John Ketteridge is Sales Director at Dragon Security Systems based in Wroxham, Norfolk. Company areas of expertise include all forms of electronic security – CCTV, access control, intruder alarms, fire alarms and Refuge systems, barriers and gates. The business boasts accreditations such as NSI Gold for Intruder and Fire Alarms, CCTV and Access Control and BAFE.
Do you use a distributor or buy direct from manufacturers?
We use both however the bulk of what we buy is through selected distributors, in order to keep accounts to a minimum rather than shopping around. We do buy from selected manufacturers, who supply us with proven product ranges all of which helps minimise the complexity of the processes. Although we are happy to consider new technology and products.
Is third party accreditation beneficial to you?
I would say it has been but not now as much as it used to because you see less influence on the market from Insurers, Police and other specifiers. To some extent I would say it’s not as powerful as it ought to be, especially given the number of alternative ‘approval’ services there are these days. You only have to look into these trade offerings to see that there are plenty of people listed who don’t have any kind of expertise at all. I think the NSI and Bafe have a lot of ground to cover to reach out to the potential customer base and inform and educate them on the benefits of choosing a genuinely approved installation company, even to get back to the profile the Industry had 10 years ago.
What would be a typical project for you?
We range from the small domestic installation through to medium/large jobs. We have just completed two reasonable sized jobs securing car parks which are typical of the kinds of things we do. However, we specialise in providing multiple systems for clients, from the advisory and Design stages, right through to installation and then to a long term Partnership with them. I would say that CCTV, Access control and Fire Alarms are the main areas we work in – intruder alarms are a smaller part of what we do these days.
Do you think there is a skills shortage in the industry? Any trouble recruiting?
The industry has changed quite significantly over the last few years to the point where you need a more technically savvy technician rather than an engineer, so there is definitely a skills shortage. There is almost a need on two levels, one for commissioning and one for installation. Getting training in those areas is not an easy thing and the big issue is that we all require these multi-skilled engineers that can do all aspects of the job. The days of having the luxury of a CCTV installer and a fire installer on the team in a company like ours is just not viable these days. It doesn’t make sense having to use three or four different people to do a job when you can have one person that can do all of it. Engineers are the public face of the company and what they do, how they look and how they talk to customers has a genuine impact on the business, they are in effect selling the company although little if any training in this respect is provided by trainers.
Read the full interview in the August 2018 edition of PSI magazine