Looking Down the Road

Aug. 17, 2016

A favorite expression of mine is Looking Down the Road. In reference to the locksmith business it is another way of trying to predict future changes in job requests from the public, declines in market segments we currently offer and increases in new market segments.

During the late 1970's a college student worked part-time at my locksmith store. This fellow was taking computer classes in college. He actually soldered together his own computer. This computer was operated by flipping a row of switches since there was no keyboard.  This was long before words like laptop, floppies, CDs and internet became part of our language.

Texas Instruments soon introduced their TI-99 computer. I bought one and began learning DOS programming.  Looking down the road I believed that computers would become an important locksmith tool.  That belief has been proven over and over again. It would be difficult today to find even one locksmith who does not depend on a computer either as an internet connection or for specific locksmith services such as key codes or masterkey systems.        

A more current example is automotive work. At one time this reporter spent 80% of each locksmith workday servicing automotive locks. Every locksmith was prepared in those days to fit keys to popular car models. A vision down the automotive road today is a bit fuzzy. Electronics has replaced automotive mechanical components.  Push button starting has completely eliminated key-operated ignition switches.  Manufacturers have equipped car  dealers with transponder programming tools.  Negatives are beginning to outweigh positives,

My next Down the Road prediction is the cell phone. It is not coming, it is here. Since the cell phone is a device that literally everyone carries, the public will naturally expect the security industry to produce products operated by cell phones. Products operated by cell phones can either be a bonanza for locksmiths if you sell them or one reason for going out of business if you do not sell them.       

What do you see Down the Road?  Are the market segments you have always depended on still profitable or are you changing with the times?