Keeping An Ear To The Rail

During the early days of railroading, people would put their ear to the railroad track and actually hear the train rumbling along the tracks long before it was in sight. In a similar way, our monthly newsletter a few weeks ago asked the question of what the word locksmith means today. It was a way of listening to the beat and direction of our industry while still not clearly seeing the future in reality.

Our E-mail site was filled to capacity with people who wrote in with their views on the word ‘locksmith’. One writer stated that people installing electronic products were “taking food off his table.” The writer also mentioned that companies requesting bigger jobs were also slow in paying and often required co-insurance policies while the locksmith was on the job.

Other people wrote in and stated that they had removed “locksmith” from their company name and were now actively and successfully engaged almost entirely in access control work.

One of the most interesting E-mails came from a person who had removed “Locksmith” from his company name approximately twenty years ago. His new company name included the word ‘Security’ and was intended to broaden his business to include both locksmith work and electronic security installations. What happened was that his electronic work increased, but fewer people called for traditional locksmith work. Without the word ‘Locksmith’ in his company name, the public did not understand the range of work still being offered. As a result, this man recently split his company into two divisions, one business using the word ‘Locksmith’ in the title and the other one offering Access Control.

Mayor Richard Daley, of Chicago, presented a speech recently where he stated, “If you don’t change with the times then you are living in the past.”

The purpose here is not to suggest that the word ‘Locksmith’ should be banned- far from it. It is important, however, to realize that times are changing. Security today means more than pins and springs. We can no longer expect that we own every job involving security. People installing electronic security have the same rights to a job as a locksmith does. We do have to change with the times. It may mean paying for co-insurance or waiting longer for our money. But if we don’t do it, somebody else will and that is the bottom line.

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