What is SHDA and Why is it Important to the Locksmith?

Today's locksmith faces a dizzying assortment of requests for products, services, and information. He needs a reliable partner who can help him find products, give him information necessary to solve problems, and supply him with needed security hardware...


The Security Hardware Distributors Association (better known as SHDA) has been historically linked to ALOA for the 50 years that the locksmith organization has been in existence. Only a few years older than ALOA, SHDA began and thrived as NLSA, the National Locksmith Suppliers Association, servicing...


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According to Al Hoffman, one of the first members of NLSA, it was decided in 1971 that manufacturers would be welcomed as associate members of the association. Soon, an annual conference took place in which manufacturers, such as Schlage Lock, Master Lock, Yale, Kwikset, Ilco Unican, and Medeco Security Lock, met with distributors from all over the country, such as Stone and Berg from Boston, Clark Security from San Diego, Armstrong's Lock and Supply from Atlanta, and Hans Johnsen Company from Dallas, to name a few. These annual meetings, which still continue today, were always important because they allowed each distributor to have one-on-one time with important manufacturers within a span of a few days. Education was always important as well, as distributors learned how they could operate better businesses and help their locksmith customers grow. (To this day, the Ben Silver Education Fund provides a variety of classes and important information for distributors.)

In the 1990s, NLSA changed its name to SHDA and allowed the addition of other door hardware distributors that sold to diverse markets, such as contract hardware and electronic security dealers. These additions helped broaden the association and allow it to survive and grow. Throughout the 50-plus years, despite many changes, the predominant business of most SHDA distributors has been and is still the locksmith market. The principal product lines continue to be lock, security, and door hardware products.

Today, SHDA's mission is “to continually improve, through education and services, the proficiency of Security Distributors in order that they are the most effective and efficient conduit to the marketplace.”

And now, SHDA distributors strive to service the locksmiths in all of their needs, with inventory, knowledge, expertise, and marketing. Today, SHDA has over 50 wholesale distributor members and over 70 associate members.

SHDA distributors continue to play an important role in helping the locksmith and security professional focus on managing their own businesses for profitability. They not only provide access to thousands of products quickly, but also help with critical knowledge about everything related to security.

The world the locksmith faces is much more complex and difficult than it was 50 years ago. Look at the amazing amount of door manufacturers that the locksmith must navigate, the massive numbers of keys, automotive locks. Distributor employees have hundreds of years of total experience, which is extremely helpful to all locksmith companies facing challenges in a high-tech world with enormous security needs.

In today's economic climate, huge home centers and public industrial supply companies are the most serious threats to both independent locksmiths and independent locksmith distributors. SHDA distributors are small service-oriented businesses that understand this and depend on helping other small businesses, such as locksmiths, compete against the big companies in the 21st century.

Over the years, there have been some isolated situations that have stressed the relationships between locksmiths and their distributors. Some distributors sell to end user industrial locksmiths and some sell to markets other than locksmiths, while other companies perform services similar to services performed by locksmiths. Nevertheless, most SHDA members continue to help and treasure their business partners, the locksmith-security professionals. Despite periodic conflicts, the majority of many SHDA members' customers are still locksmith dealers. Locksmiths are not only customers, but, more importantly, friends and associates of many of the SHDA distributors. A strong relationship with locksmiths continues to be a core value of SHDA and its members.

The future of SHDA continues to be the future of the security professional and locksmith. For over 50 years, the two groups have been invariably linked, both necessary for each other's survival. And hopefully, for the next 50 years, the partnership will stay just as strong.

Arnie Goldman is committee chair of the SHDA Industry Advocacy Committee.

 

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