Locks and Security News: your weekly locks and security industry newsletter
22nd January 2020 Issue no. 491
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Lockdecoders now exports to 45 countries
Lockdecoders Ltd now exports its specialised auto locksmith tools to 45 different countries. Founder and Managing Director Peter Southern confesses that it is hard work trying to expand export markets. Apart from UK trade shows Peter has this year so far visited France, Morocco, Italy and the USA.
That last trip was with brother Neal to Just-Cars in Orlando. Neal Southern now handles most of the firm's technical support and back-up on both MiraClone and Miracle key cutters.
Peter also has a good working arrangement with Andy Fagan who also visits some of the firm's overseas distributors giving Eeprom instruction in some depth. Further visits to Italy, Holland, Brazil, the USA and Mexico are planned.
Marketing, in its various forms, is the company's largest single expense - outstripping even salaries and wages and in order to achieve the most effective result the firm has the regular part-time services of a specialised graphic designer, Tatiana Staples. All of the specification leaflets, advertising and web content are being redesigned to reflect a constant and easily recognisable image. The firm is producing easily adaptable versions of all of this to its foreign distributors for their use. That enables them to access high-quality design at virtually no cost at all.
Peter visualised doubling the size of the company in the next 18 months but says a lot of that will depend on achieving adequate distribution in India, Mexico, Brazil and the United States. He feels that the company has only scratched the surface of US business although there are a substantial number of its machines in use there. He says that a total reorganisation of distributorship will be implemented and the Just-Cars show will be a start there - the company is a Gold Sponsor of the event and ran four fully subscribed training classes for locksmiths during that.
In the other major markets he observes that although a very large volume of distributor enquiries are received, few are really prepared to put in the work and relatively small capital investment to make a go of it. Too often they spend their time finding problems rather than opportunities.
For an overseas MiraClone-only franchise the investment required is about $10,000 and the firm will provide full training. For a full franchise of MiraClone and Miracle the figure is $30,000. Peter reports extraordinary results achieved in some small countries, some really troubled areas. For instance Israel, the Czech Republic and Libya are vigorous and successful franchises. The Netherlands, with a new distributor, is showing a dynamic improvement as is Denmark. Meanwhile their established larger overseas markets are still expanding.
Peter is confident that Lockdecoders has a long life ahead of it since as he says "The competitors are only now realising that we have invaded their marketplace with superior products and they will take years to catch up. Meanwhile we have many other devices in the pre-production stage and constant back-room work on improvements and updates."
A constant worry is the Chinese industry that rips off original designers. "They are just as active in the field of automotive locksmithing as in designer clothing, accessories and DVDs", says Peter. He reflects that as they simply copy the firmware or software of designs that represent hundreds or even thousands of hours of work it is the same as picking pockets or burglary. The end problem is that the incentive to innovate is stifled whilst there is a rapacious group waiting to steal the market from the designer.
Recently the firm has seen a Chinese copy of its obsolete A5 key cutting machines offered in the UK. An American manufacturer of locksmith picks found his product - copied in China - on sale by a major UK lock wholesaler. Other facsimile tools are on offer on the Web and sometimes even the original name is used in Web advertising so as to lure people onto the site to buy copies, often believing they are buying the real thing! For example a site in China advertises the Miracle A4, A5, A6 and A9 for sale yet the advertiser has no access to any supply of the machines.
Lockdecoders sees the problem as a spur to constant innovation and Peter tells us that they are working with ever more layers of encryption to frustrate copyists.
30th April 2014