Speed to Market Fuels Transformation of Hampton Products

Speed to Market Fuels Transformation of Hampton Products
January 04 14:15 2018 Print This Article

In the business world the phrase “adapt or die” is often applicable in the ever-shifting technology-driven markets today. This concept is especially true of Hampton Products, a company best known for its security hardware such as BRINKS locks. Hampton recently made a licensing deal with a Kevin O’Leary Shark Tank company, BenjiLock (a thumbprint based padlock). I was able to speak with Hampton Products International CEO about what motivated the deal with BenjiLocks and what things Hampton is doing to transform into a technology company.


Jay: We’ve seen over the last decade how so many industries have disappeared because of the advance of technology and so many businesses have had to transform their business model or products just to survive. Regarding BenjiLock, how often does something like this happen where somebody comes up with an innovative way to enhance a product that’s already there?

Kim: Well Jay, one of the overwhelming values that we try to instill at Hampton is that the only sustainable competitive advantage in the last 25 or 30 years is speed to market. So we built this company for speed, and I’ll tell you, Jay, what we’re going through right now is a transformation at lightning speed of moving Hampton from being a security hardware manufacturing company to a technology company, while ideas like BenjiLock may come by at an increasing rate, what makes BenjiLock so exciting is that Robbie has secured a couple of very broad patents that are going to give us the opportunity to create a broad based collection of products for the marketplace that are going to meet consumer needs in a superior way.

Jay: You mentioned, Kim, that you started this transformation in what the company is about. How difficult is that from a branding perspective to educate the consumer in taking what many people view as just the hardware, like a lock, and saying this is up to speed with the most technological advancements. How do you create the transformation within your company and how do you educate your audience and make sure they understand the path you are on and view you as a technology company that can ultimately give them a better user experience?

Kim: I’ll deal with the company first, Jay. Moving from a hardware manufacturing company to a technology company is a real challenge. The technology that goes into building security hardware requires a long, arduous and very disciplined technical engineering team and the work that goes into creating these products takes months, if not years, to perfect the art and to make sure that all the components work the way the consumer expects them to and will last a lifetime because we offer a lifetime warranty. Beyond that, when you look at the current technology of something as seemingly simple as a lightbulb, which did not change for 100 years, but with the advent of LED bulbs, the technology changes every quarter and the product has to be constantly re-engineered. To enable the kind of transformation that helps a company to adapt and survive in the current marketplace you need to bring a combination of the discipline from the engineering and the marketing and the speed that comes with today’s technology. We’re on year three of that transformation process and I’m looking forward to what CES is going to give us an opportunity to introduce to both our customers and the world on what Hampton’s got in store.

Jay: I’m sure the acquisition of a product that was named best new technology at CES last year will aid in Hampton’s technology transformation. How do you plan to distribute BenjiLock? Is there a traditional way to go about that? Or are your distribution channels also evolving along with the new technology?

Kim: Yeah Jay, we really have to think differently about the channels of distribution. Twenty years ago there were scores of mass retailers and big box retailers around the United States but now there are just a handful and I’m going to guess that 10% of this year’s holiday sales will be done online, so the .com retail channel and social media and all the different ways with which you engage with the consumer are going to be critically important as people change the way they buy these products. We think that they’re going to trust the products immediately, that they’re going to trust the reviews they read online. We need to make sure that we never let the consumer down. A big part of ensuring that trust, on our end, is making sure consumers have access to tech support with our products which is why we have created an entire back room of Hampton Care folks who can help you from the install on the frontend to troubleshooting in the backend with every one of the products that Hampton is putting into the market, so there is an actual human in the United States with whom you can speak 24/7 if you’ve got issues with any of these, connected home, or high technology products.

Jay: Speaking of consumer trust, what is Hampton doing to put customers at ease when it comes to trusting their data in your cloud-based services?

Kim: Our research has indicated that there’s a growing level of trust on the part of most consumers who use their smartphones for everything from shopping to banking. The level of trust that this new generation is demonstrating for their technologies is awe inspiring. But we have to deliver on their expectations and make sure that we meet the needs. So the perception is one of trust The second piece is actually delivering on that security so we partnered with two of the most security conscious cloud-based operations in the world to ensure that our users will have the maximum security when they purchase, install and use these products whether its app based on a wifi platform or a bluetooth.

Jay: We’re eagerly awaiting everything that Hampton will reveal at CES this year.

Kim: Thanks, Jay, and there’s actually one more thing I’d like to add about BenjiLock. We’re ecstatic about this partnership because Robbie, the CEO, is absolutely genuine and a dream to work and these products will be built with unparalleled security and quality.


Mr. Kelley has held this position since founding the Company in 1990. Prior to joining Hampton Mr. Kelley had been Senior Vice President Sales, Direct Marketing, Logistics and Retail Stores for Reebok International. Before joining Reebok Mr. Kelley was the Senior Vice President Sales and Channel Marketing for the Pepsi-Cola Company. He began his career in 1971 at Procter & Gamble where he was a Division Manager prior to moving to Welch Foods as Vice President of Sales in late 1983. Hampton is a privately held maker of security, architectural and automotive hardware, lighting and
electronics products for the DIY, Pro, Automotive aftermarket retail and builder/contractor industries.
The Company is based in Orange County, California.