Security Journal UK speaks with Jim Foster, Managing Director and Owner of Access Security Products.
How has the pandemic impacted UK distribution and Access Security Products?
The impact of COVID-19 has been felt the world over and the UK security distribution and security market is no different. The impact was instantly noticeable from the first lockdown in March 2020; whilst our workload shrank by 75% overnight, by mid-May we started to see the recovery.
By June, we had adapted to the new normal which for us included large orders of our touch free exit devices. Having been promoting these kind of exit devices over the more traditional kind for a few years pre-pandemic, we had plenty of stock to fulfil orders received. The remaining months of 2020 were busy right up until the Christmas break. In fact, November was a record month for us with the normally quiet month of December showing little sign of easing up.
All in all, despite the slower months of April and May 2020, our industry has bounced back well. However, the real long term effects of COVID-19 became more apparent as we moved into 2021. The year started with price increases and it soon became apparent that some products and components were becoming harder to source. By early 2021, most in the industry accepted that prices were on the rise and the normal responsive next-day delivery services could not always deliver.
We personally cannot think of a single importer, manufacturer or distributor who has completely escaped this issue. We are grateful to be part of a robust, thriving industry that has bounced back bigger and better and is ready to go from strength to strength.
What differentiates you from other distributors in such a competitive marketplace?
We have a great culture at Access Security Products. We are honest, approachable and offer open communication regardless of whether you are a staff member, partner, client or even a courier driver.
We appreciate and understand that other distributors will have a competitive edge in some areas, however, what we will not let them beat us on is service. We pride ourselves on being proactive in finding the correct solutions for our customers and always go the extra mile – after all, how many branch managers or business owners would open on a bank holiday to deliver products you forgot to order or for that last minute breakdown?
Product wise, we like to offer something unique; for example, our maglocks, brackets and exit buttons in special finishes, from brass to anthracite grey, to black to bold reds – these can complement a certain style, giving that extra touch to finish the job. We also offer bespoke metal solutions to assist with security projects and have in-house designers who can provide you drawings and illustrations for bespoke solutions for intercom and reader posts, security consoles and protective rain covers.
We are the official UK import partner, distributor and technical support of Farfisa intercoms, giving us a unique competitive edge when providing door entry solutions. We have an installer partnership project here in the UK which recognises and rewards installers once they have completed training and met certain criteria of installations. We also offer in-house programming of all Farfisa DUO BUS kits before they leave our offices from one apartment to hundreds it doesn’t matter; all kits are programmed as required. This is proving a huge hit with our clients as it reduces time spent on installation.
Can you tell us more about the key partners that you distribute for?
We work with most manufacturers however there is no hiding our special partnership with Farfisa Intercoms. Farfisa is an established door entry manufacturer based in Ancona, Italy who has been supplying Door Entry Solutions around the world since 1967. Personally, I have worked with Farfisa products for a number of years so to now be the official UK partner is an honour.
All the team have a great working relationship with the Farfisa team based in Italy. Should anyone have any queries or questions we only need to send an email or pick up the phone and, likewise, all members of the Farfisa team know they can contact us any time. We know we have the full support of Farfisa Corporate and their values match ours, which is to supply quality products and aftersales support to our clients.
The team and I are proud to be associated with Farfisa and are excited by the partnership and the journey that lies ahead for both companies.
We also have a long-standing partnership with Securefast whose support has been present and unquestionable since day one. We are also an advocate of its Deedlock range of locks. Other partners include CDVi, ICS Security Solutions, Dycon and CAME/BPT, to name just a few.
Are you planning to expand your distribution product portfolio?
We are keen to add more UK and EU sourced products. Following Brexit, we moved to Dycon Power Solutions for their power supplies which are manufactured in Wales. This move helped ease potential import hold-ups whilst supporting UK-based manufacturing.
Over recent months there has been a lot of confusion over locking for fire and escape doors, however, now thanks to research and support from our partners, we are pleased to announce a range of Dorma locks which are now available that meet standards EN179, EN1125 and EN13637.
Later this year Farfisa will be looking to launch a new range of IP and 4G products. Having listened to the feedback and research here in the UK and around the world its R&D department continues to develop new products.
What does the roadmap look like for Access Security Products in 2022?
An exciting year lies ahead for Access Security Products and its partners. We are constantly looking to improve our product knowledge and have various staff training days diarised with suppliers, enabling us to deliver the best service, support and advice to customers.
We will continue to make customer and supplier visits onsite or to their headquarters, supporting them whenever possible. Following the success of last year’s BBQ trade day, we are pleased to announce that it will be returning this year on 18 August. The event was a huge success bringing together suppliers, customers and friends in a relaxed environment whilst raising funds for Cavernoma Alliance UK, a charity close to my heart.
This article was originally published in the May edition of Security Journal UK. To read your FREE digital edition, click here.