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Tops Grup - Specialist in security

Diwan Rahul Nanda, MD and group CEOTops Grup, which specializes in corporate and industrial security, has just upgraded its Pune office from a branch office to a regional one. The company started operations in 1970 when it pioneered industrial security in the country.

The company is in the process of introducing a countrywide radio trunk networking service and setting up intricate electronics surveillance systems in industrial and commercial establishments. Investigating competitive malpractice and industrial espionage, spurious product introduction, and copyright infringement of software and media products also form part of the company’s list of activities.

Not content with such a wide array of services, it plans to take on some more! On the cards is corporate security training, and cash management services, where it sees a major market. The latter is big business given the spread of automatic teller machines (ATMs) across the country.

"Earlier we thought that cash management services meant transferring cash from one location to another. Today it means a whole lot more, with the installation of ATMs across the country. Besides providing the physical security, it also means understanding the complex technology of the ATMs, replenishing cash, accounting for it, understanding the codes, and changing cassettes. Above all, you need to build up a high degree of credibility," says Aneel Khanna, chief operating officer of Tops Grup.

On guardCash management services will also extend to supermarkets and other chain stores, as also precious cargo transportation, such as bullion and diamonds. To gear up to the task, the company proposes to acquire the appropriate capability, including equipment, armoured vehicles and technology. In order to equip itself better to handle such high technology security, the company plans to enter into a technical or joint venture collaboration with an overseas organisation.

The other area where Tops Grup plans to branch out is into corporate security training. According to Khanna, it is not the responsibility of the security staff alone to maintain the security of the organisation. The company's staff, he reckoned, is equally responsible, and need to be trained to cope with emergency situations. The corporate training would involve evacuation drills, fire fighting, installing of systems and panic diffusing measures, as also personal protection in hazardous zones.

The company plans to expand its branch activities to cover 85 cities by March 2002, from 79 at present and hope to make it to Rs. 100 crore mark from the present turnover of Rs. 52 crores. The final objective is to turn the company into a global player, extend its activities beyond the country's boundaries, and get publicly listed.

However, what really irks the Company Management is the absence of 'industry' status for the security business, and this, Khanna asserts, needs urgent overhaul. A major grouse is the neglect shown by banks with most of them not very forthcoming with their schemes, especially when, in the day of high technology security needs, it is imperative that security companies need to equip themselves with the right infrastructure and expertise, which invariably calls for timely investments.

VIP protection service.Tops Grup, in its bid to achieve industry status for the sector, has taken the initiative of setting its own house in order. The company has obtained ISO certification. It has also initiated steps to revamp the Security Agencies Association, moving towards self-regulation, and getting involved in citizen protection groups along with the state police to monitor residential belts.

Considering that this sector is largely unorganised, with only a handful of organised players most of them with a regional presence, the task is indeed a complex one. But, as Khanna rightly puts it, security is a vital need, and this sector is a significant employer, employing over 10 lakh people. Valued at Rs. 1,500 crore, and growing at the rate of 20 per cent annually an industry status should not be too far away.

163-1A, Adarsh Colony, Vishrantwadi, Pune-411037;


By Rahul Surkund

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