The notion of ‘value’ seems fairly straightforward, but if you debated the value for any given subject with a group of people you may well get a different answer from each! The truth is, ‘value’ is a subjective term and often comes down to opinion rather than right or wrong.
It’s very much the same when it comes to assessing the value of security systems. The requirements of the end-user determine what systems or functions add value for them. One way to assess this is Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) which can give you a clear indication in terms of cost, but the debate over value can be much more complicated!
When it comes to truly assessing the value of a security system or its components, you really need to consider your overall aims and what you want to achieve at the end of it all. This obviously needs to correspond to your budget, but sometimes budgets need a re-think too!
For example, it’s easy to be attracted to the seemingly cheapest solution that meets your basic criteria. Undoubtedly you will feel good that your initial outlay is less than you feared or expected. But that can sometimes be a false economy. As the old adage goes, sometimes when you ‘Buy cheap, you buy twice!’ If you have to replace part or the whole of the solution again in just two or three years, that apparent ‘bargain’ could look very costly indeed!
Reliability and longevity are powerful indicators of true value. This will reduce your TCO with any security system, without compromising on what you need from it. It’s actually quite easy to overlook these factors, especially when you are faced with a barrage of sales messages and pressures. It’s a really good exercise whenever you invest your money in a long-term product to make these calculations.
If you end up spending an extra 5-10% initial outlay on a system, but it lasts you five or six years longer than the cheaper option, then its money very well spent! Obviously, in any market, you will find products which are over-priced, using a bit of ‘badge-engineering’ (or ‘paying for the name’ in other words), but often if you keep your wits about you, if you pay more you get more back for your money.
The Right Value
Ironically this doesn’t always mean your purchase is offering you the value you actually need. You may well be buying a high spec solution which is seemingly good value for money, but if it includes a number of features that will never be required or used, that is money that could be invested in your business in other ways!
Think of it in terms of buying a new laptop computer. You could spend a fortune buying a high powered, portable flagship machine, but if all you want to do with it is sit at your desk, check your emails, update social media and perhaps write the odd document, it’s not good value to you. Of course, it also works the other way – you may buy a system which doesn’t offer all the functionality you need, and that ‘bargain’ price should have been invested in a something more suitable!
With the increased integration of security systems, they can also add considerable value to the wider requirements of the business or organisation.
For example, an access control system can collect people movement data which can be integrated with HR systems, saving on data collection costs. If security is linked to environmental controls it can also be used to regulate and check lighting, heating and ventilation systems, to ensure there is no wastage of resources.
As they oversee an entire facility, security systems can offer operators unrivalled insights into the movement of people and daily operations of the organisation. This is less obvious value, but it should all be taken into account when you look at TCO.
The security industry itself has a big part to play in all this – we need to ensure we always sell the customer exactly what they need, rather than what meets the sales figures for that month!
The right solution at the right price will always build trust and as any salesperson will tell you, loyal repeat business is how you continue to grow and develop. It’s literally and win-win for everyone!
Value truly is subjective, but when it’s assessed and properly delivered, it really does offer the best solutions. A reputable and trustworthy security supplier will always aim to meet the value needs and expectations of its clients, however diverse they may be.