Safety and security have always been the dominating aspects when coming to terms with general door opening and closing options for private, commercial and public buildings. In particular in past years, with the number of burglaries soaring and acts of terrorism becoming an imminent threat, private house owners as well as small to large companies feel an urgent desire to vamp up their access control.
ASSA ABLOY, which has been active in the market since 1994 following a merger of the Swedish company ASSA and Finnish ABLOY, knows what it takes to satisfy the demands of its customers. “We started as a regional supplier of mechanical locks and have emerged as a leading supplier of total door opening solutions,” stresses Commercial Director Paul Cassiman.
A look at the current portfolio reveals a large range of security doors, mobile keys, and electromechanical and electronic locks, as well as door closers, door automatics and access control smart cards. It is above all the vast portfolio of total solutions that has helped ASSA ABLOY to establish itself as a name to reckon with in the global market.
Mr. Cassiman has been working for ASSA ABLOY in Belgium for 19 years now. “I have always been thrilled by the innovative character and the large scale the company is active in,” says Mr. Cassiman. “ASSA ABLOY provides interesting opportunities, new products and new markets.” Following various mergers and acquisitions, ASSA ABLOY is now an established player in Belgium, employing a workforce of 28 people at its commercial heart in Wemmel and 54 people working in Nieuwpoort, where assembly, logistics, R&D and administration are located.
The Belgian subsidiary is also responsible for Luxembourg. “We operate an assembly line, but there is no actual production active in our region,” says Mr. Cassiman. “We buy components from cosubsidiaries and assemble them at our premises.”
For this year, ASSA ABLOY nv expects turnover of 30 million EUR, which is the equivalent of 11% growth, partly because it took over a co-subsidiary that alone has a turnover of one million EUR. “It is a huge advantage that customers find everything from A to Z involving doors at one address,” adds Mr. Cassiman. “We have a division ASSA ABLOY Entrance Systems, including products for doors, electric doors, revolving doors as well as sophisticated access systems, and we are definitely the market leader in locks and cylinders.”
While the prime focus is on solutions that address the B2B market, ASSA ABLOY has also introduced an assortment for the DIY market. “Only recently, we have launched a new eco-friendly, smart lock solution that is a simple and secure way of locking and unlocking doors without any physical keys,” stresses Mr. Cassiman. “ENTR gives the user access control to homes and offices by means of a smartphone, personal code, fingerprint reader or remote control, pushing access control to a new level in the field of door opening.” ENTR is probably one of the major future developments that will shape the way the market is turning within the coming years.
Cylinders have always been at the heart of the company’s business and still generate about ten million EUR turnover per year. “We have 50 people working at our assembly site in Nieuwpoort. So this is an important field for us,” points out Mr. Cassiman. “Cylinders often have a technical patent for 20 years, but after ten years the lifespan becomes too short to buy them any longer. So it is essential to keep on innovating. This is the most important product group for us.” Nevertheless, door closing and door operating systems are currently the company’s biggest success, generating three million EUR in turnover.
“We look at market evolutions and previews. At the moment the construction industry is still expanding,” says Mr. Cassiman. “We are now active in supplying the healthcare market with our total solutions. We have supplied large hospitals in Mechelen and Knokke, amongst others.”
In the coming years, ASSA ABLOY nv is going to focus on renovation projects for Belgian prisons, which will be subject to major renovation. “We predict that the residential market will see increasing growth. People are moving back into the cities. By 2050, there will be a phenomenal move, so cities need new apartment buildings, all with their own needs for door systems and other efficient security solutions,” stresses Mr. Cassiman. It seems that there are still many opportunities waiting ahead for ASSA ABLOY.