Grow Your Business
Meeting government requirements can be challenging
- By Lindsay Page
- Oct 01, 2017
Doing business with the government—federal, state or
even local—can be very difficult. The regulations, the
paperwork, the unique needs and buying cycles are all
tough requirements that have to be met. It can make for
a complicated scene, but it’s also a vitally important business that can
be financially rewarding despite the challenges.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the world of door and hardware
products, services and solutions. And that’s why ASSA ABLOY
hired a group dedicated to helping distributors and dealers navigate
the challenges of the government space—and grow their businesses.
“We have an experienced government team that can help in top
line sales growth beyond administrative support,” said Jeff Huggins,
director of government programs for ASSA ABLOY Door Security
Solutions. “We’ve built our program with a ground-up approach, meaning our focus is about demand generation at the local level.”
ASSA ABLOY unveiled the group about two years ago, bringing
in Huggins to head it up. With him came two senior professionals
who hit the ground running. The government group, which Huggins
said is a relatively new vertical market focus for ASSA ABLOY,
provides door and hardware solutions, as well as perimeter security
and identification technology to federal and state government agencies,
including large Department of Defense and VA Medical Centers
around the world. The group also serves local jurisdictions, rounding
out its complete approach to the governmental sector.
“From a market perspective, I would put it into federal, state
and local,” Huggins said. “The reason we categorize our program
this way is that each have specific product needs, but all have similar
bidding and documentation requirements to be met as spenders of
A significant part of the focus of the Government Programs team
is supporting its partners with a wide range of services specific to
dealers and resellers working in the government sector. Huggins said
the group assists dealers who have state contracts or General Services
Administration federal contracts.
“We don’t own our own schedule, but what we do is we support
our partners,” he said. “There’s a formal process called the GSA letter
of supply. We support our dealer partners who have the schedules,
and we provide them with all the letters of supply.”
ASSA ABLOY’s government group also has all of the product
compliance programs necessary to ensure that its products meet Buy
America and other similar regulations. Huggins said everyone on his
team has managed GSA and/or state contracts before, in addition to
their government sales experience, something that can be incredibly
useful to ASSA ABLOY’s partners, including those on the distribution
end of the deal.
“That’s how we’re able to help our distribution,” Huggins said.
“We know what they need to do paperwork-wise, so we’re very proactive
to try to make it as easy for them as possible.”
Another offering from the Government Programs team, are its
field-level and end-user training programs. Huggins said they’ll also
provide overviews of government contracts and educate partners on
how to navigate the entire process of landing government business at
any level. The latter is something ASSA ABLOY’s government team
did at the 2015 Medeco Security Center Sales Conference in Orlando.
“We’ll do general sessions and breakout sessions to help them
understand,” he said. “We’ll bring in the Small Business Administration
(SBA). We’ll teach them how important that is, how to go find
the SBA, how to register, just to help them capture business in the
Product-wise, Huggins said the government team has three primary
areas of focus at present. First off, ASSA ABLOY is participating
with the Department of Defense on a sustainable door opening
demonstration project. The team has been working with the
military to install energy-efficient versions of hollow metal doors,
frames, and hardware.
“It’s basically a hollow metal, steel-stiffened metal door, filled
with a foam insulation that helps support the thermal performance
and air infiltration of the opening assembly” he said.
ASSA ABLOY has also been seeing more interest and demand for
specialty doors, including doors that are resistant to forced entry, ballistics,
blasts, sound and other forms of attack.
“Those are becoming more and more relevant in just about every
setting, whether it’s a school system or a military installation or
a downtown federal building—whatever,” Huggins added. “It’s something
that can’t be ignored.”
The third new product area in the government realm is wireless
and Power-over-ethernet locks with integrated readers. ASSA
ABLOY’s offerings include the IN120 and the IN220 lines. These
products have been enhanced with the capability to read the federal
government identification card known as a Personal Identity Verification (PIV) card. The lock and reader technology are integrated
into a single device, which will not only make the operation more
efficient, but more affordable, as well.
The company’s innovative systems have yet to launch officially, but
Huggins said they will be soon.
In fact, the technology is already gathering attention. At this year’s
ISC West security show, the HES 1500/1600 Electric Strike Platform received
a Platinum GOVIES Award in the Access Control category, presented
by Security Today for technology achievements in the government
sector. Also in Access Control, the ASSA ABLOY IN220 Power
over Ethernet Lock won a Gold GOVIES award, and the Adams Rite
8800 Series Narrow Stile Rim Exit Device received a Gold GOVIES
award. In the GOVIES Fire & Life Safety category, the ASSA ABLOY,
Attack Resistant Door Opening earned a Platinum award.
Moving forward, Huggins said the government team will continue
evolving, something that it’s done continuously since it launched.
Education and awareness have been increased, and the team is working
ever more closely with manufacturing plants on product compliance
to meet strict federal regulations. The ground-up approach is
one that the team will continue to take, focusing on the local teams
needs while ensuring we understand all of the necessary compliance
requirements relevant to the public market.
“We are laser-focused on our ability to support publicly-funded
projects,” Huggins said. “Our focus on being able to align ourselves
with the procurement objectives of the government—federal, state or
local—are very important to our program, and to the success of our
This article originally appeared in the October 2017 issue of Security Today.