A Peek Into a Cost-Cutting Future on the Internet

The industrialized world is doing its best to network its local and worldwide communication channels so that information can be easily accessed as needed and permitted. Yet networking and integrated systems present serious challenges. System downtime, communications reliability, ease of access, viruses and other factors have become major glitches at the user level.

These same issues impact the security industry as well. Facility directors and managers are being asked to do more with less while facing the threat of terrorism alongside the traditional problems of asset protection and personal liability. These developments are affecting the way security distributors and contractors do business with these customers.

Projecting Access, CCTV Buying

As an indication of the way in which costs are being trimmed at the contractor and user level, J.P. Freeman Co. asked security distributors and dealers in all regions of the United States how they purchase the products that comprise the integrated security systems they sell to their customers.

The contractor group was broken into two groups – one that tends to buy their products direct from factories and the other that tends to buy from distributors. The focus of the question was on access control and CCTV products, which form the basis for most integrated systems.

Rather than ask about today’s purchasing habits, the study queried distributors and dealers about what they thought they might be doing two years from now.

Direct Buyers Favor Web Ordering

The study found that both distributors and contractors are uncertain as to their means of purchasing requirements by 2005. Fifty-two percent of distributors, 37 percent of factory-direct contractors and 50 percent of contractors who buy from distributors say that they are not yet sure if they will be using the Internet as a buying tool during the next two years.

While the Internet has become part of our daily lives, distributors and contractors are still evaluating its pros and cons for purchasing purposes.

Factory-direct buyers are clearly more convinced than other contractors that using the Internet is the way to buy their equipment – 33 percent of them predict they will do just that by 2005.

By comparison, only 3 percent of distributor-buying contractors plan to use the Internet. This is far lower than even distributors, 23 percent of whom plan to use the Web.

It appears that Internet buying will not be an order-placing revolution. Instead, it will take a while to evolve and emerge.

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