In the latest instalment of our FM industry executive interview series we sat down with Ian Thresher, Regional Sales Manager at Mul-T-Lock to talk about protecting customers from supply chain issues, the opportunities around touch-free security and the importance of sustainability…
Tell us about your company, products, and services.
Mul-T-lock has been manufacturing high security mechanical master key systems and electromechanical devices for several industries, including education, health care, and more, for over 50 years. We take pride in the quality of our products, which exceed a wide range of industry accreditations. Our extensive product lines are flexibility enough to develop customised systems for any application.
What have been the biggest challenges the industry has faced over the past 12 months?
The pandemic was a difficult period for all businesses, but we believed it was critical to keep in touch with our customers through frequent phone calls and ‘Teams’ meetings. It was also the trigger for raw material and freight cost rises which have since been exacerbated by the war in Ukraine. So, continuity of raw material supply and pricing as well as soaring energy costs and inflation have been and remain a challenge for all businesses and customers. This is why we continue to work tirelessly to protect our customers where possible.
And what have been the biggest opportunities?
Every day is an opportunity. You shouldn’t wait for an opportunity to arise to succeed. Create it. From an industry perspective it is tapping into the customer’s desire for high security that offers the optimum in convenience. This is why we’re seeing a growth in electromechanical solutions and sales. With SMARTair ‘Openow’ we saw customers during and post the pandemic wanting a touch free solution, a ‘key’ so to speak on their mobile phone, allowing them access to meeting rooms, hotel accommodation without interaction with people or traditional keys and credentials. We’re also seeing a surge in demand for audit trails, so eCLIQ our electromechanical solution that looks and feels like a traditional cylinder solution but smarter! Giving the customer the ability to provide and revoke access at the touch of a button, have audit trails of traffic through sensitive areas on site as well as timed access functionality.
What is the biggest priority for our industry in 2023?
The biggest priority is to provide a genuinely exceptional client experience and to go above and beyond. And, to keep innovating our service and solution offerings so we remain relevant to our customers. Proving to them that we understand the challenges they face and we have the solutions to help them today and tomorrow.
What are the main trends you are expecting to see in the market in 2023?
End users are increasingly shifting away from traditional mechanical master key systems and towards electromechanical systems such as Mul-T-locks eCLIQ and SMARTair, which provide additional security features such as audit trails, timed permissions, and access removal on lost or stolen keys.
What technology is going to have the biggest impact on the market this year?
This year, electromechanical access solutions will have a significant impact. They can be retrofitted to existing doors with mechanical cylinders, while the electromechanical solutions from Mul-T-Lock require no wiring. The added advantages increase security in ways that traditional methods cannot.
In 2025 we’ll all be talking about…?
The topic of discussion will be global warming. This has been observed in recent years, yet it is impossible to deny that the impacts of global warming are being felt. The energy revolution and the transition to a lower-carbon civilization will dominate the debate by 2025 and with it our commitment as manufacturers to act responsibly, produce sustainably and provide products that are sustainable and help reduce the carbon footprint of existing as well as future environments where are products are used.
You go to the bar at the Facilities Management Summit – what’s your tipple of choice?
Vodka or a nice glass of red wine.
What’s the most exciting thing about your job?
Aside from meeting different people and learning about their requirements, which we can easily accommodate for, the most exciting aspect of my job is observing how my efforts impact the company’s growth.
And what’s the most challenging?
Things don’t always go as planned, which is totally normal; the trick is to stay cool and resilient while correcting shortcomings as soon as feasible.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Life is about managing expectations, most of all your own.
Peaky Blinders or The Mandalorian?
Mandalorian, but I do have a soft spot historical dramatisation.