Tyler’s Take: Do It the Right Way

Introduction

In the July/August 2017 edition Keynotes I wrote an article titled Locksmithing Risk Mitigation: Preventing Callbacks. In this article, I identified the 3 sources of call backs:

  1. User error
  2. Technician error
  3. Manufacturer error

As I noted in the article, we don’t have much control over user and manufacturer error. Yes, we can try to do a better job of teaching our customers about utilizing their hardware and, yes, we can evaluate products prior to selling them but we will never have control over user and manufacturer errors in the way that we have control over technician error, or a callback that occurred due to our work.
In the article, I stressed that technician error can be drastically reduced, if not outright eliminated, by simply doing things the right way. So what is the right way?

The Right Way

The right way is nothing more than doing things the way they’re supposed to be done. Sounds trivial, doesn’t it? It doesn’t have to be.
The right way is installing door hardware the way the manufacturer’s instructions call for. Some may think or say that 6 screws in the case/head unit of a Von Duprin 98/99 is overkill but that’s what the instructions call for. Or how often have you seen hardware that wasn’t installed correctly? Examples abound but the fact remains: install per directions. Don’t make any interpretations or go off script; they developed and tested their product, they know what’s best.
The right way is going with the correct repair or installation, not the easiest. That’s not to say they’re always going to be mutually exclusive but often times they are. Stripped mounting screws on a surface mount door closer on wood or metal door. Easiest solution? Go to the next biggest size screw size and re-install. Correct solution? Through-bolt it because surface mount screws, of any size, obviously didn’t work the first time around. Or how often have we seen broken screws that the person before left? Easiest solution is just to ignore it but the correct solution is to remove the broken screw(s) and replace them.
The right way is recommending the correct solution, not the easiest and/or most lucrative. Most of us love this job and this trade but at the end of the day we’re all here to make money. That said, don’t let laziness or greed take precedence over professionalism.
These aren’t the only qualifiers of the right way but they should hopefully begin to paint a picture of what the right way is. To simplify the right way, how would you want someone to treat you or your property when you called on them to perform a service? You’d want them to install and/or maintain your property like a professional. You’d want them to make professional recommendations and sell you professional solutions. Put plainly, you’d want to be treated the right way.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, we all have to atone for our decisions in life, both professionally and personally. I cannot for the life of me fathom why anyone would not want to at least attempt to give their best and do things the right way. Never mind a reputation or customer satisfaction or a business practice, I’m talking about self-respect and self-worth. We should all strive for our very best and our work should absolutely be a reflection of that. Don’t take short cuts, don’t half-ass things, don’t be lazy about it. Do it the right way.

By |2018-11-08T09:00:13+00:00November 8th, 2018|All, Business, Tyler's Take|2 Comments

November and December Manufacturer Price Updates

Multiple manufacturers will change their prices in November and December. Below is a list of these manufacturers along with effective dates, increase percentage(s), and, if available, a link to the new price book(s). Please note that some of these figures have been gathered indirectly; please consult with your local rep and/or the manufacturer for confirmation.

November 1st

Arrow Lock and Door Hardware – 3% price increase with the exception of QL, MLX, RLX, RL, RK, and DBX series (which will be rounded up to the nearest whole dollar amount) and the DC300 and DC500 series (both have a 10% tariff surcharge/price increase). (Price Book Download)
Don-Jo Mfg., Inc. – 11% price increase. (Price Book Download)
Emtek Products Inc. – 3.7% tariff surcharge/price increase.

November 5th

Baldwin Hardware – 7% price increase with the exception of Estate Pre-Configured (6%), Estate (7.5%), Multi-Point (10%), Electronics (10%), and Reserve (6%) lines.
Hager Companies – 8% price increase on residential hinges, 6% price increase on ECCO hinges.
Kwikset Corporation  – 7% price increase/tariff surcharge. (Price Book Download)
National Manufacturing Co. – 7% price increase/tariff surcharge.
Weiser Lock – 7% price increase/tariff surcharge.

December 1st

Allegion – 7% price increase on the following product lines: J Series by Dexter, Ives Accessories, Schlage Builders Hardware, LCN aluminum closers, and Falcon closer models SC60, S60A, SC70, SC70A, SC80, SC80A, SC90 and SC90A.
 

