Cost optimization and operational competitiveness among private security firms in Nairobi county, Kenya
The purpose of the research study was to establish cost optimization practices and operational competitiveness in private security firms in Nairobi County. The research design employed was a census survey. A total of twenty nine private security companies who are members of KISA in Nairobi County were targeted. The respondents were the heads of departments in the security firms. Data was collected by mean of a questionnaire using a drop and pick later method. The response rate achieved was 54.3% and this was considered adequate for analysis and reporting. The research study revealed that the firms that were surveyed 84.1% of the respondents were male while 15.9 % were female an indication that recruitment policies are not gender sensitive. It was also revealed that most of the heads of departments were aged over 30 years were 79.4%. Departmental heads with college and university education level was high at 89.5 %. The study revealed that a large number of the firms were either foreign or jointly owned by foreign and local. Out of the 29 companies surveyed 36.6 % were locally owned. Companies that were foreign owned accounted for 17.5% while 46 % were both local and foreign. The presence of foreign ownership heightened the level of competition to world class status. The research study also revealed that most heads of departments had worked for more than two years for their respective companies. The research study revealed that the main services offered were private guarding, alarm response, dog services, training, cash- in-transit and courier services. Guarding service had a score of 4.7 measured on a scale of 1 to 5. (5= very large extent, 4=large extent, 3= moderate 2=least, 1=not used). Alarm response was 3.9, dog services, training 3.5, cash in transit 2.7 and a courier service was 2.7.other services proved but moderate extent included close protection, fire fighting events management escort services, facilities management, consultancy and investigation services. Cost optimization varied in extent with benchmarking ranking highest on a scale of 1 to 5 where 5 was to very large extent. Quality management had a score of 4.06, benchmarking 3.9, six-sigma 3.82, innovation 3.76, kaizen 3.71 and JIT 3.65. The researcher concluded that since the some of the practices had lower scores than others, there is need to use an approach that incorporates all the practices.