The June issue of SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION includes my rountable of several of the industry’s leading wholesale products distributors (“The Wholesale Truth”). One of those featured was Michael Flink, president of ADI Americas. The conversation with him is continued below as he addresses market opportunities and business tools the distributor is bringing to the security dealer/integrator channel.
What is a product area or market you believe security dealers/integrators should focus more on because of it is either perhaps underserved or has a huge upside?
Michael Flink: Product areas with an opportunity for an upside include unique sensing technologies. Technologies like Winland’s environmental monitoring products offer very clear benefits to end users, and are often untapped markets for dealers. With these products, dealers can offer a solution to monitor temperature, humidity, and water in commercial and residential installations. For example, they can be installed to monitor refrigeration usage for food services and pharmacies, or to detect water or humidity levels in basements. Another product area that offers a huge upside is asset protection. Solutions like Honeywell’s wireless asset protection devices help dealers add value to each installation while protecting valuables against theft. Perfect for residential or commercial installations, these easy to install devices can attach to any valuable requiring protection including paintings, flat screen TVs, electronics, safes, machinery, equipment and more. There is huge opportunity in the commercial AV market for business video conferencing technology in offices, and public address systems in education institutions. These technologies are gaining more popularity, and help dealers gain more share of the end user’s spend and build deeper relationships for new opportunities in the future.
What are some tips that could help these companies more effectively manage their inventory that they could implement ASAP?
Flink: Standardizing on a set of solutions or technology can help dealers manage their inventory levels, run more efficiently and offer better service to their end users. Often sales teams do not work from a standard set of solutions, which can create a learning curve and cause some confusion. We have seen some of our largest customers standardize on a set of products, and in turn where able to better train and prepare their staff, offer more efficient installations, and often negotiate better prices for product.
What specific tools/methods does your company deploy, such as online ordering and electronic-based management, to better serve and enable your dealer/integrator customers?
Flink: ADI is proud of our recent transition to online ordering [www.adiglobal.com/us] which has completed our online tool. Over the past few years, we have invested heavily in our new state of the art ecommerce site which offers better product information, real-time product availability, inventory levels, pricing, and more. The site also offers a unique set of value added resources to help dealers easily shop online at ADI including frequently purchased products, standardized kits, express order for fast online purchases, and customized order lists that allow dealers to save order history for quick and easy purchase in the future. We have seen an uptick with some of our larger customers utilizing our EDI services for order management.
Detail some of the value-adds your company offers the channel, for example training, consulting, etc.
Flink: ADI offers a number of services and benefits to help dealers win new business and drive profit in today’s market including our Programming Plus Program, flexible credit terms and exclusive ADI Credit Card, Project Staging and Job Kitting Services, ADI Expo Training Series, branch trainings and events, Systems Sales and Support, and more. Our Programming Plus Program helps dealers save time and money on their IP installations. This program prepares all cameras for large IP installations so dealers can simply install the cameras and alleviate labor hours. The services include programming IP addresses, confirming and updating firmware, labeling the camera and box, camera burn in, quality inspection, verification of address, and then shipment to the job location. In addition to our flexible credit terms, the ADI Credit Card was introduced to give our dealers more buying power and more credit options. With the ADI Credit Card, dealers can utilize our interest free promotions and ultimately increase their overall cash flow. In many cases, the ADI card allows dealers get paid on a job before they have to actually pay for the products they installed, and now have the potential to go after larger installations they may not have been able to before.
Beyond our numerous delivery options, ADI offers Project Staging and Job Kitting services to help dealers streamline their installations to be more profitable. With these services, ADI works with the dealer to determine the products needed for each installation location, and set a timeline and schedule for delivery. ADI packages all the shipments of products, and ensure they reach each job site at the correct time. This helps the dealer save on shipping and storage costs, and helps them run more efficiently. ADI offers a vast amount of training opportunities throughout the year to help dealers learn about the latest technologies, and get the confidence they need to sell and install these solutions. More than 12,000 dealers attend the 48 ADI Expo events we host each year across North America where they participate in training seminars, demo the latest products, and interact with leading manufacturers. In addition to the ADI Expos, ADI conducts more than 1500 training events during the year and hosts thousands of vendor counter days at each of our branch locations. We believe it is our responsibility to provide our dealers with the training they need to win new business. Our Systems Sales and Support team is available to assist customers with product selection and system design. Fielding more than 1000 calls per day, these specialists provide the technical knowledge and customer care dealers need. With a dedicated IP networking team that is proficient in all technologies, we help dealers every day design networked environments and win new business.
What are some other technology trends impacting your business?
Flink: Wireless continues to be the number one driving product group across the security market, as more users are seeking a connected home. Digital signage is growing across the commercial AV market, and cloud and Internet service products are providing new forms of RMR for dealers.
Anything else you believe would be of interest to security dealers or integrators?
Flink: ADI is proud of the progress it has made with integrating its automated project registration program. We have invested in a major upgrade to our system to make it simple for dealers to participate in project registration for better pricing. The automated system makes the entire bidding process a lot easier, and dealers are able to manage and track their projects electronically to expedite the process.