Introduction

The other day, some people at Nedap headquarters were going through some old documents and found the advert below from 1978. It’s promoting one of our early access control systems and made us realise how long Nedap’s been developing and manufacturing access control products.

Also, I had the feeling it made people proud. Not because of the age of the advert, but because in the 40 years since, Nedap’s grown to become Europe’s number one access control provider. And we’ve achieved this not by buying other companies, but by innovating technology.

During my degree in Science and Innovation Management at Utrecht University, we were taught how innovation can be split between product innovation and process innovation. Product innovation gives clients better solutions and is an important driver of progress. While process innovations lead to better efficiencies.

Does growth through mergers and acquisitions lead to better solutions for clients?

The security industry has seen many mergers and acquisitions in recent years, which has led to some security technology manufacturers growing significantly. They’ve definitely innovated their processes and have achieved advantages of scale. The question is, has their growth through mergers and acquisitions also lead to better solutions for the end clients? Did it lead to innovation?

Merging two companies with two different technologies inevitably means those technologies weren’t designed to function as one. For example, as an access control manufacturer you can acquire a video management system developer – but you’ll still have two different platforms.

Luckily, there are good examples in both categories: companies that grow through acquisitions and companies that grow autonomously through innovation. But which do you think is better? Please let me know via jochem.vanruijven@nedap.com.

 

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