By |2018-11-02T14:53:58+00:00November 2nd, 2018|All, Business, Industry|0 Comments

Tyler's Take: Online Locksmith Diplomas

Introduction

I was recently contacted by someone from a staffing agency who had seen our How to Become A Locksmith article. Her client is interested in becoming a locksmith. In her client’s area there were no active ALOA or locksmith chapters to join. Furthermore, there were no classes scheduled anytime soon in the client’s immediate area. Short of traveling to a nearby state, the client’s options educational opportunities were severely limited. In the article I suggested seeking out a local chapter/association and/or classes before pursuing a diploma program. Strike 1 and 2 for my ignorance. Furthermore, her client’s position didn’t seem to allow for the ability to pursue a general maintenance position in the interim to gain some basic locksmithing experience. Strike 3.

Time to Reconsider?

In the article I recommend that prospective locksmiths only pursue online locksmith diplomas as a last resort. That’s a bit naive I have come to learn. For some it may be their only resort and, as a result, I’m going to need to update the article to reflect this.
I offered my thoughts on various online locksmith diploma programs to the staffing agent and stressed that while some locksmiths “poo poo” them, they are at least a starting pointing for formal locksmith training and that its “better than nothing”. But better than nothing sounds a bit harsh, doesn’t it? It’s like saying, “Well it’s a step above doing nothing at all, I guess.” That’s not a very ringing endorsement; I should have chosen my words better.

A New Outlook on Online Locksmith Diplomas

First and foremost, anyone that makes an effort towards self-advancement should be lauded. That much I would hope even the most stubborn locksmith could agree with. With that out of the way let’s get to the crux of the issue: the curriculum(s). Most locksmiths frown upon online locksmith diploma programs because they consider the programs insufficient or outdated. Fair point, but is all of the material insufficient and is all of the material outdated? No, it’s not. There is value in these programs.
Circumstances such as time, money, location, current employment, and a hundred other factors can impact how and when we get into this trade; we aren’t all born into it. Anyone that, in their own time, takes it upon themselves to begin to learn the trade to gain employment in it should be met with an open hand and not a closed fist. I’ve changed my outlook on online locksmith diplomas, will you?

By |2018-10-11T09:00:19+00:00October 11th, 2018|All, Business, Industry|0 Comments

Tyler's Take: SSL Certificates, Google, and SEO

Just over a week ago, July 31st to be exact, Google released the stable version of the latest Chrome browser: 68.0.3440.83 through 68.0.3440.85, depending on the operating system. “Chrome 68” will begin to differentiate between websites that have SSL certificates and those that don’t by labeling them as secure and not secure, respectively. This didn’t come as a shock to many because in February of this year Google said they would start doing this exact thing.
If you’re unfamiliar with SSL certificates, I won’t waste your time trying to put my own spin on it. Instead, I’ll refer you to GlobalSign’s explanation.
Mozilla (Firefox) and others are joining Google on their push to encrypt communication between websites and users. Depending on how you’re viewing this website and on what browser, you’ll more than likely see either a locked padlock (how appropriate) or the word “Secure” to the left of our URL in the address bar up top. That’s exactly how they’re going to tell visitors whether or not a website utilizes an SSL certificate.
So, what does this mean for you and your businesses’ website? Will it impact it’s SEO?

Impact

If you sell items on your website, you might want to get an SSL certificate if you already don’t have one. A recent study found that 84% of users would abandon a purchase if data was sent over an insecure connection.
If you’re not selling items on your website, you still might want to get an SSL certificate. Why? While I am unaware of Google, or others, penalizing the search results between websites that have SSL certificates and those who don’t, browsers may soon do just that. Some studies have found that secured websites have slightly higher rankings than unsecured websites but I’m not so sure if it’s the sole reason behind that. No matter the case, not having an SSL certificate will eventually impact your ranking. When and how remains to be seen.
SSL certificates cost between $50-70, depending on your host, annually. If you’re lucky, you might already have an SSL certificate. There are multiple websites available online to check for you; I’ve become fond of SSL’s Shopper’s SSL Checker. Simply type in your URL and check it’s SSL status.

