PSA-TEC general session focuses on co-ops

PSA Security Network members got lessons on cooperatives and their collective buying power


PSA Security Network, a buying cooperative, got some practical words of advice this morning at the PSA-TEC general session led by Evan Hackel, president of Ingage Consulting, Woburn, Mass.

Under the title: “Together we can do more!!!” Hackel engaged the audience in the educational topic, which had integrators working together with team building exercises that brought to light his premise that when everyone works together success is more forthcoming and easier to achieve. Instead of having a ‘trust no one’ mentality, he stressed that members have to work together to wield greater buying power with vendors in the co-op.

While he puts PSA Security Network owners in the top two to three percent of cooperatives as far as their current success, he said the industry is quite different from others so there is work to be done.

As the basis of his discussion, Hackel surveyed PSA members and got an astounding 84 percent return for his benchmark study. He said that 78 percent said they were engaged or actively involved in the organization and not one person chose that they were dissatisfied, very or extremely dissatisfied. While he said these statistics confirmed and reiterated the fact that PSA Security Network in his eyes ranks in the top cooperatives—he challenged that there is more to do.

In an unusual exercise that started with little direction, table members had to come to a consensus on whether they would select green or red colored placards to yield points—but what they ended up learning was that collectively their purchasing decisions together equal more power. With that mindset, PSA is stronger and the organization can do more for its members, Hackel said. And that equals the advantage of a large company with an entrepreneurial spirit.

“Going green means working together. When everybody works together, you can do more. You should always buy product through the co-op if you can and never buy product if there is a similar offering from the cooperative vendors; always support the cooperative in your buying habits,” he said.

“I believe a co-op can out-perform a large corporation. The benefits of working together are lower prices; exclusive product; best practices; training, marketing and networking. If your suppliers see you all working together, you will be able to buy better collectively.”

Hackel also asked PSA vendor partners their thoughts about the buying integrators. Last year he interviewed vendor partners and said key takeaways were that they don’t perceive PSA Security Network members as having buying power and that members do it more as a convenience.

“You have to work together to buy better together,” he said. “PSA in a way is a third-party verification that says you are one of the best integrators in the industry,” he concluded.