Hot Seat: Inside the Structural Changes at Panasonic
What do you say to integrators that may be concerned the restructuring could lead to selling direct to end users?
One thing I will stress is that we do not take deals direct to the end user. In the past, there were some opportunities that were taken direct and it damaged our credibility. We are keenly aware of that and are working with our reseller partners, and certainly the ones we’ve worked with in the past fully understand that we do not do that. However, without a doubt I’m sure there are integrators out there that have to see it to believe it.
We’re trying to make sure that we include them in any of those meetings. So if the end-user customer says “I work with ABC Integrator,” I will absolutely invite them into the meeting when we sit down and listen to the customer. I want them to feel part of the process. If the end-user customer says we have no other choice and we prefer to go to an RFP and we’ll choose the vendor to our liking, then that’s the way we’ll manage that as well. We’ll come in by ourselves; we’ll listen to the customer. We’ll do what we need to do to build the correct products, and then show the customer and let them build their RFP and choose whomever they want. We certainly will put their vendor of choice by customer request.
Panasonic has said it will create new opportunities for its network of dealers, resellers, systems integrators, etc. What does that entail for installing security contractors?
We’re now working with some of our resellers and our engineering team to listen directly to the end user customer. Since April we’ve made multiple modifications to several of our products that are going to help our dealers actually sell more products and win more oppor
tunities with Panasonic than they had in the past.
Instead of just saying, “Here, we’ve built this now please go sell it,” we’re saying let’s work together and build what the customer’s asking for, to give dealers and integrators better selling opportunities. Not simply to broaden their customer base, but also to and work more fully with each customer as far as the breadth of product and the depth of the product they’ll be able to provide.
What are some of the ways you are communicating, demonstrating the new organization in the marketplace?
We are inviting our integrators to road shows throughout the country. We’re going to show them our new products and our road map, and we’re going to give them our vision and demonstrate how they fit into that vision. Once again, we want to cement our relationship and commitments with them by showing them where we’re going and that they’re an integral part of our vision.
What’s your general outlook for video surveillance and the analog-focused dealer’s place in the market going forward?
The greatest opportunity within video surveillance is with integrated business technologies; the opportunity for growth comes when networking links security to many other business functions. We have an entire existing dealer base out there that has been with us for many years that grew up with us on the analog side. The biggest transition and challenge for the traditional analog security integrator is making that leap to IP and changing their business model to take advantage of these opportunities, adding resources that are more IP focused.
Eventually, analog will become less viable in the marketplace. For resellers, the biggest challenge and growth opportunity will be to change their organizations and to embrace IP and networking. They will need to hire personnel who can truly sell integrated solutions that tie many systems together on the network.
Our IP dealers already understand that; now they are learning the security piece as well. It’s now the traditional brick-and-mortar analog dealers who have the opportunity — and the challenge — of moving their businesses in the direction of an integrated IP-based solution.
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