Magazine article Security Management

Guest System A Welcome Change

Magazine article Security Management

Guest System A Welcome Change

Article excerpt

The Northfield, Illinois, headquarters of Kraft Foods houses about 3,000 employees. The staff receives about 150 visitors a day, a number that has been steadily increasing due to business developments. In the summer of 2000, Kraft Foods' Corporate Security Director Greg Halvacs set out to help his company's visitors feel more welcome.

Halvacs felt that the log-in book the visitors signed on arrival lacked a personal touch. Since many visitors were strategic partners, Halvacs believed that the system should also have more panache.

Another issue was the need for better tracking of visitors. After the visitor signed in, the receptionist phoned the employee being visited. That employee then came down to the reception area and escorted the visitor to his or her destination. When leaving the building, visitors were requested to sign out. However, visitors often forgot this step, making the log books ineffectual as tracking devices.

Unsure whether he wanted to upgrade his existing employee access control and badging system to include visitor badging or purchase a standalone system, Halvacs researched a number of products, interviewed vendors, and talked to colleagues. He decided to purchase a separate system devoted to visitor badging. Upgrading the existing system, Halvacs determined, would be too costly and time consuming.

After narrowing the field to two systems, Halvacs viewed demonstrations and interviewed customers. In the end, he chose the Easy Lobby visitor badging system manufactured by Easy Lobby of Newton, Massachusetts. "The selling point was a feature that allows us to scan the visitor's business card onto a badge," says Halvacs. "We liked the personal touch of this feature."

The system is composed of a software package (which runs on a standard PC), a thermal printer, and a business card scanner. The $2,000 cost of the system includes training for employees. …

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