Manufacturers: Show Your Installation Partners Some TLC
What are electronic security contractors most concerned about as 2005 gets underway? MANUFACTURERS! Specifically, they are worried about their relationships with those who supply the products and services that allow them to meet their customers’ needs. Perhaps that’s not too surprising, given the amount of mergers and acquisitions that continue to take place in our industry.
If you are a regular subscriber of Security Sales & Integration (SSI), you should have received our 2005 Buyers Guide & Fact Book — which includes many of the findings of our annual Installation Business Report — poly-bagged with your December issue. At the end of that study, respondents (nearly 350 of them) were asked to rate 13 hot industry issues on a scale of 1-5, with 5 representing the highest level of concern.
Topping the list, with an average concern rating of 4.11, was “manufacturer support/consolidation.” Meanwhile, “direct competition from manufacturers” tied (with “verified/no police response”) for the No. 3 slot with a 3.62 rating. “Lack of training” came in second (3.69), while “technician shortage” (3.39) rounded out the top five positions.
Though long speculated and talked about as a byproduct of the large-scale manufacturing consolidation that has swept through the industry since the turn of the century, it appears installation companies have become truly distressed about not getting the support they need. They are fearful those manufacturers are going to circumvent them altogether by selling directly to the end user.
Now I am sure most of these manufacturers believe they have taken extensive steps to smooth the transition as they have grown and/or been absorbed into other entities. However, perception is reality and some dealers and integrators still feel like they are being forgotten or phased out. Swift change can be difficult to handle with and requires extra tender loving care.
Hopefully, this will help alert manufacturers to take action. They would be wise to devote even more attention and thought to their loyal networks of dealers — to assure them that their suppliers have their best interests at heart and that they remain an integral component of their future business plans. Silence or lip service does not cut it; manufacturers must overtly communicate their intentions and deliver prompt, personal service.
SSI takes its role as a facilitator in this regard quite seriously. That’s why we have gone to great lengths to publish extensive articles featuring in-depth interviews of the top executives of companies such as Bosch, GE and Tyco. We act as the conduit of truth between these manufacturers and the electronic security installation community. Be on the lookout for more in 2005.
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