Go Lean, Gain Strength
Sourcing the right products for installation can save people money
- By Matt Powers, Bob Dolan
- Jul 01, 2016
Cost-saving measures during a security installation usually focus
on steps that minimize waste on the job site: reducing packing,
speeding deployment and decreasing go-backs. But there’s one
area that can help eliminate waste on the job site before the
purchase orders have even been finalized. It’s called sourcing and it’s one of
the most important tools in a security integrator’s repertoire. Done right,
sourcing the right products can reduce training time, free up skilled workers’
time and improve the overall quality of the installation.
STARTING OFF RIGHT
Typically, before a project is secured or an order is placed, sourcing can
include many aspects, such as supplier management, product specification,
selection, quality, inventory and availability. The allows installers to know
exactly what materials are right for the applications and overall project.
In the physical security industry, technologies are constantly and rapidly
evolving. To source the right products for a project, it is essential to stay on
top of emerging technologies and new products. However, staying on the
cutting edge of the industry requires a substantial investment of time and
resources in order to stay competitive.
MORE PRODUCTS. MORE MANUFACTURERS.
As new technologies develop, knowing which technology from which manufacturer
is right for the job becomes a greater challenge. With the days of
a single-manufacturer solution gone, many systems are now comprised of
products from a variety of manufacturers, and that has led to hundreds of
manufacturers in recent years offering products to handle niche challenges.
Maintaining relationships with manufacturers and participating in industry
associations such as ONVIF to learn about emerging standards is
the best way to stay current on what is new, and what is working, in the
market. Sourcing can let security installers use fewer resources on site by
reducing the number of employees needed to install a product, improve the
overall quality of the installation, minimize troubleshooting and allow for
quicker installation. In fact, streamlining a project through effective sourcing
can save time and money and can result in more profit and more time
to secure additional projects. According to a recent study from McGraw
Hill, 70 percent of contractors say that decreases in project schedules help
them win bids. Other studies show that reducing nonproductive labor by 5
percent can increase profits by nearly 20 percent.
In order to become leaner, it’s crucial to look at each stage in the life
of project and uncover the practices that slow you down. Every organization
and project is unique, but based on decades of experience Anixter has
providing a variety of solutions across different markets, these are the eight
practices that stand out.
EIGHT PRACTICES THAT WASTE TIME AND MONEY
Sorting through manufacturers and technologies. The investment involved
in staying on top of not only the products currently available but
also what technology is on the horizon can be daunting for anyone. This expertise
is crucial to providing the best solutions to meet customers’ needs.
Purchasing proprietary products for the job. Understanding products
and their potential is as important as being clear about how products work
together and in a variety of environments. Ensuring interoperability before
implementation saves time and money in the long run.
Ordering out of stock products. This can cause issues in two ways: one
is the time involved waiting on products to come into stock and the second
are the costs associated with holding excess inventory.
Managing countless manufacturers and orders. Beyond product selection
in a multi-manufacturer environment, there is a practical operational
cost associated with managing dozens of orders and supplier relationships,
which increases the potential for risk and errors.
Lining up deliveries. Most integrators know the feeling of sitting on a
job site waiting for a shipment to arrive. Unexpected delays and poor coordination
can extend project timelines and cause labor costs to soar.
Sorting through packages on site. Depending on the size of a project,
dozens of hours of time that could have been spent on implementation are
instead spent on tasks such as making sure the correct products are in the
correct locations and excess waste is removed.
Assembling technology on site. Due to technical complexity in the security
industry, so much time is spent putting products together onsite that
could otherwise be done beforehand. Everything from IP testing, camera
preassembly and kitting could make installations shorter and simpler as
well as improving cash flow.
Beginning orders from scratch. Plenty of e-business solutions are
designed to save time and money including order processing, status and
performance reporting. However, B2B integration is crucial. It holds the
potential for inventory replenishment and control systems for storerooms.
PARTNERING WITH A SUPPLY CHAIN EXPERT
Anixter approaches sourcing by employing technical experts around the
globe who continually earn industry certifications, participate in associations
and contribute to the development of industry standards. The center
of this expertise is the Infrastructure Solutions Lab, which researches, tests
and evaluates products to help customers meet their application challenges.
Anixter’s customizable Supply Chain Solutions are designed to help focus
on an integrator’s core competencies to stay competitive in the marketplace:
improving supply chain visibility, enhancing labor efficiencies,
educing inventory carrying cost, increasing working capital, addressing
sustainability requirements, and saving time with kitting and preprogramming
This article originally appeared in the July 2016 issue of Security Today.