Criticom trims its central stations

Monday, July 1, 2002

MANASQUAN, N.J.-Almost a year after announcing the merger of King-Monital with Minneapolis-based International Dispatch Center to form monitoring powerhouse Criticom International, that company is wrapping up a central station consolidation plan that will centralize operations for the new company.

The plan, which calls for the closing of two central stations and the expansion of another, is expected to be complete by the beginning of the fourth quarter of this year, said Tom Few, Sr., chairman and chief executive officer of Criticom.

The changes, which will affect operations on both coasts, have already wrapped up in New Jersey, where King Central's Hackensack central station and offices have been relocated to Monital's former headquarters here, Few said. Both offices were located within a hour of each other, with the bulk of the employees opting to relocate to the new location, he said.

Criticom employees are faced with a similar situation in California, where operations at the company's Van Nuys central station will be closed by the end of July and relocated to an existing central station in Santa Fe Springs. The two locations in California were also located about an hour from each other.

"We always had double the capacity to expand since we moved in (to Santa Fe Springs), but we were only using half the space," Few said. Renovations that will expand the Santa Fe Springs facility, including doubling the workstations to 30 and reconfiguring the layout for better space utilization, are expected to be completed by late fall.

While Criticom expects to soon be able to "reap the economies of scale" in its consolidation project, Few said that the company is focused on the long-term goals of better operations management through a smaller number of facilities and a cleaner, more organized network of central stations each focused on dedicated tasks.

While all three centrals will be capable of handling an alarm from anywhere in the country, the Manasquan and Santa Fe Springs locations will serve as the hubs, while the former IDC facility in Minneapolis will field signals from the company's most sophisticated monitoring services, such as GPS tracking and other developing technologies. In the advent of an emergency, all traffic can be routed to any one of the central stations, essentially giving Criticom triple redundancy, Few said.

The company also maintains dealer care centers in locations in Florida, Atlanta, Detroit, Michigan, and in Roseville, Calif.

Criticom expects to unveil a dealer program for its GPS operations in the next six to eight months, Few said.