Distributor Profiles 2022

April 1, 2022
Access Hardware, Transponder Island and UHS Hardware discuss the state of distribution.

Each year for our Know Your Distributor issue, Locksmith Ledger profiles a few distributors. We ask them about their business and how they engage with security pros. This year, Access Hardware Supply, Transponder Island and UHS Hardware took the time to answer our questions. We thank them for their contributions.

Access Hardware Supply

Access Hardware Supply (AHS) is a family owned-and-operated distributor that has more than 25 years in the industry. It is based in San Leandro, California. This profile was completed by Brian Avants, western regional sales manager.

What makes AHS different from other distributors?

We take a strong focus on electronic and mechanical door hardware for the industry. We specialize in the products that we’re very knowledgeable of and leave products that we aren’t experts in to other avenues to better our customer experience.

What’s your strength?

Our in-depth knowledge of the products we sell as well as a focused customer experience are our true strengths. We carry that throughout every department at AHS.

What training does AHS provide to locksmiths?

The ongoing pandemic has had us add many different ways to help to do technical trainings for our customers. We now teach these classes via Zoom meetings as well as adding an arsenal of technical trainings to our web experience. We now are adding hands-on, in-person training back to our program as well.

What other benefits do you provide to locksmiths?

We provide a customized buying experience regarding wholesale buying programs, a qualified inside and outside sales force, as well as a newly reworked e-commerce experience for purchases and quoting.

What’s new about your business that a locksmith might not know?

They might not realize that we have made the buying experience better with our e-commerce program and our 24-hour will-call environment.

What product categories are the most requested by your customers?

Electrified hardware and access control-related product from premium manufacturers.

Has that changed in the past year, and do you anticipate a change in the next year?

Our markets tend to evolve constantly with the industry. The addition of items, such as low-energy operators, touchless switch options and the like, will continue to grow.

How does AHS compete with online sellers?

We try our best to be competitive in this arena but also bring a sense of awareness to the marketplace that our extensive knowledge is an investment in the buying experience. We support our customers and partners before, during and after a sale is made. You don’t always attain that level of service from an online retailer.

How would you describe the overall state of distribution today?

Evolving. We used to say there was a balance of security and convenience of use in the products and systems we help to create. I believe there has been a new layer of safety added to the mix, and it changes the design process of new and retrofit projects.

What do you see as the future relationship between locksmiths and your company?

As the requirements of our customers continue to evolve in new ways, it will be our job to fulfill those with product, training and a superior customer experience. That’s our promise for today and for the future.

Transponder Island

Transponder Island is an automotive locksmithing distributor that was founded in 2006. It has two locations, with the primary one in Westlake, Ohio, and another in Phoenix. Transponder Island’s profile was provided by Ramy Daghash, sales director.

What makes Transponder Island different from other distributors?

We pride ourselves on having products in stock that will work for your next job. We analyze and research the best possible way to distribute products, and we predict and forecast products to ensure any spike in demand will be fulfilled. Our upgraded inventory-management system can detect stock-flow variables with inputting data to give us the most effective supply chain. We always will go above and beyond to get our customers what they want.

What’s your company’s strength?

Our biggest strength is our customer support. We take pride in helping our customers with any technical and product support to make their service efficient. We have trained and skilled certified professional locksmith experience to help with any obstacle our customers might want help with.

What training does Transponder Island provide to locksmiths?

We offer training on many new devices that help customers engage with reusing used or burned keys. We teach our customers to be efficient and effective with what they have in stock to maximize their inventory.

What’s new about your business that a locksmith might not know?

We have a second location in Arizona, which makes order fulfilment across the country fast and efficient, and we’re looking to add a third location. We also are improving our shopping experience through website upgrades.

How does Transponder Island compete with online sellers?

We offer and match the best prices available. We offer great customer service with a hassle-free return policy.

What do you see as the future relationship between locksmiths and your company?

We will continue to help our customer grow their business by offering customers easy-to-place orders and more-effective shipping methods. By offering multiple stocking options, it allows our customers to never miss out on a sale.

UHS Hardware

For nearly a decade, UHS Hardware has supplied locksmith equipment and tools from its base in Hollywood, Florida. UHS’ profile was completed by Dan Gallagher, marketing specialist.

What makes UHS different from other distributors?

We pride ourselves on being a true one-stop shop for security pros. With more than 200 brands and 25,000 unique products that range from automotive tools to residential locks in stock, we provide everything a locksmith could ever want. We also prioritize three major business strategies that keep us on the leading edge: account managers over sales representatives, precognitive restocking and competitive pricing.

What’s your strength?

Our strength really comes from our team members, particularly our purchasing department. In today’s world, stock levels are the biggest concern for any distributor. We stay ahead in two distinct ways. One is purchasing more products at the same time, and the other is purchasing in advance what we believe our customers want.

What training does UHS provide to locksmiths?

Our philosophy has always been about sharing the knowledge we have acquired with those who want to succeed. Through this philosophy, we have provided locksmiths the ability to take our courses and improve their skills. We do this through six-hour live online courses that range from beginner to advanced across multiple machines and tools, online recorded classes that allow locksmiths to take the same in-depth courses at their own pace and private in-person training for those who require a hands-on, personal lesson.

What other benefits do you provide to locksmiths?

If it had to be narrowed down, the cream of the crop is our support team. The account managers, tech support and repair teams make the customer their utmost priority. This ensures that any interaction with UHS is as beneficial as possible.

What’s new about your business that a locksmith might not know?

The newest, and probably least known, part of UHS is our access control and CCTV products. We offer a range of security products from motion sensors to network video recorders. We also team up with specialists who provide guidance to new technicians looking to add those services to their business. We’re working on establishing training for these products as well.

What product categories are the most requested by your customers?

When we started, we sold car keys to local locksmiths. Now we sell the largest variety of products, and we can ship them anywhere in the world. However, our most requested category is still automotive tools, keys and remotes.

Has that changed in the past year, and do you anticipate a change in the next year?

We don’t expect this to change anytime soon. We know that our customer base is mostly made up of traveling locksmiths, and their most requested item has consistently been car keys.

How does UHS compete with online sellers?

We have a fairly intricate system in place to compete with other distributors. This includes constantly checking and changing prices to match or beat any U.S.-based competitor.

How would you describe the overall state of distribution today?

In one word, challenging. As a company, we’re always looking to get ahead of issues whenever we can. Whether that be labor shortages, stocking inventory or customer issues. We’re just glad we have the best team possible to face these issues head on.

What do you see as the future relationship between locksmiths and your company?

We only see our relationship with locksmiths growing more personal. Whether they’re next door or in another state, we’re striving to become a better company for all of them. Our plan is to become more consistent with item availability and faster with delivery and have more sales on all of the stuff you love.