As an integrator let’s talk about two sides of the same coin. What top three qualities do you look for in a supplier partner for managed access? And what top three qualities do you think the end user should be looking for in their managed-access provider?
Sharp: As far as the manufacturer, I think it was important to us to have somebody that was really behind their product and basically willing to go all in on it because you want to see a constant flow of features added to it, like the app coming out today. That was important, things we’d asked about a couple of times; we’ve got end users asking for that. They were more than willing to put that onto the drawing board and bring it out. It’s been this constant flow of steady improvement, reinvesting, marketing, and I think all those are important to a dealer as we’re trying to sell their product. We want to have that support behind us.
Penson: I think it’s the same on both ends. I think it’s no different. I am looking for the same solid support platform service and ease of use from my supplier as my clients are looking from me. They want that credibility. In many ways the client doesn’t know what they’re buying. They have to trust that the provider they’re dealing with is a reputable firm that will lead them down the right road by interviewing them and asking them the right questions and really determining what their requirements are and providing them with the product that’s going to work well for them.
The one thing about Kantech, they have great support. They’re right on top of it when you need it. You call them and say I’m having an issue with something and it’s 5:00, it really doesn’t matter. They’re there to help you and keep your uptime there. We all have a lot of money invested in this and our clients are investing in us. So it has to be the same on both ends, to answer your question. We’re looking for the same thing they are.
Everybody in the world has a new product they’re coming out with and new companies but when you have a company like Kantech that’s been around for years and years, and they have a great track record, have a stable platform, stable location, they’re owned by Tyco so they’re financially stable. There’s a lot to say about that.
Sharp: The fact of the matter is anybody can sell boxes and sell panels and there’s a lot of smart people out there and a lot of great companies but how do you separate yourself? Really the only thing there is support, customer service; those really are the things that are difficult. They require sacrifice at 5:00 at night or 6:00 at night or midnight or whatever it is. Are you dealing with the people who are willing to sacrifice time to make sure that your problem goes away, and I think that’s critical.
Brown: It’s a funny story actually; I had called into tech support and I had a problem. I was doing a 35-five story tower and I couldn’t tell you what the issue was. But they recorded it as a bug and one year later he called me and said, “We just released a new version, it’s fixed.” I’m like “What’s fixed?” I couldn’t even remember the problem but he followed up a year later. That was impressive. The guys have been awesome. They’ve had some issues with a lot of new guys because they’ve got growth going too, but as soon as you make it clear that you need somebody more advanced, they’ll pass you on. Their technical support is key. You have to have it.
The other thing that I think is important is the training. We’ve been approached by other card-access manufacturers, saying we’re spec’d on this job and if you come with us you’ll be able to bid this job and get this work. But they never follow up. You ask them certain questions, the hard questions, the technical questions, they never come back, they never follow up. They want you to go down to Boston for a week’s training. That’s expensive from Calgary — before you’ve even quoted a job. Kantech’s always in our neighborhood, always offering training. They’re there every month, every two months offering different levels of training for our people. Now with webinars it’s even more often. It’s awesome to get the training.
Robison: As far as manufacturer, I feel that the obvious is that they have a quality product. After that, current technology assurance is extremely important, meaning that that company has the capital or willing to put forth the capital to maintain growth in its product and the value of its product and the offerings that they have, in other words, keeping everything up to date.
Training is extremely important but I think one of the most important things aside from all that is they’re a company that feels that they are a partner with us, the customer. That is very important, that they are willing to build a relationship and be partners with us because let’s face it; we all serve the same customers. The end users, the product that we install, in our case, is from Kantech. That customer is not only a customer of ours but also the manufacturer in this case, Kantech.
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