Pissed! Why the UK is so Upset with Norbain

Author: John Honovich, Published on Jul 10, 2012

The pitchforks are out in the UK, with hordes of integrators and manufacturers angered at the UK's most prominent distributor, Norbain. If you are outside the UK, you might have missed this but it is a very interesting case study in the evolution of the surveillance industry. In this note, we examine why so many are upset with Norbain.

Background

Norbain, whose annual revenue has historically been ~$200 Million USD, suffered a major shakeup, going into administration (similar to a bankruptcy restructuring in the US) and then being sold to a new company. Most importantly, these events confirmed that Norbain had been losing significant amounts of money and had built up unsustainable debts. Basically, their business model was broken.

Manufacturers Impacted

Many manufacturers are major debt holders to Norbain and are unhappy as they will lose a lot of money as Norbain cannot / will not pay a significant portion of those debts. From what we hear, it is a tense negotiation for many manufacturers as both sides have a lot to lose.

While manufacturers may not get paid for their outstanding debts, manufacturers also have power to no longer do business with Norbain. Indeed, Dedicated Micros has voided all warranties for all products bought via Norbain - an unprecedented move that demonstrates how serious this situation has become. Other manufacturers may change their terms and / or restrict product availability to limit their exposure to future Norbain issues or as retailiation to being screwed by Norbain.

Integrators Impacted

One of Norbain's biggest historical advantages was its generous credit terms for integrators. Indeed, many of our contacts referred to Norbain as ‘the UK's bank' for the security market. The attractive financial terms certainly helped win business and helped cash tight integrators.

Our contacts tell us that those terms are now being tightened and Norbain has become much more aggressive in getting paid on past due bills from integrators.

We see a number of important impacts on integrators:

Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox
Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox

  • For those that owe Norbain money, expect pressure to pay this back. Integrators that are financially weak may be significantly hurt by this.
  • For new purchases, expect less generous financial terms that may make Norbain less attractive to buy from.
  • Product availability will likely be impacted. Integrators should carefully check which manufacturers are still available and how long it will take to get products under Norbain's new condition.

What Caused This

We are too far removed from the local UK market to offer our own opinion. However, we have heard the following as potential factors:

  • The UK economy and overall security market remain weak.
  • Norbain was too slow to IP and too committed to old school analog installers.

The Future

While some of the anger is due to Norbain's heavy marketing expenditures over the last few months even though they were deep in debt and in trouble, much of the anger is about how this will change the UK security market. While Norbain confidently trumpeted that they are back to ‘business as usual', many in the UK market disagree as manufacturers and integrators affected by the fallout struggle to adjust. Given the bridges that are being burnt and the probable reductions in financing options and product availability that will come from this, it will be interesting to see if Norbain can maintain its prominent position in the UK market.

On the other hand, a brighter future may be ahead for the UK's security market. Given that Norbain has been selling products for less than cost over the last few years, eliminating this may force out weaker players (both manufacturers and integrators) strengthening the survivors in a healthier ecosystem.

Comments : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports on Integrators

4 Most Difficult Camera Installs (Statistics) on Jul 12, 2018
Heavy housings, cumbersome brackets, heavy ladders required, and tricky field of view requirements will cause difficulties no matter the camera...
Most Wanted Improvements In Manufacturer Technical Support (Statistics) on Jun 21, 2018
5 key areas of improvement and 1 clear wanted support feature were voiced by 140+ integrator responses to: What improvement in manufacturer...
The Dumb Ones: PSA's Bozeman On Cybersecurity on Jun 15, 2018
The smart ones are the hundred people who flew to Denver and spent $500+ on a 1.5-day conference featuring Dahua as a 'cyber responsible partner',...
Worst Features for Camera Installation (Statistics) on Jun 07, 2018
4 clear worst features for installing were identified by 140+ integrator respondents to: What feature(s) make a camera hard to install? The...
Top Features For Easy Camera Installation (Statistics) on Jun 05, 2018
Camera installation is the most fundamental and common task for video security technicians. Because of this, camera manufacturers market their...
Stats: IP Camera Dead On Arrival (DOA) Decline, Near Zero on Jun 01, 2018
New IPVM integrator statistics show that IP camera DoA rates have declined with zero dead on arrival units for many integrators and effectively...
Stats: Upgrading Cameras Far More Common Than Replacing Failed Cameras on May 30, 2018
The old saying "If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It" does not apply here. New IPVM statistics show that 60% of cameras that are replaced still work but...
Exacq Improving Technical Support, Responding To Integrator Complaints on May 21, 2018
Exacq had been a long-term favorite of integrators, but since their 2014 Tyco acquisition, Exacq has fallen in IPVM integrator studies (though...
Best Manufacturer Technical Support 2018 on May 21, 2018
While 5 manufacturers made the worst technical support 2018 list, only 3 stood out as providing the best technical support to 190+ integrators in...
Worst Manufacturer Technical Support 2018 on May 16, 2018
5 manufacturers stood out as providing the worst technical support to 190+ integrators in new IPVM results. These integrators answered: In the...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Axis ~$100 Camera Tested on Jul 17, 2018
Axis has released their lowest cost camera ever, the Companion Eye Mini L, setting their sights on a market dominated by Hikvision and Dahua. Can...
Amazon Ring Alarm System Tested on Jul 16, 2018
Amazon Ring is going to hurt traditional dealers, and especially ADT, new IPVM test results of Ring's Alarm system underscore. IPVM found that...
Hikvision Wins Chinese Government Forced Facial Recognition Project Across 967 Mosques on Jul 16, 2018
Hikvision has won a Chinese government tender which requires that facial recognition cameras be set up at the entrance of every single mosque...
Installing Dome Cameras Indoors Guide on Jul 16, 2018
IPVM is producing the definitive series on installing surveillance cameras. This entry covers one of the most common scenarios - installing dome...
Security Sales Course Summer 2018 on Jul 13, 2018
Based on member's interest, IPVM is offering a security sales course this summer. Register Now - IPVM Security Sales Course Summer 2018 This...
US Tariffs Hit China Video Surveillance on Jul 13, 2018
Chinese video surveillance products avoided tariffs for the first two rounds. Now, in the third round, many video surveillance products will be...
Last Chance - July 2018 IP Networking Course on Jul 12, 2018
Registration ends today, Thursday. Register now. This is the only networking course designed specifically for video surveillance...
4 Most Difficult Camera Installs (Statistics) on Jul 12, 2018
Heavy housings, cumbersome brackets, heavy ladders required, and tricky field of view requirements will cause difficulties no matter the camera...
Axis Perimeter Defender Video Analytics Tested on Jul 12, 2018
Axis 'high security' video analytics offering is Perimeter Defender, OEMed / developed with Digital Barriers. But how good is Perimeter Defender?...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact