Locksmith Ledger: Codelocks Celebrates 30th Anniversary

Codelocks is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2021, and on the occasion of the anniversary, Locksmith Ledger had a brief conversation with executives at the company:

 

Looking Back

Q. For those not familiar, what was Codelocks’ origin story?

A. Codelocks was started by Dorothea and Desmond Ryan, Codelocks’ chairman, out of their small fourth-floor apartment in central London in 1991 with the goal to satisfy the unmet need for a simple digital lock in the marketplace. After much research, they sourced a digital lock from Taiwan, and Codelocks was born with its first and still available lock:  the mechanical CL250.

During the early days, the apartment served as company headquarters, with the Ryans taking orders by phone, filling orders by running up and down the stairs to the basement stockroom and mailing orders from the local post office around the corner. This paved the way for today’s family of locks that still is growing 30 years later.

 

Q. How did your product line evolve over the years?

A. Evolve is the right word to use here. Generally, each new lock has been an evolution, having to adapt to specific customer requirements. Whether simply a refreshed lever handle or a heavier duty product to take on tougher commercial environments, we have been led by the demands of the customer.

Most recently, building and office use has changed to cope with the work-from-home and work-from-office balance. We developed our range of office furniture locks to secure private or personal items when not in the office for extended periods or for those employees who don’t sit at the same desk. Multioccupancy premises might require a stand-alone access control system to allow authorized personnel through different areas of a building, which requires locks to accept multiple codes. Our mechanical locks have had to move with the times, gaining electronics and app-based tech. Our products still are finding their way onto different doors and into diverse applications.

 

Q. What would you say Codelocks’ biggest accomplishment has been over the past 30 years?

A. Though we’re still pushing the boundaries with our latest smart locks, we never forget that we built our customer base by offering a wide range of practical solutions. One of our early mechanical locks, for example, the CL250 tubular latch, still is hugely popular.

Another product that has outlived many of its competitors The past six years have brought leadership changes in the U.K. and U.S., which have enabled us to thrive and grow to a solid position in the marketplace. Because of our strong management and a great team in place, we’ve created a successful, results-oriented business over the past 30 years. is the CL5010 heavy-duty tubular latch — an electronic lock that has a solid mechanical foundation that provides access control without the expense of installing a hard-wired traditional system. The CL5010 was a milestone on our electronic lock roadmap, bridging the gap between mechanical and electronic locks. It enabled us to engage with new customers who have even smarter and more diverse requirements and has given us a reliable mechanical platform from which to deliver an electronic stand-alone solution.

 

Q. What challenges has the company been able to overcome, and how were you able to overcome them?

A. As with other companies and industries, the worldwide pandemic brought a lot of challenges. Codelocks was able to get through it by having a one-team ethos. The business was already in a good position to ride out some tough months, and Codelocks quickly put a plan together.

We began by reassuring all staff that their job was safe, and we’re proud to say we did not lose any employees because of the pandemic. We appreciate the importance of our supply chain and supported them by placing frequent orders, so they could manage their cash flow. Where there were COVID-19-related production delays, we paid the factories early so they remained solvent. We also supported our customers by accepting flexible payments and smaller minimum order quantities and providing regular stock updates.

But what really made the difference was that the team had built a resilient business. We have strong financial management, great supplier relations, a loyal customer base and a passionate workforce.

 

Looking Ahead

Q. How has your relationship with the security pro evolved over time, and where do you see that going?

A. The company has built its reputation on quality and service. Codelocks would not be here today if it weren’t for the security professionals that we have worked with for the past 30 years, and we still have some of the same customers since 1991.

In today’s age of sustainability, it’s important that we don’t just dump products when they develop an issue. We stock all components for Codelocks mechanical and electronic products, which allows our products to be repaired or maintained either on-site by a competent installer or at one of our global facilities.

Security professionals can specify and install Codelocks products with the knowledge that there is first-class technical support. Don’t throw it — fix it.

 

Q. Where do you see Codelocks fitting in as far as providing security solutions another 30 years down the road?

A. Codelocks will continue to specialize in one door, one lock — simple, stand-alone products. With that, we recognize the necessity to expand and enhance products and will spend the next 30 years planning to continue our rapid product innovation program and grow and expand the business.

Currently, we see a lot of opportunities in the rental sector. Our smart locks are ideal for customers who want to offer a short-term rental, and the Codelocks Connect platform that supports them has an open API, which enables customers to integrate our access solutions into their own online customer journeys.

A typical example is the KL1100 RFID, which is a simple, easy-to-program locker lock. As a customer adds more lockers and to make management effortless, they can add an easy-to-use, handheld portable programmer. If they expand to several rows of lockers, they can use the offline Remote Card Authorization programing software. If that expansion includes multisite, you can run the software as a cloud-based system.

Partnerships are being formed by using our technology to provide access control solutions to problems not imagined even a few years ago. Right now, we are working on a range of projects, including secure cycle storage, secure collection of building materials and click-and-collect takeaway food solutions.

The company has the same family culture and spirit as it did in the early ’90s: servicing our core industry distributors. In many ways, as a company, we haven’t fallen far from that tree. With a great team, we are still servicing the demands of our first customers, and we still are selling the original mechanical Codelocks lock that put us on the map, but now we are offering so much more. The ethos of the business remains — it starts with one lock.

 

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05, Jan 2022