Additional Reading

If you would like to learn more about the new push for SSL compliance across the web and it’s impact on websites, here are some additional articles:

By |2018-08-09T09:00:29+00:00August 9th, 2018|All, Business, Tyler's Take|0 Comments

Tyler's Take: Distributing Competition

“The capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them.”
This popular quote is often falsely attributed to a Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov; you may know him better as Lenin, the communist revolutionary of the Soviet Union. Catchy, I’ll admit, perhaps so much so that it’s also been attributed to one of Lenin’s associates, Joseph Stalin, and even Karl Marx. The phrase is still used today albeit in slightly different and less provocative manner. One version that I’ve often heard reads as follows:

“They’ll buy the rope that we will hang them with.”

This article isn’t about phrase origins, however, or political figures of the 19th and 20th century. It’s about how current business relationships in the locksmith industry could be accurately described using the above phrase.

Distribution

The relationship manufacturers, distributors, locksmiths, and customers has historically been as follows: manufacturers sell to distributors who sell to locksmiths (or other security professionals) who sell to their customers. Now it seems that some distributors are forgoing, if not outright bypassing, locksmiths/security professionals and selling directly to the customer. They are, in effect, subsidizing a change in their business model, even if only a slight one, at the expense of locksmiths all while being our competition. The parent company of one distributor has even gone so far as to actually bid complete jobs (parts and labor) using a separate business entity.
I don’t think I need to argue that this shift is not favorable to locksmiths, that much should be self-evident. So what can be done?

Solution(s)

I think the only realistic solution in this situation is for locksmiths to stop doing business with distributors that seek to usurp us. I’ve broached this topic on Clearstar but was told that, in no uncertain terms, locksmiths are “small potatoes” to distributors and they wouldn’t care. I find this hard to believe (we may not be a majority but we’re surely a sizable minority) but even if it were true, who cares? Why should we buy the rope, no matter it’s length, that they’ll eventually hang us with? Their endgame might not be storefronts where John and Jane Doe can stop by on Saturdays but anything that attempts to cut us out of the picture should be taken as no less than a personal affront. There are many distributors available to locksmiths and, near as I can tell, a good number do play by the rules. Why not give them your business?
Another possible solution would be to start buying direct. A growing number of manufacturers are offering direct buy programs with locksmith shops. There are certain requirements, such as annual or initial buy-ins, but get behind a brand you trust and try to make it work – you’d be surprised at how good their numbers can be.
If distributors want to abandon a decades old business relationship to squeeze out all of the revenue of your city or town then there’s not a lot you can do about it, but don’t be a party to it and don’t support it. Take your dollars elsewhere and urge your colleagues to do the same. Hit them where it hurts the most: their pockets.
 

By |2018-06-07T09:00:30+00:00June 7th, 2018|All, Business, Tyler's Take|0 Comments

Locksmith News – 6/4/2018

Access Control


New Atlas: System locks down schools in response to gunshots It’s a sad fact that school shootings are becoming a semi-regular occurrence in the US. While there are varying opinions on what to do about the problem, Intrusion Technologies’ Active Intruder Mitigation System (AIMS) is designed to minimize casualties when a shooter does enter a school. [READ MORE]

Business


Cision: ASSA ABLOY Recognized by Forbes as One of the World’s Most Innovative Companies ASSA ABLOY is once again included in Forbes’ World’s Most Innovative Companies list. The 2018 rankings see the company among the 100 leading businesses in the world.”I’m very proud that we have achieved such success with our innovation,” says Nico Delvaux, President and CEO of ASSA ABLOY. “Inclusion in Forbes’ list is clear evidence that our innovation- and technology-driven culture pays off.” [READ MORE]
CNet: China’s AI-powered CCTV camera makers just got $1.6 billion in funding The maker of China’s 170 million AI-powered CCTV cameras is a hot property among investors the past few months.SenseTime has secured $620 million in fresh funds from investors Thursday, adding to its previous $600 million raised in April. The company is now valued at $4.5 billion. [READ MORE]
Digital Journal: Embedded Security for Mechanical Locks Market to Grow at CAGR of 4.5% Through 2022 A recent study published by Future Market Insights assesses the future prospects of global market for mechanical locks. Key findings from this report reveal that by the end of 2022, around US$ 7,160 million worth of mechanical locks are anticipated to be sold across the globe. The report also forecasts that for the assessment period, 2017-2022, the global mechanical locks market is likely to attain growth at a moderate CAGR of 4.5%. [READ MORE]

Case Study

Denver 7 ABC: Thieves cutting through locks, stealing bikes in downtown Denver The Mile High City is seeing a lot of growth in the cycling community, which also means more bikes being stolen.“It feels horrible,” said Mike Stejskal, a buyer for Turin Bicycles in Denver. “You walk up to it assuming that your possession is going to be where you left it and it isn’t.”Stejskal said choosing the right lock is important to keep your bike safe. [READ MORE]

