Many dealerships over their lifetime will experience an instance of theft or vandalism.

Our primary merchandise – new and used vehicles – is displayed outside to promote easy viewing, and many of us have thousands, if not millions, of dollars invested in parts to support our service operations. That’s a lot of capital tied up in merchandise that cannot be easily restored or recovered if vandalized or stolen.

Fortunately, in my 35-year career, I haven’t had to address an instance of theft or vandalism. This, however, doesn’t mean I haven’t prepared for an incident.

As part of a recent facility renovation at the dealership I manage, I made the decision to invest in a new security system. The system, installed by Scanner Technologies of Mineola, NY, features intrusion and video surveillance protections, as well as remote service capabilities.

While the traditional benefits of a security system are obvious – incident prevention and detection – I found there are a lot of business benefits as well. Like any dealership, I need to provide my employees with convenient access to the facility and its operational areas, so they can efficiently go about their work. This means trusting my staff with personal security codes to arm and disarm the system.

For employees, having open access to the dealership comes with a lot of responsibility, and it has to be used properly. I cannot have team members providing after-hours tours to friends or bringing their vehicle into the service center to conduct maintenance.

With the previous security system, monitoring who disarmed and armed the system was a complex and timing consuming process. I’d receive reports from the security dealer, but they were not user friendly and required matching codes to employees’ names.

To eliminate this problem, the new security system takes advantage of Honeywell Total Connect Remote Services. The Internet-based platform provides me with the capability to manage the security system from anywhere I have Internet access, including my iPhone and iPad.

The mobility of the security system has added a lot of value to my work and daily responsibilities. I have peace of mind that the dealership is being opened on time and the security alarm is being activated after closing. Through Honeywell Total Connect I receive instant email notifications when the security system is armed and disarmed.

This is especially convenient if the dealership is closed and I don’t receive a notification that the security system has been armed. Instead of having to drive back to the dealership to activate the system, I can easily login from my home computer, iPhone or iPad to activate it. And with video surveillance, I can even remotely verify that no team members are still onsite before arming.

Managing remotely also has made it easy for me to integrate the system into my daily work routine.

My schedule is rarely consistent and, like most dealerships, we are open six days a week. Being able to check in on the dealership remotely and receive automatic notifications that it’s being opened and closed on time each day, provides a lot of peace of mind. And if a situation arises, I can monitor it from anywhere I have Internet access.

For instance, we had a window shattered by a pebble thrown from a vehicle’s tire as it drove by the dealership. In the past, I would have had to go to the dealership to take care of the incident. But with remote services I was able to access the camera feeds and monitor the event from home.

In this case, the video footage allowed us to determine how the window was broken, and that it wasn’t an attempted theft or act of vandalism. Without the footage, it’s highly unlikely we would have found out how the window was broken.

As the dealer principle, I’m responsible for the dealership’s daily operations and keeping things running smoothly. Unexpectedly, I’ve found a helpful ally in a security system with remote services. It has given me greater visibility into the dealership’s operations and greater peace of mind knowing I can easily check on things from anywhere.

Rick Volpe is dealer principal of Van Buren Buick GMC in Garden City, NY, and not affiliated with Scanner Technologies or Honeywell Total Connect. He can be contacted at rvvolpe@vanburenauto.com.