SECURITY INDUSTRY distributors are at risk of being “left behind” unless they work harder to reassert their position within the supply chain. That’s the stark warning from Evolution, the integrated fire and security systems business, which believes that distributors could benefit from much closer working relationships with integrators and other partners in order to better understand the technology they’re selling and, in tandem, the real value it can deliver.
“For a long time now,” asserted Brendan McGarrity (director of Evolution Risk & Design), “the security industry has followed a distinct pattern of manufacturers, distributors and installers working in the same supply chain. These ‘traditional’ models are swiftly being abandoned, with distributors slowly squeezed out of the industry as the end user becomes more informed.”
McGarrity continued: “Unless they take action now, there’s a very real danger of distributors being considered – unfairly in many instances – as little more than ‘box-shifters’ and viewed as a necessary, but irritating barrier to a more productive conversation.”
Distributors are being urged by McGarrity to fight back. “They still have a vital role to play within the security supply chain and long may that situation continue, but they need to be more assertive and more aligned with the systems integrators whom they serve.”
Part of the total cost
Not everything in a systems business can be commoditised. Individual components within a total system represent only a small part of the total cost. McGarrity firmly believes that distributors need to make this clear, and particularly so when dealing with procurement managers who appear to know the cost of everything, but are somewhat hazier on the value.
“They also need to support arguments in favour of the total cost of ownership as opposed to a single, transactional ‘price’,” suggested McGarrity.
On that note, McGarrity informed Security Matters: “A camera is not just a camera. Rather, it can be a critical element of a wider system whose ‘value’, therefore, is more important than its unit price. I can always find you a ‘cheaper’ camera, and distributors will sell you one, but the true cost of doing so is not always understood and may only be truly known when that camera fails.”
Clients driving change
According to McGarrity, the truth of the matter is that all of the parties involved in the supply and management chain need each other.
“Clients are driving change and that has to be a good thing,” concluded McGarrity. “It’s only right to be challenged. To best serve their needs, serious integrators will need to work even harder with their manufacturing partners and distributors in order to truly understand the technology that’s available and the real value it can deliver for the end customer and the host organisation.”
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