Solving Access­-Control Challenges by Engaging with Retailers

Interview with Ken Kuehler
Kuehler began his career in retail loss prevention with Reebok before moving to Detex eighteen years ago where he has held positions of national account manager, marketing manager, and director of marketing and sales. Kuehler earned a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice from Texas State University and lives in Central Texas near Detex headquarters in New Braunfels. Kuehler can be reached at kk (at) detex (dot) com.

What is your company’s role in the loss prevention industry?

Detex Corporation is a US-based manufacturer that is focused on creating best-in-class life-safety and security-door hardware products that either facilitate or prevent individuals from entering or exiting buildings and other types of secured areas while meeting all applicable building codes. Our products are commonly used by retailers to help prevent shoplifting by helping control how customers exit stores, to help deter internal theft at receiving back-room doors, and to help prevent burglaries when stores or distribution centers are closed. However, our main objective is to listen to our end users and to use that input to provide them with products that solve their unique needs.

How do you engage with LP and risk management professionals?

Although Detex does not sell products directly to retail and restaurant customers, we always want to encourage discussions with end users who want our assistance with a challenging application. If they want to discuss a theory of how their door should operate, or research life-safety codes, or recommend the best product choice, we’re always available to listen.

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We have an experienced team of experts who listen to customers’ challenges, ask a series of relevant questions, and then suggest the best product selection for the application. There are usually multiple solutions for a given situation, and our experts explain the different aspects of each idea. Listening to the customer often provides us with the next new product idea. In fact, many new products and improvements have resulted from discussions with end users and installing technicians. The best thing we can do—even with our years of expertise—is to listen to the customer.

Give us some examples of this approach to solving access control problems.

We believe by working with end users, we can add extra value beyond simply providing hardware. That “extra value” might include features and options that minimize risk, or possibly allow for integration with a customer’s existing security system. Access-control applications can be quite complex as solutions can encompass optical turnstiles for a corporate office lobby, door-prop and exit alarms, as well as tailgate detection systems.

For example, a door-prop alarm’s typical function is to cause a door to be closed, but it may also signal a camera system and capture an alarm event, which can help prevent a future lockdown issue. Tailgate detection systems and optical turnstiles help ensure that, with every valid access control event, only one person enters the secure area of a corporate office or distribution center. Integrating a door-prop alarm with an exit alarm can ensure that doors are locked and secure unless a manager is nearby, supervising a specific task at an unsecure door.

If you don’t sell direct to retailers, how do you market your products?

Detex relies on qualified suppliers to stock, install, and service our products. Together we strive to supply, service, and care for retail and restaurant customers. We realize that we can’t be the best at everything, so we focus on designing and manufacturing products that meet the durability and performance requirements of our customers. We choose qualified distribution partners who can supply and install Detex products, as well as other common life-safety and security-door hardware products. Our distribution partners offer a total life-safety and security-door hardware package in which our products figure prominently.

How does an end user access your expertise?
End users can reach out to the Detex team in several different ways. They can call 800-729-3829 option 2 to speak to someone. They can email questions and photos to support@detex.com. Or they can text questions and photos to 830-481-6433. Our team is available Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. central time.

We also have experts at two dozen satellite offices across the globe. A complete listing of offices is available on our website at detex.com/contact/tech-support.

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