, testing, and training, I know KB will be ready to provide better support to all of our customers and have a platform to lead us into the next stage of our growth. If you’re a customer or partner of Kenton Brothers, I would love to get your feedback as you begin interacting with us through our NetSuite software in January 2022. At KB, we always strive for continuous improvement which doesn’t happen without feedback. So thank you in advance… and here’s to a new and improved KB!

If you have any additional questions about our NetSuite implementation, leave a comment or give us a call!

Glazer’s Beer & Beverage Invests in Protecting Their People, Property and Possessions

We recently completed our fifth commercial security system installation for Glazer’s Beer & Beverage, this time in Waco, Texas.

Developers and Homeowners get ‘visual’ peace of mind.

By Gina Stuelke, CEO of Kenton Brothers

HOA Camera ProjectWould you like to monitor cars and people entering your subdivision? We recently installed a slick access control system to help a local developer and homeowners see vehicle activity at their entry.

Kenton Brothers Systems for Security provided a smart, cloud based video surveillance system that provides visibility of cameras with a single easy to use platform, with secure access to cameras from any location and across all types of devices.

It was important to the developer that the aesthetics of the solution be as clean and simple as possible, so as to not detract from the beauty of the entrance. Many times, security and aesthetics don’t mix. However, in this case, we created a streamlined, compact system consisting of one pole to mount the cameras in their appropriate position. This limited the amount of equipment in the landscaped entrance.

The cameras log and record object specific activities and can alert users of unusual motion in a frame. This system shares live links and footage without having to open ports or download software. With smart features that gives you everything you need to easily manage and monitor footage. Simple! And Smart!

Do you need a commercial video surveillance solution? Give us a call!