Central relocates, upgrades

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Wednesday, June 1, 2005

WESTMINSTER, Mass.--SimplexGrinnell invested in its central station operations this year--moving its primary monitoring facility in April to a better designed and newly equipped building here and relocating its back-up center to Missouri from Florida.
Better known for its fire alarm, fire sprinkler, fire suppression and integrated security products and services, SimplexGrinnell, a unit of Tyco Fire & Security, monitors approximately 44,000 accounts that are 90-percent fire related, primarily for schools, offices and healthcare facilities.
With the company transitioning manufacturing activities to other parts of the country and world, SimplexGrinnell decided to relocate the central station to the first floor of its four-story executive building here, called the Center of Excellence. The 3,000-square-foot facility is not much bigger than the former space the station occupied.
"We pretty much built this so that we can support any direction the business moves in," said Mark Baker, director of IT customer services. The company is now exploring video monitoring.
Anything that could have been installed brand new was to prevent any failures down the road, according Baker.
"We live by redundancy, everything is redundant after redundant," he said. "Everybody has something that keeps them up at night. Mine is we go down."
The company's central monitoring manager, Lisa Ellison, believes the redesign has helped improve workflow and communication among the station's employees. "Our staff is happy we did the upgrade; it's made our jobs easier," she said.
Six months were spent planning the move, but the actual time it took to relocate took about six days. The existing site was kept operational.
Formerly based in Boca Raton, Fla., SimplexGrinnell's backup central is located in Kansas City.
"The fact that Florida is the lightning strike capital of the world" explains the reasoning behind the move, said Baker.
"It's been a best kept secret for a long time," said Mike Lohr, director of service marketing at the company.