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The history of a facility is often written on its doors and hardware. Whether due to the current trend of mergers and acquisitions, or the constant renovations and expansions that take place over time, facilities are constantly undergoing changes that require new locks, doors and access control systems. The result of these renovations is frequently a hodgepodge of different brands of door hardware and security systems that are unable to work or communicate with each other. This disparate strategy can lower the level of security and safety within the facility, increase maintenance costs, and decrease staff productivity.
Standardizing door and hardware solutions from a single provider is the most effective way to address all of these problems. Because standardization provides more control over a facility’s openings, key systems will become easier to manage and the performance of electronic access control systems and electrified door hardware will be noticeably improved. And perhaps most importantly, at least from a management perspective, standardization will reduce long-term maintenance and repair costs and streamline the purchasing process.
Choosing The Right Partner
Of course, when choosing and standardizing on a hardware provider, it’s important to look beyond the initial costs and focus on the company’s qualifications as a long-term partner in improving the security of your facilities. Here are a few questions to consider:
• Do they have a full line of products to meet the bulk of your needs?
• Will they work with you to simplify the purchasing process?
• Do they have dedicated and experienced employees who can help you navigate and stay in compliance with ever-changing code requirements?
• What sort of warranty do they offer?
• Do their employees and products have a good reputation in the industry?
• Are their systems proprietary or open architecture?
This last question is particularly important because open architecture devices deliver flexibility and significant long-term value to your organization that proprietary products do not. Whether an access control system is already in place, or you’re choosing a new one, open architecture security devices such as electronic locks and readers can be seamlessly integrated. Open formats allow easy integration into applications with minimal programming, speeding up the time of deployment, reducing the cost of implementation, and providing readiness if the system technology changes in the future, thus allowing organizations to maximize their return on investment.
Making The Pitch To Management
At some point in your search for a hardware partner whose products and business practices best align with your needs, you’ll also need to effectively communicate the importance of standardization to management or the corporate executives. If you’ve already found a potential partner, they may be able to assist with cost projections and ROI estimates that can support your proposal, but here are some of the key points you’ll want to focus on in your pitch:
Design and specification – Setting up a building standard will make the design and purchasing of door hardware easier and more efficient. This expedites the design process, ensures code compliance and makes budget planning easier. It will also result in a more professional-looking and aesthetically pleasing environment in which all openings are uniform throughout the facility.
Installation and maintenance – Staff and installers can be trained on the chosen products, making them more efficient during installation and maintenance. This will reduce both the amount of time needed for installation, and the number of mistakes that cost time to diagnose and fix. Maintenance time is also reduced because there is a strong familiarity with the products, and there’s no questioning or investigation needed to determine what hardware is on which door. Standardization also reduces the number of replacement parts that need to be stocked for ongoing maintenance.
Purchasing – Consolidating suppliers and standardizing products simplifies the purchasing process and facilitates a stronger and more reliable working relationship between the organization and supplier. More familiarity and reduced confusion translates to less time required because purchases are easier to make and there are fewer parts to purchase.
Standardizing door hardware and access control solutions is an effective way to increase efficiency and productivity, improve product performance and reliability, reduce maintenance, and lower long-term costs. As an added bonus, proposing such an elegant solution to a host of problems that have likely gone unnoticed is an excellent opportunity to be recognized as a strategic thinker in your organization.
This Quick Read was written by Ann Geissler Timme, marketing manager of vertical markets at Allegion. For more information on how to implement standardization in your facility, start the discussion with an Allegion Security and Safety Consultant.
This Quick Read was submitted by Naomi Millán, senior editor of Building Operating Management magazine, email@example.com. She suggests that facility managers interested in more information on door hardware specification also check out http://www.facilitiesnet.com/12055bom