Supply chain woes

CCTV Handbook 2022 Surveillance

It’s no secret that the global supply chain is in a mess. Whether you blame it on COVID or conspiracy theories, the technology world is facing tough times when it comes to sourcing components. The physical security industry is no different.


Mark Kane.

An article published by Hi-Tech Security Solutions earlier in the year asked a few industry players about the issues they were facing and how they have had to ‘make a plan’ to keep their businesses going (www.securitysa.com/15542r). Many of the companies who foresaw the challenges and stocked up are now in a position where they are also reaching the end of their supplies and facing months-long delays in getting new stock. Panic mode is the norm in many procurement departments.

Sadly, some people were hoping to see an easing of supply chain issues this year, but if it happens it will only be late in the year, and more likely in 2023 – we hope.

Mark Kane, MD of Masc Solutions says the company has experienced significant delays in getting product, which has had a negative impact on several projects. “The effect has been more prevalent in our security division, whereas fire products seem more readily available.”

One of the plans SIs often make is to offer clients alternative products or brands, often making a deal with new suppliers to keep pricing steady. Kane says that Masc is sometimes hampered from following this approach because the rigid technical specifications for products are passed down from head office and local branches are not able to be flexible. “In other cases where there is flexibility, we do propose alternative products that are able to provide a similar or same result.”

Frustration and understanding

Masc clients are frustrated by the situation, however they do understand the global supply chain challenges to a degree. Kane adds that the fact that South Africa is located at the bottom of the African continent presents additional challenges. “We are doing all that we can to seek solutions for our clients, and to an extent we are in an advantageous position because we source certain products lines directly from the manufacturer.”

As noted above, there was hope that 2022 would see the supply chain woes easing and even getting back to an ‘almost normal’ level. However, based on feedback Masc is receiving from its international suppliers, Kane is not confident we will see improvements in the short term. “We are however hopeful as some suppliers seem to be more resourceful and are doing all in their power to adapt to the unprecedented challenges faced in these times.”

Resourcefulness is key to overcoming the current supply chain challenges, although if you can’t get a product you have to come up with an alternative. On the positive side, the co-operation among many (sadly not all) channel players has increased, new partnerships have been formed and the focus is now on delivering value to the end user instead of fighting for business or margin. The partnerships formed in these times are likely to extend well into the future when things are back to normal, which is great news for customers. When normality will return, however, is a question nobody can answer yet.


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