Wireless Electronic Locks


Digital Trends: Schlage locks and Google Home team up to make your smart home safer If you have a Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt, your front door just unlocked a new capability.Schlage announced that its smart locks will now work with Google Home, Google Assistant on Android devices and the Google Assistant app on Apple devices. The company first announced in January it was working on the integration at CES 2018, and the feature went live on Tuesday, May 29. [READ MORE]
Gear Brain: Gate Smart Lock Review, a 2-in-1 Connected Device The Gate Smart Lock combines an HD security camera and intercom functionality into an all-in-one connected device that operates much like a Ring or Skybell smart video doorbell. Real time video streaming lets you see who is at your doo, while the lock also supports remote access in case you want to open the door for visitors. The Gate Smart Lock also comes with a backup plan in case the device fails or loses power, with a standard key hole to open and lock the door. Gate sent GearBrain a lock to test and we were surprised how this new multi-functional smart lock performed. [READ MORE]
 
 
 

Locksmith News – 5/28/2018

Business


SecurityInfoWatch: Nortek’s acquisition of IntelliVision could prove to be a transformative move When Nortek Security & Control pulled the trigger on last week’s acquisition of California-based artificial intelligence and deep learning-based video analytics vendor IntelliVision, the move essentially propelled the company into the expanding universe of solutions providers vying for their niche in the Internet of Things (IoT). By virtue of the acquisition, Nortek is now uniquely situated to become one of the few technology companies that could eventually build the elusive IoT bridge that will link residential, commercial, institutional, retail and public safety sectors into a seamless and actionable communication network. [READ MORE]

Cabinet, Cam, and Mailbox


Woodworking Network: Combination Cam Lock FJM Security Products’ Combi-Cam division has introduced a new combination cam lock with manager key override that offers higher security with a flush mount and ratcheting knob. The lock features two modes, a static one-user mode, or a one-time-use mode where an unlimited number of people can use the lock with a unique code each time. The deadlocking combination feature allows dials to be scrambled while the lock is open and if the combination is forgotten, the manager key can be used to override the combination to discover and reset the code. [READ MORE]

Case Study


CNET: AI-powered CCTV cameras in China catch another wanted fugitive Authorities caught a guy as he was leaving a concert. At least he got to listen to it first. [READ MORE]
The Washington Post: A short circuit unlocked cells at a South Carolina jail. Now a murder suspect is on the loose. Tyshon Demontrea Johnson and Curtis Ray Green, both facing trials for brutal murders, fled Orangeburg Detention Center with a third inmate Saturday after a short circuit caused their cell doors to automatically open. Johnson and the third inmate, an accused carjacker, have since been recaptured, but the manhunt had not resulted in Green’s capture by early Wednesday, leaving the jail’s frightened neighbors demanding to know how its systems could so utterly fail. [READ MORE]
WDAY6: Police say certain types of locks more susceptible to break ins Thousands of garages are at risk of burglary, that’s according to a warning from Fargo Police. Police want people to be especially careful if they have a certain type of lock on their garages, they say these key operated electronic locks are especially easy to get into. [READ MORE]

Wireless Electronic Locks


Forbes: A Basic Z-Wave Hack Exposes Up To 100 Million Smart Home Devices So-called “smart” locks and alarms are proliferating across people’s homes, even though hackers have shown various weaknesses in their designs that contradict their claims to being secure. Now benevolent hackers in the U.K. have shown just how quick and easy it is to pop open a door with an attack on one of those keyless connected locks. [READ MORE]
(Direct Link to Pen Test Partner’s Z-Wave Exploit Write-Up: Z-Shave. Exploiting Z-Wave downgrade attacks)
Venture Beat: LockState raises $5.8 million to accelerate adoption of smart locks in homes LockState, the parent company of RemoteLock cloud platform for smart locks, has raised $5.8 million in a new round of funding to accelerate the adoption of smart locks in homes. [READ MORE]

Locksmith News – 5/21/2018

Business


 

Case Study

Electromagnetic Locks

Wireless Electronic Locks

Locksmith News – 5/14/2018

Access Control

Business

Sliding and Pocket Doors

Wireless Electronic Locks

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