BSIA’s latest research White Paper reveals (real) price of security solutions

A 30-page White Paper commissioned by the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) establishes the importance of end users of security solutions making their purchasing decisions based on quality rather than initial purchase price alone.

Entitled ‘The (Real) Price of Security Solutions: A White Paper on the Challenges of Buying and Selling High-Quality Security Solutions’, the detailed document is expertly authored by Dr Terence Tse, an Associate Professor of Finance at the ESCP Europe Business School, and underpinned by sponsorship forthcoming from established BSIA member companies Securitas and ATEC Fire and Security.

The White Paper aims to explore the ‘price versus quality’ debate from the perspectives of both the buyers and sellers of security solutions in order to identify the relative advantages and disadvantages between low-priced and high-quality solutions. The main conclusions clearly suggest that end users would find it far more beneficial to consider and deploy high-quality security solutions.

The findings also reveal that there are many advantages for security providers who offer high-quality solutions to their customers, rather than merely competing with each other on the basis of price. According to the White Paper, security providers would be much better off collaborating with their customers and developing a solid understanding of buyers’ needs in order to offer suitable solutions that meet stated requirements and perform well over time.

Quality over and above price

The research was driven by Pauline Norstrom, immediate past chairman of the BSIA, when in post. In her final address to the Association as chairman, Norstrom announced that the BSIA would be conducting research into the issue of considering the quality of realised security solutions over and above price. It’s a subject of particular interest to this highly-respected security sector professional.

Pauline Norstrom

Pauline Norstrom

“I’ve been working in the security industry for some 16 years now,” stated Norstrom. “Before joining the ranks of security, I worked in tech marketing across a broad spectrum of industries. During my time in the security world, I’ve watched and experienced manufacturers race to the lowest price, compromising on materials and functionality in order to do so and often at the expense of UK jobs. I’ve witnessed the industry rush to the cheapest price to win the bid, with companies offering solutions at very low margins and being left with substantial additional costs they simply cannot cover. In addition, end users are often provided with an inferior solution which doesn’t solve their problems.”

Norstrom went on to state: “I hope that this White Paper will provide educational value for both industry players and security buyers. For the industry, I hope that the document enables us to communicate the valuable benefits of procuring solutions on the basis of quality. This is particularly important when the cost of not paying for a service or extra warranty, or system design or customisation, is properly measured across the life of a given system, and also considered in terms of the whole cost, including the displaced cost to a business and its current operations.”

Continuing this theme, Norstrom observed: “I also hope that the White Paper’s contents will assist end users to think in terms of the wider business impact of their security purchasing decisions, challenge the brief and consider the displaced cost which may arise. Essentially, I hope that the White Paper will educate the security buyer as to the art of procuring a specialised security solution, rather than a bunch of part numbers or merely looking at cost per hour. Instead, buyers should consider the value of the sum of the parts bringing a larger benefit than those parts working in isolation. It’s the concept of the whole system, whether a service or product offering, that the security industry needs to explain to the security buyer.”

Recommendations for providers and buyers

The White Paper sets out recommendations for both security providers and security buyers through checklists which aim to help security buyers make better informed purchasing decisions and security providers to better demonstrate the value of their offer rather than compete on price alone.

Pauline Norstrom and representatives from both Securitas and ATEC Fire and Security will be presenting on the findings of the White Paper in more detail at the BSIA’s forthcoming North West Security Procurement Conference, which is to be held in Liverpool on Wednesday 3 May.

*Download your copy of the White Paper here:

**Risk UK’s March 2017 print and digital editions contain a detailed article expanding on the content of the new BSIA White Paper. Read the BSIA Briefing section on pp17-18

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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