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Supply Chain Issues Impact Smart Locks

April 21, 2022
3 minutes

COVID-19 & The Supply Chain

The COVID-19 pandemic took no prisoners in its capacity to expose vulnerabilities across industries, systems, age – you name it.

One such vulnerability in its crosshairs: the global supply chain.

Prior to the pandemic, the global supply chain ran like clockwork. Although surprisingly analog, the complex system transcended countries, time zones, planes/trains/automobiles, maritime laws, and international trade agreements. These systems were so dialed in, we didn’t just appreciate fast shipping, we came to expect it, and pay more for it.

In an America conditioned by the promise of Amazon Prime’s two-day shipping, we approached shortages and backorders with a national incredulity.

COVID’s health and human impact was enormous. Redoubled by China’s Zero-COVID Policy and further complicated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and subsequent sanctions, our once steady and predictable global supply chain has been relegated to a fragile and antiquated state.

And, as the pandemic novelty waned so too did our perception of these global supply chain issues as being one-off scenarios requiring ad hoc solutions.

Instead, permanent solutions (albethey nimble and agile) are required for businesses to progress and adapt in order to continue deadline-based development with a Northstar of profitability.

Problem: Smart Locks On Back Order (Up to 6 Months!)

Smart Locks are on backorder. This, of course, is very bad news for developers, as smart locks are a key aspect of most buildings, especially MDUs. You need doors to lock on Day 1, and tenants expect them to be Smart, afterall.

So, how do our clients adapt to this market shortage? We urge them toward one solution and one short-term work-around.

Solution: Act Fast

Given the instability in the market, we urge our clients to decide on their preferred infrastructure as quickly as possible. This means that technology decisions need to be made early – in the Design Phase – and, products need to be ordered early in Construction. With planning, the hardware will be delivered onsite before it’s critical. This proactive approach protects projects from the lag in supply chain. Bear in mind, the current market rewards developers who can make decisions and place orders as early in the process as possible.

Work-Around: Start with Mechanical, Transition to Smart When Available

Many smart locks require the same holes as mechanical key locks (door knob with lock, and deadbolt). Developers can utilize mechanical locks in the short term (to ensure doors can secure on Day 1) and replace them in six months when the smart locks are delivered.

While this might require developers to reimagine their door locking strategy, and their budgets; it is a critical conversation to have in order to meet Day 1 deadlines.

In short, you can’t un-drill a hole in a door. So make sure your mechanical prep agrees with your preferred smart prep that’s on backorder.

We Provide (Technology) Solutions

From designing an access control strategy for a mixed-use footprint to developing a comprehensive master plan for a connected district – the work we do at WhiteSpace hinges on providing solutions.

As they say: Good surgeons know how to operate, better ones when to operate, and the best when not to operate.

Being a good technology consultant means knowing when to adapt to market realities to ensure the project meets construction deadlines and stays within budget – even if that means making less than optimal choices for the short-term.

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