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Ray Turner is general manager of operations at Hochiki Europe.
January 12, 2015

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The Video Surveillance Report 2022

The Key to Reliable Fire Safety? It’s all in the Supply Chain

Hochiki fire detectionThe fire safety industry is performing well at the moment.

Some 53% of respondents to a survey conducted for the Fire Industry Association’s recently-published Market Conditions Review report an increase in orders over the last six months, the bulk of which have come from private sector sources.

Despite this growth, the report also suggests that competition in the sector is intensifying, with a number of companies bidding for the same tenders. This is good news for facilities managers and building specifiers, who have more choice than ever when it comes to life safety solutions.

However, it does put more pressure on fire and safety equipment manufacturers to guarantee that their products provide customers with the highest possible performance for the needs of the building in question.

So how can they achieve this?

For Hochiki, it is becoming increasingly clear that the secret to providing facilities managers and specifiers with the most suitable technology for their project’s specific requirements lies in ensuring they understand the supply chain.

esp range groupNecessarily complex

The fire and safety sector has necessarily complicated supply chains that can be subject to regular change, as manufacturers work to meet evolving local and international legislation and standards, and ensure optimum safety for building occupants.

Such complexity can make it a challenge for facilities managers and specifiers to keep track of where their equipment has come from, but it is crucial in order for them to fully understand how its design and manufacture will affect performance once installed.

Factors ranging from supplier reliability and material quality can have a significant effect on the performance of a safety system once it has been installed.

Failing to take these into consideration can result in higher maintenance or servicing needs, pricey repairs, costing the building’s owners time and money. Moreover, it may well leave them at risk of non-compliance with the relevant legal requirements.

A transparent supply chain

In order to support facilities managers and specifiers in understanding the value of their chosen technology and its performance in their buildings, it is crucial that fire and safety equipment manufacturers make their supply chain as open and transparent as possible.

They also need to be on hand to support customers in the specification process and answer any questions they may have in order to provide them with the most reliable and robust fire and safety solutions for their buildings.

To help here, Hochiki has put together its top five concerns that fire and safety equipment manufacturers need to address for customers to help them gauge the suitability of their chosen technologies.

1. How product development benefits the building

Certain buildings, such as leisure facilities, or factories, require fire and safety systems with particular specialist fixtures or systems to ensure optimum performance and maximum safety. As such, it is crucial for specifiers to understand what end use the technology has been designed for in order to gauge its suitability for their developments.

2. The testing process for the product

Knowing whether the product has been batch- or hand-tested can be an important way for specifiers to work out its benefit to their development. Batch-testing entails the examination of sample products from the production line.

This process may not catch every substandard product before it leaves the factory, potentially increasing the likelihood of increased servicing or maintenance for facilities managers. Individual unit testing, on the other hand, involves the inspection of every single product on the line, minimising the risk of non-conforming equipment reaching end-users.

3. Compliance with safety standards

Fire safety technology needs to comply with varying regulations, depending on the building’s intended use. For example, public buildings in the UK, such as schools or hospitals, must have visual alarm devices installed in order to comply with the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. It is crucial that specifiers understand the legislative requirements their chosen technology needs to meet, and what measures have been taken to ensure compliance.

4. After-care

Regularly servicing fire detection and safety technologies can cost money. As such, it is important for specifiers to know the aftercare requirements of the equipment they are considering, so they can choose solutions that keep maintenance to a minimum, saving them valuable resources.

5. Customer experience

The length of the supply chain can impact on lead times for new products, affecting customer experience. Manufacturers that offer a short supply chain can guarantee timely product supply to specifiers, ensuring their chosen technologies arrive on schedule.

Knowledge is key

Despite the sector’s robust growth this year, there is still considerable competition between manufacturers for a limited number of tenders, giving facilities managers and specifiers their pick of fire and safety technologies.

In such a climate, it can be very easy for them to view their chosen solutions as just another commodity, without considering the broader factors affecting performance once they are installed.

As such, in order to see the true value of a technology, customers need to understand the supply chain behind it.

By answering the questions above, manufacturers can support facilities managers and specifiers in this, helping them select the fire and safety equipment that best meets the requirements of both the building and the people living or working in it.

2023 Fire Safety eBook – Grab your free copy!

Download the Fire Safety in 2023 eBook, keeping you up to date with the biggest news and prosecution stories from around the industry. Chapters include important updates such as the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 and an overview of the new British Standard for the digital management of fire safety information.

Plus, we explore the growing risks of lithium-ion battery fires and hear from experts in disability evacuation and social housing.


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February 12, 2015 12:00 am

It is so important to get the right type of fire protection. You want to keep your house up to date and ready for any fire. I think it is important to also have drills and test the equipment out so you know that the equipment actually works. http://www.zaricode.com/