Jason Abrahams is Group Sales Manager at Banham Security, London. The company specialises in all aspects of security, including locks, physical security, intruder and fire alarms CCTV, key holding ARC & IHC. Accreditations and certifications include: Nacoss Gold, LPCB, BAFE, The British Fire Consortium, CHAS, FIA, SIA, Safe Contractor, Secured By Design, Approved Company MLA.
Do you use a distributor or buy direct from manufacturers?
Both, Banham has been around for a very long time, since 1926 and we have forged long-term relationships with many of the suppliers and manufacturers we use, a lot of our products are niche items and we source these directly from companies that are the best in their field. Obviously due to our size, buying through distributors can be advantageous as we can have more control over costs and supply, we need people who can deliver on their promises, so we can deliver our products and services to our clients.
As a family run company we like the personal touch, and be it a small manufacturer, or a huge wholesaler, we get to know who we are dealing with. I firmly believe you get the best from people if they can put a face to a name, this ethos works for us as suppliers too, we do our best to ensure we have strong personal relationships with our clients.
Is third party accreditation beneficial to you?
I would say it’s critical, we know we are doing a great job, and we tell our clients, but external validation confirms this. With so much choice in this sector a fantastic reputation isn’t always enough, clients want to ensure their money is being spent wisely and with a company that has been independently accredited. It can feel like you are being made to jump through hoops to get the accreditation, but ultimately it’s good for us as an organisation, and good for business. You wouldn’t buy jewellery without a hallmark, so why buy a security system without 3rd party accreditation?
What would be a typical project for you?
Due to our very broad product range a typical project usually covers both physical and electronic security. At one end it may be a couple of locks and a simple wireless alarm system and at the other it could be automated gates, high security locks on a master suite, intruder alarm and fire alarm both monitored by our own Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) backed up with professionally monitored CCTV linked to our Incident Handling Centre (IHC) topped of with rapid response key holding service supplied by one of our group companies, CMS. We really do tailor the installation very closely to our client’s needs. In reality no two accounts are alike, the systems are as diverse as our client base; we cover properties on social housing schemes to hunting estates.
Do you think there is a skills shortage in the industry? Any trouble recruiting installers?
Without doubt there is a shortage of good engineers and installers, both in the electronic and physical installation disciplines, we are fortunate that we have no trouble recruiting as our reputation attracts staff that aspire to work for us. Banham has a long and proud history of ‘growing their own’ when it comes to engineers, we have always taken on trainees that have picked up their trade working along side experienced tradesmen, in fact I started here as a trainee lock fitter 30 years ago ! We are rightly proud to also be involved in formal apprenticeship schemes and we currently have around 30 young local people under our wing, and this number is set to grow. We are expanding, and we find this investment pays dividends, it is easier to train people ‘the right way’ than to correct bad habits learned with other less exacting companies. Young people get a bad press at times, but we find our apprentices are keen, motivated and want to learn a trade.
Are there any common requests from customers that give you problems?
Not really, most of the ‘problems’ are generated by clients expectations, people tend to come to us under some kind of time constraint, either self imposed, such as insurance deadlines they’ve ignored or impending vacations and they leave ordering their alarm to the last minute. The key to handling these situations is managing clients expectations, and being in a position to provide solutions, including those that the client hadn’t previously considered, this may involve providing a physical security solution to their need, rather than say, an alarm.
What is the security industry’s biggest myth?
One thing I hear time and time again, is that overt security such as CCTV can actually mark a property out as a target, I’ve never seen any evidence of this. Over the years I have attended literally tens of thousands of homes that have been attacked, and virtually none of these had CCTV fitted. On the whole break-ins tend to be indiscriminate, with homes with very little or no visible security being targeted most frequently.
What would make your job easier?
This is a hard one – I would say two of me for starters! More hours in a day may help, but only if I am the only one to have them, otherwise the clients will have more time to come up with ways to tax me. I think if I could un-invent email I would; far too many people dash of a two page email that demands an in-depth answer, when a two minute telephone conversation would cover it.
What is your ultimate/fantasy electronic security product?
A PIR movement detector that recognises authorised occupants on a molecular level and ignores them, whilst picking up the bad guys, thus eliminating false alarms! Failing that an animal tolerant PIR that works.
Will England ever win the football World Cup again?
Of course, hope springs eternal! Seriously, it will happen, maybe not in the next few years, but it will come, we got lucky once before, it can happen again.
If you won £25,000 what would you do with it?
Buy a ticket to the World Cup final where England thumps Germany 7-0. I’d then buy a replica shirt with Beckham on the back (Brooklyn of course!) and two stars on the front, and if there’s any change, a nice cold beer to celebrate.