Optex Europe, manufacturer of high performance security sensor technology, is enjoying high growth in the Middle East thanks to a new local approach to engagement in the region and new technology partnerships.
We spoke to Ian Henderson, Export Director, about the recent changes and the company’s growth strategy.
He said that the parent company Optex Co. Ltd, based in Japan, now has a more regional approach to business and sales operations. A new EMEA headquarters in Maidenhead, Berkshire in the UK has been established to support growth in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
The move to Europe is part of Optex’s five-year plan which calls for aggressive growth, either through organic increases in sales or acquisitions such as the purchase of Raytec in 2012.
Key to the Middle East strategy was the establishment of a new office in Dubai’s Silicon Oasis three years ago.
Henderson said that the new Middle East office has had a significant impact on sales in the region. In the first year, sales increased five times beyond what had been achieved in the previous year. This was followed by a doubling in sales in the second year and also in the third year. So, just by establishing an office in the region, sales increased by approximately 20 times.
“You are much more effective in the Middle East market if you are actually there,” he said. “You can sell from outside the region but they take you more seriously, they recognise your commitment more, if you have an office there.”
The Middle East market is very much driven by CCTV as the primary security tool, with other technologies – mostly IP based – used to supplement and support video surveillance. For instance, while there has been some growth in perimeter sensing technology, it is mainly being used as a trigger for CCTV.
The launch of IP sensors and new technology partnerships with world-leading VMS manufacturers have helped Optex strengthen and develop its position in the IP CCTV and integrated solutions market. Optex has worked with Milestone to establish full integration for its IP sensors, and it also works closely with other VMS providers such as ExacQ, Axxonsoft, Genetec, and more recently with Axis.
The company has had to adapt to a different way of doing business in the Middle East, he said. While the distribution model is the dominant sales channel in Europe, accounting for some 90 per cent of sales, in the Middle East it is the value-added resellers and system integrators driving the market.
As a consequence, to support Middle East sales, companies need to be prepared to work with integrators on the design and specification of security systems.
He said the market is also more risk averse than Europe, and it’s normal to field test equipment for three to nine months before finalising a sale. Although it might take a couple years’ commitment to make a sale in the Middle East, the value of the contracts on offer makes it worthwhile.
Optex is enjoying sales across its entire product range, he said, from sophisticated high-end products right down to domestic intruder detectors. Interestingly, despite an officially low crime rate, there is high demand for residential security in the Middle East.
By engaging with the Middle East market, Optex is enjoying rapid growth in the region, a model that looks like it will continue to work well for the foreseeable future, Henderson said.
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