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Commando PDS Ditches Manual Processes for Business Growth

This case study features Commando Patrol and Detective Services and how they used Celayix shift-scheduling and time & attendance software to more accurately track payroll and billing and improve their employee scheduling processes.


Commando Patrol and Detective Services

Commando Patrol and Detective Services (PDS) provides armed and unarmed security and janitorial services in Washington, D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland. The company employs about 70 officers, who go onsite to provide services for military bases, dignitaries, health clinics, warehouses, retail and more.

Location: Washington, District of Columbia, USA

Industry: Security/Cleaning

Company size: 50-200 employees


When Lorette Farris purchased the company in 2007, she immediately saw the need to bring security officer scheduling processes up to date. A manual approach consumed staff time, was inconvenient for officers, and made it difficult for Farris to evaluate contracts for profitability.

“It blew me away all the work that we put in to do payroll for 70 people and invoices for 20 sites. Both were a full two-week project,” Farris said. “We were using this green ledger paper to maintain handwritten officer schedules. Only one person knew the schedules and had to call every employee on a daily basis with assignments.”

Employees also faxed in handwritten time-cards that had to be compared with employee schedules and manually entered in order to process payroll and billing. “All the focus was on compensating for what already happened in the past,” Farris said. “There was no ability to focus on bringing in new business.”

The security and janitorial firm needed to move from paper-based scheduling to improve efficiency and provide reports for contracts.


Farris quickly began researching solutions. Ultimately, she wanted something that would allow multiple staff members to access officer scheduling information, and a way to tie payroll and billing with scheduling. She evaluated several options before selecting Celayix.

Farris found Celayix the best fit for the company’s requirements, as well as provided capabilities she didn’t expect, including reporting that supports decision-making and client documentation requirements. “I wanted a system to handle employee scheduling and support billing and payroll, and found one that covers much more,” she said.

Commando PDS deployed Celayix over its local area network, enabling everyone in the office to access the same employee schedule information. Implementation took place over one weekend with a Celayix consultant assisting – resulting in an extremely smooth deployment. The consultant also helped match Celayix to the company’s specific requirements.

“Our consultant was phenomenal,” Farris said. “He was patient and instrumental in helping me understand the system’s capabilities and making it do what we needed.”

“Fifty percent of two individuals’ time has totally changed by implementing Celayix. Now they can spend time recruiting and growing the business….it saves us manpower and accuracy.”

Lorette Farris, President


Improved employee satisfaction with schedules sent in advance

As staff members create employee schedules, they email or fax them to officers – instead of personally calling every single officer. If they change anything, they simply resend the employee schedule. The ease of scheduling and notifying officers enables Commando PDS to get employee schedules out two weeks sooner than before.

“Officers can better control their own daily lives because they’re not receiving employee schedules at the last minute,” Farris said. “It’s clearly improved morale.”

Plus, everyone in the office knows which officers are working at which sites. For Farris, that means more awareness and control over operations.

Accurate attendance tracking for payroll and billing

With the implementation of Celayix, Commando PDS took several steps out of its daily routine. 

Officers call in into Celayix which automatically records the time, allowing the company to begin processing payroll and billing immediately. This saves time that would’ve otherwise been spent on data entry.

“Everything goes right into the system and there’s no duplication,” Farris said. “Our Human Resources staff spent one to two hours every morning listening to messages and posting time in a spreadsheet. It saves us manpower and accuracy.” Overall time-savings truly add up. 

“Fifty percent of two individuals’ time has totally changed by implementing Celayix,” Farris said. “Now, they can spend time recruiting and growing the business.”

Better planning with Celayix’s reporting features

Farris frequently reviews Celayix reports to ensure officers are scheduled in a way that minimizes employee overtime. That allows her and the staff to shift officers around proactively.

Having scheduling software, and the ability to provide reports, has influenced at least three project bids. Those all required that Commando PDS provide reports of deployments, which would have been significantly more time-consuming before Celayix.

“On one contract, the ability to provide our time-sheets for approval turned out to the smoothest process I’ve ever dealt with,” she said. “The customer was blown away by how quickly we could provide reporting on site coverage. When it comes to contracts that call for reporting, Celayix is instrumental.”

Reporting also enables Farris to determine the profitability of contracts much more easily. “I can now make clear business decisions on whether existing contracts are profitable, and make new bids based on that historical information. It’s not only a tool to understand the past, but to predict and plan for the future. We’re making smarter decisions.”

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