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SP&T@25: Philippe Bouchard


November 30, 2021
By Philippe Bouchard

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SP&T News is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. We’ve invited guest columnists to share their memories of the past 25 years of the Canadian security and alarm industry — how far we’ve come since 1996 and where the industry might be headed next.

In 1996, when I started out as a distributor representative at ADI Global, the job was very simple: plan an appointment using a hand-written agenda and a paper map and call each client over the phone to confirm.

Next, visit each customer with a stack of catalogues, data sheets and a box full of product samples. With an order pad and price list in hand, ask the customers to place an order. After three days on the road filled with client meetings, I would return to my office to process the orders with a promise of a five to seven day delivery time. Funny memories.

In 2021, communication methods have changed enormously. Clients are reachable 24/7 through a slew of options: phone, Teams, text, social networks and email; and they are more knowledgeable than ever, receiving their product education on-demand through different platforms. Twenty-five years ago, there were no manufacturing agents in the field of security. Now, they help facilitate the sales process and are great allies in distribution.

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Today, security distribution is distinguished by financing, 24-hour service (anytime pickup), training centres, a personalized IP camera programming service, and a platform that provides access to purchases (such as a web portal). Training, support (both before and after-sales) and webinars are all integrated into our offers, in addition to supporting each client in the development of his or her business. We continually develop win-win situations by supporting each client.

Adapting to COVID
Due to the challenges of the pandemic, we need to plan more at every level. With a global shortage in computer chips, customers are facing price rises and shortages in CCTV products, networking equipment, motherboards and alarm panels. Production is back to normal now, but with a current lack of components, we need to adjust to those changes.

Plan your purchase months in advance for large integration projects. Delivery times are now provided by manufacturers with a purchase order — some specialized items can take three to six months lead time. But the great news is that the security market is growing eight to nine per cent annually (according to Research and Markets) and will follow that trend for the next five years.

What security business owners are seeing is, employees are looking for more flexible hours. They are also realizing that working from home could be more productive for some, and their top-performing employees are being solicited non-stop. All of that translates into salary and benefit adjustments.

Yes, the times they are a-changin’ sang the great Bob Dylan. This is why an organization like the Canadian Security Association (CANASA) can be of tremendous value to all who are on the front line of change and can serve as a platform to exchange and learn from one another.

The Canadian Security Association
I have had the incredible opportunity to occupy several mandates within CANASA, including the national presidency and as a local chapter board member. Fully supported by my employer, I consider it an immense privilege to have been a part of CANASA’s evolution since 1996.

With its mission to “create and maintain a professional environment for members with the tools and standards to enhance the safety and security of all Canadians,” I was compelled to join as a volunteer. I truly believe that providing our business experience and sharing our network with the association is a great thing for the industry.

Being surrounded at the board meeting table with industry leaders is inspiring and motivating! Experience it for yourself — volunteer and be part of the solution! In the face of so much change, never has the time to come together been so important.

Philippe Bouchard is senior account manager, Eastern Canada, ADI Global (www.adiglobal.com) and a past-national president of the Canadian Security Association (www.canasa.org).