Have there been and will there continue to be issues between lock distributors and locksmiths? Certainly. In a constantly changing economic environment in which most dealers and distributors compete against large home centers, superstores, and high-speed, low-cost Internet resellers, each company’s primary purpose is survival. But most distributors can’t survive without a base of qualified, good-quality dealers.
Distributors may get upset when locksmiths buy direct or only buy based on the lowest prices. And locksmiths often become frustrated when their distributors sell to some end users, wondering whether locksmiths can truly compete. But think: how can a locksmith survive without its distributors? If the locksmith dealer had to depend on a few manufacturers or the Internet to find products, it would be extremely time-consuming, certainly not smart or efficient. Likewise, without locksmith customers, most lock distributors would find it very difficult to survive.
Security Hardware Distributors have been working in an association for the last 40 years to find and share the best education as well as the latest information so that each of the members can become better distributors. Being a better distributor means having the most critical information ready for its customer, having thousands of needed products in stock and available to ship immediately. Being a good SHDA distributor means giving the locksmith strong value and reasonable prices so that dealers can compete in a very competitive economic landscape. It also means offering the best possible service over the phone, counter, and over the Internet, helping the locksmith quickly supply its customers.
Who knows what the future will bring for the locksmith industry, for both its dealers and distributors? Locksmiths and security hardware distributors must work together to solve the multitude of challenges in the security hardware industry. But if the past 40 is a barometer, the next 40 years will be demanding and yet hopefully, ultimately rewarding.
Arnie Goldman is president of IDN-Hardware Sales, Inc. and a member of the SHDA Advocacy Committee.