A Q&A with Kwikset: Evolving Trends and Increased Connectivity
August 10, 2021
David Seeman, director of national builder business for Kwikset, is joining us today to discuss the evolution of lock and door hardware and how consumer demand has changed since the start of the pandemic. We also discuss how important communication has played in successfully navigating both builder and homeowner relationships during the past year.
Seeman recently celebrated 24 years with Kwikset and has spent the majority of his career in the homebuilding industry.
You’ve been able to witness a lot of changes in the industry being with Kwikset for more than two decades. What have you seen in general?
When I think about the past 15 years, following the housing market crash in 2007 and current pandemic, the homebuilding industry has become more connected than ever. The level of interaction we have with builders is better than ever, which has been critical to meeting homebuilder demand.
The other change we have seen is the growth of smart technology installed in homes. Homeowners want a new home that has the latest technology in the market. This category sets new home construction apart from resale. Kwikset is very fortunate to be the leader in door hardware and be able to support this initiative.
What challenges are you facing as a result of the pandemic?
The biggest challenge we face today is transportation and the ability to maintain our supply with customers. At the same time, our internal team has done an amazing job managing this process and we have only seen minor delays following the initial phase of the pandemic.
Demand for new homes and demand for remodeling work has been incredibly strong since the onset of the pandemic. How has Kwikset navigated this?
The key to our success is internal communication from Sales to Demand Planning. The pandemic has brought us closer as an organization. As a result, we have been able to maintain demand for both sectors. At the same time, having a diverse Supply Chain operation has benefited our customers tremendously.
On smart home growth:
"Homeowners want a new home that has the latest technology in the market. This category sets new home construction apart from resale."
What changes in consumer demand for locks and locksets have you observed? What has been generally trending for years and what’s a direct demand, if anything, from the pandemic?
There are three areas of our business that have seen tremendous demand. First is our Kwikset with Microban® products. Kwikset partnered with Microban®, the global leader in built-in antimicrobial protection. Kwikset with Microban® inhibits the growth of surface bacteria, providing you with cleaner door hardware.
Second is our Smart Locks with Wi-Fi or HomeConnect technology, and Keyless Entry electronic door locks. With Halo Wi-Fi Enabled Smart Locks, homeowners can control their locks from anywhere using the Kwikset App and an internet connection. HomeConnect smart locks allow you to control your lock from anywhere using a smart phone, tablet or internet-connected device through a smart home hub. With our Keyless Entry electronic door locks, you no longer have to worry about using a traditional key.
The third area is our Matte Black finish. We have seen the demand for this finish grow tremendously over the past year and expect that to continue. Its demand has increased with the growth of contemporary and modern design. It compliments contemporary design because it offers a clean and simple design aesthetic that contrasts well with the white, grey and black color palette that contemporary is known for.
On the top trends in lock and door hardware:
"There are three areas of our business that have seen tremendous demand. First is our Kwikset with Microban® products...Second is our Smart Locks with Wi-Fi or HomeConnect technology, and Keyless Entry electronic door locks...The third area is our Matte Black finish."
Has your relationship with home builders evolved over the past year?
Relationships with our builders is one of our top priorities and I would say that over the past year it has gotten stronger. During the pandemic, we needed to have more communication with our builders than ever. The supply chain was challenged, but our relationship and teamwork allowed us to get through it.
Has Kwikset evolved as a company as a result of the challenges over the past year?
Yes, all departments from Sales and Marketing to Demand Planning and Supply Chain are communicating now more than ever. We are a fairly large company but over the last year we are working together more efficiently. Everyone is focused on our customers and providing them the best experience with our products and service.
On how the pandemic has impacted builder relationships:
"Relationships with our builders is one of our top priorities and I would say that over the past year it has gotten stronger. During the pandemic, we needed to have more communication with our builders than ever."
What are some exciting areas you see the lock and door hardware industry heading?
Recently, we launched our Halo® Touch Wi-Fi Fingerprint Smart Lock, which allows homeowners to lock and unlock their door using their unique fingerprint. At the same time, you can control your lock from anywhere using the Kwikset app and an internet connection. Lock and unlock, manage users, view lock activity, receive lock notifications and much more. We anticipate this type of smart technology will continue to expand.
Kwikset is the leading residential lock manufacturer*, making homeowners feel safe since 1946. The company’s unwavering commitment to meeting homeowners’ needs has inspired its innovative lock portfolio that includes patented SmartKey Security™ deadbolts, patented SecureScreen™ touchscreen locks, keyless entry combination locks, connected home technology, Bluetooth-enabled Aura®, Wi-Fi enabled Halo®, door hardware with Microban® antimicrobial product protection and a wide variety of styles and finishes. For more information, visit www.kwikset.com.
*Based on TraQline US Quarterly brand unit share report, Q4 2006 through Q2 2020.
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