As you read this, we here at Locksmith Ledger are busy going over the results of our State of the Industry survey, which went out to the locksmith community in September to get their feedback on several key topics around their business, including market and product areas that locksmiths are seeing the most growth. The report also looks at where locksmiths buy their products, what they look for in a distributor, and what factors are most important to them, beyond price, of course. What I really like about the survey is we pick locksmiths’ brains, no pun intended, on what technologies and trends they feel are most relevant to them.
With COVID somewhat in our rearview mirror, and supply chain issues beginning to ease a bit this year, this year’s state of the industry is also focusing on how much the workplace has changed, with more hybrid work environments becoming the norm, and many more employees working from home full-time. In this month’s cover feature (see page 10), we are seeing just that, as this shift in the workplace has changed the way companies and big corporations perceive security.
As Joshua Sands, owner of Key City Locksmith and Security, based in Kansas, points out, COVID changed the way people looked at security, and in the process hastened the adoption of electronic locks and connected technologies like video analytics and artificial intelligence (AI). “There was a hard to push to electronics, but it wasn't necessarily affordable on the residential side, and the commercial side, while they could afford it, they didn't spend money unnecessarily, especially if they perceived it as a convenience factor. Now, because of COVID, corporate has changed drastically – no more keys – too many people are not coming into the office, or don't come into work steadily, or there’s high turnover … so many factors.”
Another area we are looking at in this year’s state of the industry report is hiring and retention. Where are tomorrow’s locksmiths coming from and what will they look like in terms of skills and abilities? And how will this next generation influence and change the locksmith industry?
“I'd like to see a bigger push into the electronic side of things,” says Sands. “My focus as the Director of Education Missouri Kansas Locksmith Association is on providing training so it's not so scary to other locksmiths out there. I see a big resistance to the electronic world … But it's coming, you know, so get ready for it or get left behind because in the next 20 years or so, you won't be able to pay your bills just doing rekeys and locking. So, you’ve got to know some basic electronics.”
With the shift to electronic access in full swing, it will be interesting to see this year’s State of the Industry findings, and to provide analysis, all of which will appear in the November issue of Locksmith Ledger.